The Commission for the Designation of National Geoparks in Germany, a commission of GeoUnion Alfred Wegener Foundation, accredited ‘Geopark Sachsens Mitte’ – Central Saxony Geopark – as the 18th National Geopark in Germany on 4 November 2021.
Geoparks can be regarded as nature parks with a special focus on geology. They are specifically designated landscape areas with sites of above-average geological attractivity, and they communicate geoscientific knowledge into the wider public. Since 2002 GeoUnion Alfred Wegener Foundation has been mandated to award the label “National Geopark” to geoparks applying for it. GeoUnion Alfred Wegener Foundation is the roof organization of geoscientific research institutes and expert associations in Germany; Potsdam University’s geology professor Manfred Strecker is their current president.
Central Saxony Geopark is situated between Dresden and the Elbe Valley on the one hand and the heights of the Ore Mountains on the other hand. The region is known for its spectacular geodiversity. In a comparatively small area a large proportion of all rock types on earth can be found: old gneisses from early phases of orogenetic processes, granites from younger plutons, but also more recent sedimentary rocks and – above all – volcanic rocks, evidence from various phases of volcanic activity in the area. The geopark’s most famous geosite is the so-called porphyry fan of Mohorn-Grund which beautifully exposes the fan-shaped crystallizing of lava flows which occurred roughly 300 million years ago. In addition, the remains of coal mining (and uranium coal mining) in the Döhlen basin around Freital form another part of the geopark, with a fine thematic exhibition in Freital’s Communal Collections in the Palace of Burgk. The history of silver mining in the Middle Ages is presented in the new MiBERZ museum, a museum of medieval ore mining at Dippoldiswalde.
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