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Field Trips

field-trips_  Map of all Field Trips

Field Trip 1/A (23.09.18)

Giessen and its surrounding: geology and geomorphology

F. Volker - Giessen

This field trip is intended to present an introduction to the geological and geomorphological evolution of Giessen and surrounding areas. Our first stop will be at Krofdorf-Gleiberg, ca. 6 km W of Giessen, where erosional remnants of small Tertiary volcanic edifices form excellent sightseeing points on the city of Giessen and adjacent areas. We will then drive further westwards, into the region of Paleozoic rocks, essentially formed during the Devonian-Carboniferous Variscan orogeny. During the morning session, we will concentrate on clastic metasedimentary rocks including greywackes, shales and lydites. Lunch break will be at “Herbstlabyrinth” Breitscheid, a comparatively small area of Devonian fossiliferous limestones, where we can study ongoing karst processes, and this includes surface phenomena, the visit of the limestone cave system “Herbstlabyrinth” as well as recent results of speleological studies. The first stop in the afternoon will focus on Paleozoic volcanics, well exposed in an old quarry near the village of Philippstein. Here we can see various types of these old volcanic rocks, including pillow lavas and pyroclastic rocks as well as remnants of related Fe ore deposits and mining. We will then drive eastwards, crossing the Tertiary subsidence and graben segments that are related to the northern extension of the Upper Rhine Graben. On our way to Hungen-Langd, we pass Münzenberg (see field trip 3) and the small Horloff Graben with several open-pit lakes from former brown-coal mining. Open-pit mining of these very young (Pliocene) brown-coal deposits ended in 1991. At Hungen, we enter the Miocene Vogelsberg area, and the small quarry close to Hungen-Langd offers the opportunity to study the manifold internal structure of this huge volcanic field, including several thin lava flows, phreatomagmatic activity and pyroclastic deposits, cinder cones and lava lake formation. Return to Giessen (to the starting point - Neues Schloss, Senckenbergstr. 1)  via Lich is expected at around 6:00 p.m.

Please note that Field Trip 2 has been cancelled by the field trip leaders and can therefore no longer be offered.

Field Trip 2 (23.09.18)

The Taunus: A regions landscape development, resulting potential and its usage

R. Dambeck, H. Thiemeyer, J. Wunderlich - Frankfurt am Main

The excursion by bus along the Emsbach leads from the high Taunus ranges to the edge of the Limburg Basin. The region’s significant potential, which stems from its geological and geomorphological development, has been known to humankind and put to value since prehistoric ages. Starting out at the foot of the Kleiner Feldberg the importance of the village Glashütten as a site where Medieval and Early Modern glassworks, charcoal burning and iron smelting were practiced is discussed. From there the route partially follows an old trade road heading towards the Idsteiner Senke and the Goldener Grund that have been populated since the Neolithic Period. Up until today these loess covered areas are favorably used for agriculture because of its remarkably efficient and highly fertile soils. Due to structural changes and population pressure the landscape has undergone increasing changes. The emerging land use conflicts will be examined using specific examples. Concluding the excursion an insight into the pleniglacial environment of the Lahn valley is given, before heading back from Limburg. We will arrive in Giessen at the Neues Schloss (Senckenbergstr. 1) at around 6 p.m.

Please note that Field Trip 3 is already fully booked. We are sorry.

Field Trip 3/B (27.09.18)

Quaternary environments of Giessen and its surrounding

M. Fuchs, J. Lomax, D. Sauer - Giessen and Göttingen

Our one day field trip will first lead us to an area south of Marburg in the middle reach of the Lahn valley. After an introduction into the natural settings of the area, we will visit the gravel pit Niederweimar, one of the largest of its kind in Hesse. The gravel pit exposes three units of gravels which possibly represent the remains of different Quaternary glacial periods. The gravels are covered by Late Glacial and Holocene floodplain fines with a highly resoluted stratigraphy. The floodplain fines include Laacher See Tephra and alternating layers of sands and silts, which may reflect climatic fluctuations of the Late Glacial. Above the tephra, a dark soil horizon marks the beginning of Early Holocene conditions. Furthermore, the area around Niederweimar is rich in archaeological finds of different periods. They indicate continuous settlement in the area since the last 11000 years. Details will be presented at our coffee break at the so called “Zeiteninsel”, an open-air museum showing settlements of different archaeological periods. Our next stop will bring as to the inactive gravel pit Niederwalgern, which exposes gravels of the Lahn at the base and a thick sequence of floodplain fines, including a dark palaeosoil. The sediments indicate massive deposition during the Holocene, probably due to anthropogenic forest clearing in the surrounding area. Our third stop brings us to a loess palaeosol section south of Gießen, near a small village called Münzenberg. Our luminescence ages indicate that very old loess is present here, and possibly also a pre-Eemian palaeosoil. The last glacial loess includes another important tephra of the area, serving as chronological marker for the LGM. Establishing a secure chronostratigraphy at the site is however challenging, due to the position on a steep slope, triggering erosional events. After this stop we will return to Gießen at around 6:00 p.m. 

