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Geographical location of the Eifel
Eifel scenery
In winter the Eifel is often covered with snow
The Eifel is a low mountain range in western Germanymarker and eastern Belgiummarker. It occupies parts of southwestern North Rhine-Westphaliamarker, northwestern Rhineland-Palatinatemarker and the south of the German-speaking Community of Belgium.

Geography

The Eifel is bordered by the river Mosellemarker in the south and the Rhinemarker in the east. In the north it is limited by the hills of the High Fensmarker (Hohes Venn), in the west by the Ardennesmarker of Belgiummarker and Luxembourgmarker.

There are several distinct chains within the Eifel.

  • The northernmost parts are called Ahr Hills ( ) and rise north of the Ahrmarker river in the district of Ahrweilermarker.
  • South of the Ahr is the High Eifel (Hohe Eifel), with the Hohe Acht (747 m) being the highest mountain of the Eifel.
  • In the west, on the Belgianmarker border, the hills are known as Schneifel (originally Schnee-Eifel or "Snowy Eifel"), rising up to 698 m. Also in the west, by the Belgian and Luxembourgmarker border, the region is known as Islek (Aquilania).
  • The southern half of the Eifel is lower. It is cut by several rivers running north-south towards the Moselle. The largest of these is the Kyllmarker, and the hills on either side of this river are called the Kyllwald.
  • In the south the Eifel is concluded by the Voreifel above the Moselle.


Since 2004 about 110 km² of the Eifel have been protected as the Eifel National Park nature reserve.

Geology

The Eifel and its western continuation into Belgium, the Ardennes, are a part of the Variscan mountain belt and belong to the Rhenish Massifmarker (Rheinisches Schiefergebirge).

The Eifel consists mainly of Devonian slates, sandstones and limestones, laid down in an ocean south of the Old Red Continent and folded and overthrust in the Variscan orogeny. The Eifel geological structures like main folds and overthrusts can be traced in a SW-NE-dircection far beyond the Rhine valley.

In the Tertiary and Quaternary geological era, the Eifel was a site of extensive volcanic activity. Some of the hills are volcanic vents. The peculiar circle-shaped lakes (maar) of the volcanic regions formed in volcanic craters. The last volcanic eruptions in the Laacher Seemarker volcanic site took place around 10 000 years ago and generated a huge volume of volcanic ash, now found in thin ash layers in contemporaneous sediments throughout Europe. The volcanism of the Eifel is thought to be partly caused by a hotspot or mantle plume, a place where hot material from deep in the mantle rises to the surface, and partly by melt-ascent at deep fractures in the earth's crust. Research has shown that the volcanism is still active; the Eifel region is rising by 1-2 mm per year.Historically, the Eifel volcanoes had inactive phases of 10,000 to 20,000 years between active phases, suggesting there is a possibility of future eruptions.

Points of interest

  • The Nürburgringmarker, one of the world's most famous motor racing courses, is located in the Eifel. The northern loop (Nordschleife) of the course is also known as the Green Hell (Grüne Hölle), because of its long, difficult and dangerous path through the local forest.
  • An interesting archeological feature of the region is the Eifel Aqueduct, one of the longest aqueducts of the Roman empire, providing the city of Cologne with water.


See also





External links



References

  1. Meyer,W. 1986. Geologie der Eifel, p.4. Schweizerbart'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Stuttgart. ISBN 3-510-65127-8
  2. Meyer 1986, p.275



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