Mars on Earth

How much they resemble each other: Chiemgau impact and Mars impact.

Top: The Aiching/Dornitzen semi-crater punched into the Inn Valley slope today, after the other half has been “shaved off” by the Inn River.

Below: This image was taken by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on March 12, 2022. It shows a crater punched into the Martian surface, exposing several previously formed layers. Half of the crater was then destroyed when the Mars channel was opened. – NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona.

Interestingly, the Chiemgau and Mars craters are about the same size (50 m), with objects about 1.5 m in size still resolved in the Mars crater image.

With respect to the Tüttensee crater, it is remarkable in this Mars crater that also a terrace-shaped ejecta rim has developed after a part of the crater-facing wall has flowed back into the hollow form.

Digital terrain model DGM 1 of the Tüttensee crater with the true inner crater with a good 300 m diameter and the terraced ring wall measuring 600 m.

Secondary cratering on Earth: The Wyoming impact crater field: Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare)

A recent article by Kenkmann et al. in the GSA Bulletin titled

Secondary cratering on Earth: The Wyoming impact crater field

has led to a plethora of noticeable reactions especially on the internet and has led to an extensive critical commentary article that can be clicked HERE on the website for an introduction and HERE as a PDF. The commentary article, which comprehensively contrasts the Wyoming impact crater field with the Chiemgau impact crater field, accuses the authors of serious methodological errors and scientifically incorrect work. The conclusion is that this alleged Wyoming secondary crater field does not exist.

Three Examples of the Wyoming impact craters. Google Earth.

Chiemgau impact crater: Digital Terrain Model DGM 1 – topographic contour lines.

New article: Chiemgau impact and archeology

The Chiemgau Impact – a meteorite impact in the Bronze-/Iron Age and its extraordinary appearance in the archaeological record

Barbara Rappenglück (Gilching), Michael Hiltl (Oberkochen), Michael Rappenglück (Gilching), Kord Ernstson (Würzburg)

Abstract. – The largest meteorite impact of the Holocene known to date occurred during the Bronze/Iron Age in southeastern Bavaria, between Altötting and the edge of the Alps. The event is known as the “Chiemgau Impact”. More than 100 craters with diameters from 5m up to several hundred meters are distributed over an area of about 60km length and 30km width. Finds of meteoric material confirm the event as well as the widespread evidence of so-called shock metamorphosis in the rock. The article focuses on new investigations of “slags” from an archaeological excavation in Chieming-Stöttham, on the eastern shore of Lake Chieming. Six objects analysed with polarisation microscope and SEM-EDS turned out to be complex combinations of rock and metal particles. While the rock components show the shock metamorphosis typical for a meteorite impact, the metallic components proved to be remnants of artefacts made of bronze or iron with a high lead content. Together they form an impact rock. To our knowledge, these are the first examples worldwide in which artefacts have become components of an impact rock. In addition, the special nature of the metallic components and the consideration of the archaeological context allow the more precise dating of the Chiemgau Impact to approximately 900–600 BC.

Published in: Wolfschmidt, Gudrun (Hg.):

Virtual Impact Museum Grabenstätt

Virtual Impact Museum Grabenstätt

Due to the virus pandemic, the annual International Museum Day in May has been cancelled. The Impact Museum in Grabenstätt at Lake Chiemsee has taken part in this attractive event in previous years and has planned to do so again this year. The organizer of the Museum Day, the Deutsche Museumsbund e.V., had the idea of encouraging interested museums to take part in a virtual museum for visitors, and this prompted the sponsors of the Grabenstätt Museum to actually set up such a virtual museum, which was also brought up to the very latest state of scientific research and knowledge.

Practically all texts and inscriptions are in German, but we think that a large part of the contributions are self explaining or become more or less understandable with computer translation aids.

Chiemgau impact: contributions to the 76th Annual Meteoritical Society Meeting (2013)

The following contributions to the MetSoc Meeting, July 29 – August 2, Edmonton, Canada, may be downloaded here:

Michael A. Rappenglück, Frank Bauer, Michael Hiltl, Andreas Neumair, Kord Ernstson:


Poster CAIs mini Click poster!

Click Abstract CAIs!


Frank Bauer, Michael Hiltl, Michael A. Rappenglück, Andreas Neumair, Kord Ernstson:


Poster hapkeite mini  Click Poster!

