THE CHIEMGAU METEORITE IMPACT SIGNATURE OF THE STÖTTHAM ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE (SOUTHEAST GERMANY)
K. Ernstson, C. Sideris, I. Liritzis, A. Neumair
ABSTRACT. – Archaeological excavation at Chieming-Stöttham in the Chiemgau region of Southeast Germany revealed a diamictic (breccia) layer sandwiched between a Neolithic and a Roman occupation layer. This exotic layer bears evidence of its deposition in a catastrophic event that is attributed to the Chiemgau meteorite impact. In the extended crater strewn field produced by the impact, geological excavations have uncovered comparable horizons with an anomalous geological inventory intermixed with archaeological material. Evidences of extreme destruction, temperatures and pressures including impact shock effects suggest that the current views on its being an undisturbed colluvial depositional sequence as postulated by archaeologists and pedologists/geomorphologists is untenable.
The article addresses the geologic inventory of the archeological excavation at Chieming-Stöttham in the year 2007, the impact features of the intercalated catastrophic layer and the relation to the Chiemgau impact. The article also emphasizes the basically different viewpoints of the geomorphological-pedologic work (escorting the archeological excavation and performed at the behest of Bayerisches Landesamtes für Denkmalpflege by Prof. J. Völkel, Wissenschaftszentrum Weihenstephan für Ernährung, Landnutzung und Umwelt der technischen Universität München) on the one hand, and the geologic-mineralogic-petrographical work of the impact researchers on the other hand.
Since a few years there is evidence of a dual meteorite crater at the bottom of Lake Chiemsee (Fig. 4) in the Chiemgau meteorite crater strewn field. The search for a suspected impact into the lake was originally based on reports of fishermen about unusual sharp-edged large stones at the lake bottom that had damaged their fishnets. Such stones are in fact foreign matter in the lake. A general echo sounder campaign, followed by a detailed survey veritably revealed a peculiar structure, likewise a foreign element in the lake, with all evidence of a rimmed doublet crater (Fig.1).
Fig. 1. The proposed meteorite doublet crater at the bottom of Lake Chiemsee from detailed sonar echo sounder measurements. Meter scale indicates water depth.
The similarity to meteoritic dual craters on Mars is striking (Fig. 2). From the Mars image it is evident that the doublet structure formed on synchronous impact of twin projectiles. Continue reading
Do they form a pair? The Chiemgau impact and the suspected Saarland impact.
The earlier stated assumption that the Chiemgau impact may have a counterpart in the Saarland region
has been strengthened by new finds and new geologic and petrographic features. A respective update article may be clicked here:
Session Meteorites and Planets
Carbynes and DLC in naturally occurring carbon matter from the Alpine Foreland, South-East Germany: Evidence of a probable new impactite
S. Isaenko, T. Shumilova, K. Ernstson, S. Shevchuk, A. Neumair, and M. Rappenglück
ABSTRACT download EMC2012-217.
POSTER download EMC-PDF
From the poster: diamond-like carbon (DLC) in the probable impactite from the Chiemgau meteorite impact crater strewn field.
Every four years the International Union of Geosciences (IUGS) coordinates the International Geological Congress.
After a contribution at the 33th congress 2008 in Oslo the CIRT had now a presentation at the this year’s meeting in Brisbane, Australia:
A prehistoric meteorite impact in Southeast Bavaria (Germany): tracing its cultural implications
Barbara RAPPENGLUECK, Kord ERNSTSON, Ioannis LIRITZIS, Werner MAYER, Andreas NEUMAIR, Michael RAPPENGLUECK and Dirk SUDHAUS
Abstract. – A meteorite crater field in Southeast Germany, the Chiemgau region, comprises more than 80 craters scattered in an area of about 60 km x 30 km. The crater diameters range between a few meters and 600 m, forming one of the biggest known areas of Holocene meteorite craters. Continue reading
The Chieming-Stöttham archeological excavation – comments on a recently published article
by Chiemgau Impact Research Team (CIRT)
Abstract: – At the behest of the Bavarian State Office for Monument Preservation (BLfD) the archeological excavation at Stöttham near Lake Chiemsee, which exposed an intercalated geological layer with all evidence of a catastrophic deposition in a meteoritical impact event, was accompanied by a study performed by Wissenschaftszentrum Weihenstephan für Ernährung, Landnutzung und Umwelt der Technischen Universität München [Science Center of Nutrition, Land Use and Environment, Technical University of Munich, at Weihenstephan]. In the now published article the exposure is most widely described and interpreted from a geomorphological and soil science perspective while the unambiguous impact features implying the typical heavy rock deformations and shock metamorphism (shock effects) are completely ignored. Nevertheless, the authors conclude that there are not any indications of an impact event. Here, we remind of the progress of events, discuss the major shortcomings of Völkel et al.’s article, and conclude that it doesn’t meet scientific requirements. Continue reading
… or a “Requiem” for the rejection of the hypothesis?
YDB abbreviates Younger Dryas Boundary. The Younger Dryas stadial signifies a sharp onset of a period of cold climatic conditions in Earth’s history lasting roughly 1,000 years between about 11,000 and 10,000 B.C. at the end of the Pleistocene (the “Ice Age”) and the beginning Holocene.
The causes of this event are controversially disputed, and they are conventionally ascribed to perturbations of North Atlantic circulation. In 2007, a new hypothesis on a giant meteorite impact Continue reading
Experimental hypervelocity impact crater generation and the formation of the Lake Tüttensee crater
Fig. 1. Snapshot of a hypervelocity impact into flour taken from a high-speed camera video. The full video may be played back by clicking on the image.
Meteorite impact is a fascinating geologic process that for many geologists, however, has remained enigmatic. Therefore we are glad to present here on our website some results of experimental impacts that have been recorded by high speed cameras. This has been possible by a cooperation between the CIRT and Werner Mehl who is a world-wide known specialist for ballistics and high speed photography http://www.kurzzeit.com/eng/startseite.htm).
Fig. 2. Experimental hypervelocity impact crater produced by a projectile (as lying in the hand) in a target of flour. The angle of the impact trajectory was 30°. On clicking on the image in Fig. 1 the full video can be played back that shows the impact process recorded with a high speed camera. The outer ring-like fold of the foil is a side effect of the experimental set-up.
Details of the experiment are as follows: Continue reading
Pumice is a porous volcanic rock that is formed in gas-rich explosive eruptions on mixing of lava and water. When pressure releases, the melt froths by expansion of carbon dioxide and water vapor, and on rapid cooling the peculiar strongly vesicular texture forms. Pumice is nearly exclusively composed of glass with few mineral inclusions and has up to 90 % porosity which is why in general it floats in water. Depending on the source material and the texture pumice occurs in a broad color spectrum, from nearly white to yellow, gray and practically black. Well known is the Italian pumice from Lipari and Stromboli, and in Germany pumice from the Eifel volcanism is exploited.
Pumice from Lake Chiemsee
Since a few years the intensified geological investigations of the crater strewn field of the Chiemgau meteorite impact has revealed abundant finds of pumice cobbles in the shore region of Lake Chiemsee.
Fig. 1. Pumice varieties from Lake Chiemsee. White pumice – gray, marginally whitish pumice – gray pumice – grayish-black pumice (from top left to lower right). Samples by courtesy of Ernst Neugebauer.
The pumice occurs in various color varieties (Fig. 1) the white pumice rather being rare. Under the microscope the texture of the white form differs from the gray and grayish-black varieties (Figs. 2, 3). Continue reading