Why you should take this class if you are interested in Geology?


            You will go underground several times, with a first-row look at skarn deposits, ore veins, and other features embedded in the grey and red gneisses of the Erzgebirge. While one can find outcrops, the abundant vegetation in the Erzgebirge quickly reclaims many rocky patches. This small mountain area (80 by 60 km) contains all chemical elements of the periodic table, excluding the transuranium series.



NE and SW Views from Bärenstein (a basaltic hardling), note the reservoir in the foreground. Leiternfahrt (not used by you)


Drift (Gößner Stolln Annaberg), elevator (Reiche Zeche Freiberg), and protective clothing (Molchner Stolln)


            We will explore and try to understand the history of these old mountains which were folded up during the variszian orogenesis, and were formed in their current state during the process of the alpine orogenesis. They are part of the peripheral breaking area, and are comprised of a plate which was lifted unevenly, yielding a slow rise from the northeast, and a sudden sharp drop at the rift into Bohemia.

            Of course, miners do need to know where to look for ore, and we will read about ancient ideas on how to find promising ore veins – some of them actually based on physical principles, such as the use of “Witterung”. That refers to the observation of the thermals above a hill side.


Minerals and geological maps in the collection of Freiberg

            Naturally, we will see minerals, including spectacular specimens of amethyst, calcite, fluorite and barite. The collection of the Bergakademie Freiberg is one of the largest of the world. It is in the process of moving into Schloss Freudenstein, a palace, in which we will be able to visit it.

            Let us also mention at this point that the Erzgebirge delivered 280.000 tons of uranium metal to the Soviet Union during the time from 1948 to 1989. We will get a rare glimpse at uranium pitchblende – a radioactive ore containing uranium oxide.


Fluorescent minerals and glasses; radiation measurement on a piece of uranium pitchblende (These are Herr Kempe –a collector from the Wismut AG, and Dr Manfred Schauer – geologist with the Wismut AG, professor emeritus from Freiberg, and very helpful with the geological aspect of this course)


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