Click Abstract hapkeite !


Andreas Neumair, Kord Ernstson:


Poster distal ejecta png Click Poster!

Click Abstract distal ejecta !


Kord Ernstson, Werner Müller, Andreas Neumair:


Poster Nalbach Chiemgau mini Click Poster!

Click Abstract Nalbach Chiemgau impact


Chiemgau impact: two contributions to the AGU 2011 Fall Meeting, San Francisco

At the AGU (American Geophysical Union) Fall Meeting, December 5-9, two contributions focusing on special features of the Chiemgau meteorite impact strewn field have been presented:

Neumair, A. & Ernstson, K. (2011), Geomagnetic and morphological signature of small crateriform structures in the Alpine Foreland, Southeast Germany, Abstract GP11A-1023 presented at 2011 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, Calif., 5-9 Dec.

The poster may be clicked here: Poster Neumair & Ernstson

Ernstson, K. & Neumair, A. (2011), Geoelectric Complex Resistivity Measurements of Soil Liquefaction Features in Quaternary Sediments of the Alpine Foreland, Germany, Abstract NS23A-1555 presented at 2011 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, Calif., 5-9 Dec.

The poster may be clicked here:  Poster Ernstson & Neumair

Chiemgau impact: an article on the impact-induced soil liquefaction (rock liquefaction)

Article on the Thunderhole phenomenon in the Chiemgau impact area: 

The sinkhole enigma in the alpine foreland, Southeast Germany: Evidence of impact-induced rock liquefaction processes

Kord Ernstson, Werner Mayer, Andreas Neumair and Dirk Sudhaus


The article describes the very first geologic and geophysical investigations of the so-called Thunderhole (“Donnerloch“) phenomenon in the region of the small town of Kienberg north of Lake Chiemsee in Southeast Bavaria. The authors conclude that the innumerable enigmatic sudden sinkhole cave-ins having happened in living memory originate from late and even today acting processes of an earlier shock-induced underground rock liquefaction known from strong earthquake shocks. The geologically prominent underground structures that have now been uncovered are considered the result of impact shocks in the course of the formation of the Chiemgau meteorite crater strewn field (Chiemgau impact).

Some characteristic images of this highlighting rock liquefaction (or soil liquefaction) process can be seen on continuing

Continue reading “Chiemgau impact: an article on the impact-induced soil liquefaction (rock liquefaction)”

Shock spallation – a typical impact process in the Chiemgau meteorite crater strewn field

The term spallation is used in various meanings, e.g. in nuclear physics and fracture mechanics. For impact processes, spallation plays an important role (however seldom appreciated appropriately) and is closely related with the propagation of shock waves. To put it simply, the process runs as follows: On impinging on a free surface, the shock compressive wave is reflected as a tensile wave of practically identical energy. And while a compressive pulse is squeezing a rock, a tensile pulse is stretching the material thus enabling the development of tensile fractures and in an extreme case leading to the detachment of a spall or series of spalls. This is favored by the fact that the tensile strength of all materials and, hence, also of rocks is considerably less than the compressive strength. This is why it is often disregarded that the enormous destructions upon meteorite impact are not so much the result of the shock wave pressure as of the pull of the rarefaction waves. Spallation may take place also when a compressive shock pulse impinges on a boundary of material with reduced impedance (= the product of density and sound velocity) where part of its energy is reflected as a rarefaction pulse that may likewise enable tensile fracturing. It is worth remarking, however compatible with shock physics, that the process of spallation can be observed on arbitrary scales, from microscopically small deformations right up to the movement of huge rock complexes.

limestone cobble shock spallation fracture chiemgau impact

Fig. 1. A limestone cobble (14 cm long) exhibiting the typical open spallation tensile fractures. The process is nicely documented by the observation that the running fractures have come to standstill midway through the cobble. In case they had continued running, the cobble would have been fractionized to pieces, and nothing of note would have remained. Continue reading “Shock spallation – a typical impact process in the Chiemgau meteorite crater strewn field”

The Chiemgau impact hypothesis and Wikipedia

We are watching with interest discussions on relevant Wikipedia articles, and we would like to put the reader of this website in a position to receive a first-hand impression of the varied quality of the contributions to the discussion and to form her/his own opinion about the various versions of the Wikipedia articles: