Suevite in contact with Bunte Breccia in the Aumühle quarry near Oettingen

Science

Meteorite and impact research

In August 1970, NASA sent Apollo-14 and -17 mission astronauts to the Ries Crater for geological field training.

The assignment of the participating German geo-scientists was to acquaint the astronauts with the special rock formations of an impact crater. This training represented an important foundation for the later retrieval of rock samples from the Moon. As a consequence, the astronauts trained in the Ries were able to recognize rock masses ejected from craters and gather specific samples. 

American astronauts carried out field training in the Ries before their Apollo missions.
American astronauts carried out field training in the Ries before their Apollo missions.
Apollo mission Moon landing
Apollo mission Moon landing
Moon rock collected by the Apollo-16 mission, displayed in the Ries Crater Museum, Nördlingen
Moon rock collected by the Apollo-16 mission, displayed in the Ries Crater Museum, Nördlingen

Natural History Museum

Meteorite and impact research are very important in Berlin. The Natural History Museum houses more than 6,000 samples in the largest German meteorite collection. Rock from 50 impact craters on all continents were compiled from research expeditions.  

The scientists use various methods to study impact craters; studies on site as well as microscopic and chemical analyses in laboratories are compared with results from impact experiments and model calculations. Through these innovative approaches, the Natural History Museum has become a worldwide leading research institute in the area of crater research.  The Natural History Museum operates an external branch, the Center for Ries Crater and Impact Research Nördlingen (ZERIN).

Natural History Museum in Berlin
Natural History Museum in Berlin

Center for Ries Crater and Impact Research Nördlingen (ZERIN)

ZERIN is an external branch of the Natural History Museum of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin that is operated in cooperation with the City of Nördlingen.  It is a research and documentation facility in which important geo-scientific objects and core samples from the Nördlinger Ries and other impact craters are archived and made available for scientific study.  Impact researchers from the whole world visit ZERIN.  University seminars and guided tours for interested amateurs are also offered. ZERIN is managed by the curator of the Rock and Ore Collection of the Natural History Museum in Berlin.

ZERIN, Nördlingen
ZERIN, Nördlingen
Core-sample archive
Core-sample archive
Quarry at Leeukop hill (impact rock) in Vredefort crater, South Africa, 2.02 billion years old
Quarry at Leeukop hill (impact rock) in Vredefort crater, South Africa, 2.02 billion years old