Just to let you know ahead, we haven't seen one, I think. No yeah, I am positive, no witches passed our way. The reason why I started talking about witches? Wait, I'll explain. Right in the centre of Germany is a fault-block mountain range, the Harz, which separates the flat northern Germany from the hills further south. Due to tectonic processes the northern part of the so-called horst was strongly uplifted compared to the south, which can be observed impressively in the northern Harz foreland. On top of the highest mountain, the Brocken, there is the "Hexentanzplatz" (witches dancing square) where the "witches" (and their fans) still meet up for rituals, e.g. at Walpurgis Night.
During the last glacial cycle aeolian sediments were accumulated in the northern Harz foreland, because the high North-Harz worked as an elevation boundary for the dust, also known as loess. As we dedicated our life to loess, we had to see, what's going on over there. Between 25th June and 3rd July 2014 we geoscientists from the RWTH Aachen University, part of the CRC 806 D1 project, looked at two loess-paleosol sequences (Hecklingen and Zilly) in the northern Harz foreland. We sampled the steep walls ambitiously with sweat, numerous blood donations for literally hundreds of poor starving mosquitoes, and tears (the sky cried, not us) by climbing and abseiling, ending up with a good amount of samples for geochemical, sedimentological, colour, rock- and palaeomagnetic measurements, and luminescence dating.
In contrast to the profiles in the Balkan region (project B1) our profiles might be considered small with ca. 10 m and 4.50 m, but in between those metres a lot has happened. Recently, the samples are in the lab for measuring. To be continued ...
|The Brocken, Harz, Germany.
Photo: Christian Zeeden