Wooster Geologist on the Rhine

OPPENHEIM, GERMANY–Our International Bryozoology Association field trip started the day in the little town of Prüm looking at Devonian limestones and shales, and then we drove to Boppard where we boarded a Rhine River ferry for a trip upstream to Bacharach. The weather threatened rain but held off, giving us excellent views of the steep sides of the middle Rhine Valley with its little villages, precipitous vineyards, and numerous castles.

One of the attractions of this voyage was the “Loreley“, a large cliff at the narrowest point of the Rhine. It has historically been the site of many accidents because of the shallow, fast waters over the rocky river bed near the outcrop. There is a thick crust of Germanic sentimentality over this place which I don’t quite understand. In our case it involved the ferry loudspeakers playing a song based on a poem by Heinrich Heine that is a traditional favorite. At least I know this: the rock is a Lower Devonian quartzite, part of the Taunus Formation, and derived from tidal flat sediments!

The Loreley exposure on the right bank of the Rhine River, Germany.

About Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson is a Professor of Geology at The College of Wooster. He specializes in invertebrate paleontology, carbonate sedimentology, and stratigraphy. He also is an expert on pseudoscience, especially creationism.
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3 Responses to Wooster Geologist on the Rhine

  1. Amy Polkinghorn says:

    Looks poetic to me.

  2. susan says:

    Now you have covered, in addition to geology, history, art, religion, and poetry. What did I leave out? How about some politics?

  3. Mark Wilson says:

    I’m working on it, Susan!

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