The Eifel’s volcanic superlative

In the Vulkaneifel, 75 maars have been scientifically proven. Of these, ten maar craters are always filled with water and harbour a maar lake – these are what the writer Clara Viebig poetically called the “eyes of the Eifel”.

In other maar craters, after the land dried up the maar lakes became moors containing special plant communities. Other maars have never contained a maar lake or have been levelled due to natural erosion and are now only recognisable as flat, bowl-shaped hollows. The centres of some of the dry maar craters, up to 100 m deep, are filled with loose rock.
Even if a maar lake has not formed on the surface, groundwater has still accumulated in the depths, in the gaps and pores of the rock. Today, some dry maars are an important part of the drinking water supply in the Vulkaneifel.

At 44.3 million years old, the Eckfelder Maar at Manderscheid is the oldest maar in the Eifel. It is world-famous as a place where animals and plants from the late Tertiary period have been discovered (crocodiles, ancient horses, palm trees etc.) and serves as a continental climate archive for researchers.

With a diameter of 1730 m and a 400 m deep crater the Meerfelder Maar is the largest maar so far discovered in the Vulkaneifel.

With a diameter of only a few metres and only sporadically filled with water, the “Hetsche”, not far from the Holzmaar at Gillenfeld, is considered to be the smallest maar.