Field Trip 4/C (27.09.18)

Fluviatile und äolische Ablagerungen im Rhein-Main-Gebiet 

(Please be aware that the field trip will be held in German language only)

C. Hoselmann, G. Radtke, T. Laupenmühlen, G. Weber, J. Bohatý, M. Weidenfeller

- Wiesbaden, Darmstadt, Dietzenbach, Mainz

Die Exkursion führt in das Rhein-Main-Gebiet und stellt in verschiedenen Aufschlüssen fluviatile Ablagerungen des Mains und Rheins sowie äolische Decksedimente vor. In den Aufschlüssen rund um Seligenstadt werden auch neue Untersuchungen zur Sedimentpetrographie, Paläontologie, Archäologie und Lumineszenzdatierungen erläutert. Weiterhin wird in Wiesbaden-Amöneburg der klassische Aufschluss der Mosbacher Sande angefahren. In Mosbach kann im Aufschluss die Geologie des Mainzer Beckens von den miozänen marinen Ablagerungen, über die fluviatilen Sedimente von Main und Rhein bis zu den weichselzeitlichen Lössen hin gezeigt werden. Ein weitere Schwerpunkt werden hier die quartärpaläontologischen Funde aus den Mosbacher Sanden sein. Zum Abschluss soll das Lössprofil in Mainz-Weisenau vorgestellt werden; hier stehen die weichselzeitlichen Lösse und Paläoböden im Fokus der Exkursion. Die Exkursion startet am Neuen Schloss in der Senckenbergstr. 1 in Gießen (07:30 Uhr) und endet am Mainzer Hauptbahnhof (18:15 Uhr) bzw. am Bahnhof in Gießen (19:45 Uhr).


Field Trip 5/D (27.09.18)

Mesozoic-Tertiary weathering mantle and Pleistocene periglacial slope deposits in the Hintertaunus mountainous region

P. Felix-Henningsen - Giessen

Under continental and (sub-)tropical climate conditions during Cretaceous, Palaeo- and Neogene, the Devonian slates and sandstones of the Rhenish Massif were subject to deep and intensive weathering, which caused the formation of a >100 m thick weathering mantle (regolith), consisting of kaolinitic saprolite and paleosols as well as correlated sediments. Especially the tectonic uplift of the Rhenish Massif and climate change during Pleistocene led to a vast denudation of the weathering mantle. Only in less uplifted areas, as in the Hintertaunus, thick remnants of the weathering mantle remained and were covered by Neogene sediments as well as Quaternary periglacial slope deposits. As the kaolinitic weathering products serve as raw materials for the clay industry, unique exposures are available which offer impressive insights into the landscape development of the past ~80 million years:  The excursion proceeds from Giessen to Limburg and further SW to the Hintertaunus area. At site 1 in Langhecke characteristics and properties of the fresh, un-weathered slates will be presented. Sites 2 and 3 are situated near Eisenbach village. In two open cast clay mines a terrestrial and a semi-terrestrial saprolite from slate, covered by periglacial layers, are exposed. Properties and genesis will be discussed on basis of morphological characteristics, mineralogical and geochemical analyses as well as iso-volumetric elemental mass balances. Site 4, near village of Biebrich, exposes a Paleogene Plinthosol above saprolite. The autochthonous paleosol was preserved below Upper Oligocene basalt tuff and periglacial layers. Site 5 is situated within a huge pit due to mining of Upper Oligocene to Miocene quartz gravel near Wasenbach village. A Miocene Plinthosol developed from alluvial sediments on top of the gravel beds and was covered by periglacial slope deposits. At nearly all sites the basal layers of the periglacial cover beds consist of kaolinitc paleosol/saprolite material, which has an important influence of the site properties of the Holocene soils.