Title: Preservation of the geological and industrial heritage of a post-mining landscape by the example of the glacial Muskau Arch

Kersten Löwen

UNESCO Geopark Muskau Arch, Germany

Event: GeoKarlsruhe 2021

Date: 2021

DOI: 10.48380/dggv-hrr1-zp91

The Muskau Arch in the border triangle of Brandenburg-Saxony-Poland is a push moraine that was folded up by the Muskau Glacier during the second Elster surge about 340,000 years ago. In the process, it folded the underlying strata to a depth of approx. 270–290m. It is considered one of the best examples worldwide of large-scale glaciotectonic deformation. As a result of the compression, lignite, glass sands and clays, were pushed to the surface, and a flourishing raw material extraction and processing industry developed between 1840 and 1970. Today, the region is an attractive natural area with 300 to 400 partly coloured post-mining lakes and has developed into a diversified cultural landscape. Numerous projects in the area aim to carry on this closely linked geological and industrial heritage and make it tangible for the people in the region. For example, the narrow-gauge railway once built to transport goods and supply the factories is now operating again since the 1980s as a museum railway to tell the story of the forest railway and the former industrial region. Large open-cast mines that shaped the landscape for a long period are now being recultivated, taking into account their glacial history and incorporating relics in the form of erratic boulders as design elements. Former industrial buildings, such as the old brickworks in Klein Kölzig, are also being integrated into the sustainable development of the region and nowadays serve as Geopark's office on the one hand and illustrate industrial processes of brick production on the other.

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