Events and Field Trips

Field Trip to the Messel Pit and the Geopark Odenwald (near Darmstadt, Germany)

14-17th September 2017

The Messel pit is famous for its wealth of fossils that have been found there, and for the excellent preservation of them (see picture to the right).

In addition to a visit to the Messel pit, we’ll explore the Odenwald geopark (a UNESCO site!). While nearly all of the Odenwald is based on crystalline rock, we’ll also look at some of the few sedimentary features, to find out more about the environments that favour fossilisation. So this is going to be a weekend for fossil lovers, but also for “hard rock” folks - a nice mixture!

The trip is going to include some or all of the following points:

Eckweg, Heppenheim. This 2 hour walk through the vineyards south of Heppenheim, introduces various topics such as Granite and the Variscan Orogeny, Rhine Graben formation, Periglacial sedimentation (Loess), Soils and Winegrowing

Bensheim-Zell: a short walk to investigate some typical features of the loess landscape along the eastern edge of the Odenwald.

The Felsenmeer: Another 2 - 2.5 hour walk covering subjects such as Granite and Variscan Orogeny (cont’d), Tertiary climate and granite weathering, Periglacial situation and Felsenmeer development.

Grube Prinz von Hessen: Short walk, touching subjects such as: difference between Messel Pit and this small abandoned Tertiary quarry (Tertiary tectonics along the Rhine Graben), Incl. some time searching for Lignite fossils (plant remains)

Mainzer Berg Quarry: Permian sedimentation (Rotliegend)

Otzberg: short walk and view from the castle tower towards Frankfurt, the Taunus Hills, the Spessart, subject here: Tertiary Volcanic activity, Relationship between Taunus, Odenwald, Spessart and the Permian Sedimentary Basin.

Gross Umstadt, Heubach: Permian volcanic activity, Rhyolite

This is still very much a preliminary programme, so subject to change! But it gives some ideas about the things we are likely to see.

We’ll be led by guides of the geopark, one of which is an English native speaker, and the other one could be Dr. Antje Bormann, who led our group to the Felsenmeer (AGM Heidelberg, 2014) (still tbc).

If you are interested, please contact Marion Seitz (marion(at)

For some information about the Messel pit see:



AGM in Hamburg

2nd - 4th February 2018

Our AGM also includes a visit to a disused quarry to examine Permian and Quatenary outcrops, including Late Permian black shales (Kupferschiefer) and the cap rock of a salt diapir. As it is planned to use private cars rather than hire a minibus, please contact Fiona Till as soon as possible for planning transportation.

A guided tour around the new Elbe Philharmonic Hall will be arranged as well.

Contact for transportation planning: Fiona Till (fiona.till(at)

Our events do not constitute a brochure under the Package Travel Regulations 1992