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Simonswald Geology

Simonswald Geology

Simonswald church

     Until today, visitors can witness 900 million year old relicts. Throughout its geological history, the valley has been shaken a lot, being below and above sea level several times. After its rise, wind forces did their part to bring it down again, and eruption brought it up again, resulting in mountain roots (believe it or not, even mountains have roots). Visit Günter-Rock (Günterfelsen) between Brent and St. Martin's chapel (Martinskapelle) and you will find such geological mountain roots of Black-Forest. These testimonies are, just for comparisons sake, far older than The Alps, which are relatively young compared to Simonswald`s mountain roots. One can still observe these roots of Black Forest (for the coming 1 million years they might stay above sea-level). Geologically, the Black Forest consists of a cover of sandstone on top of a core of gneiss. During the last Ice Age the Black-Forest was covered by glaciers.

     Simonswald's mountains were produced by movement of lithospheric plates. Isostatic uplift and intrusion of matter forces surface rock upwards creating a land form higher than the surrounding one. The height of such features makes it either a hill or a mountain. The major mountains tend to occur in linear arcs, indicating tectonic plate boundaries and activities. Mountain creations tend to occur in discrete periods, referred to as "orogeny". Two types of mountain are formed depending on how the rock reacts to the tectonic forces: "block" or "fold" mountains. Some isolated mountains were produced by volcanoes, such as nearby Kaiserstuhl, that have reached relatively great heights above ground level.

     Block mountains are created when large areas are broken up by faults creating vertical displacements. The uplifted block is a block mountain. The intervening dropped blocks are so-called "Graben" which can be small or form extensive valley systems such as Simonswald.

     During the Ice-Ages, Kandel's glacier formed Moraines which are still visible. The snow from which glaciers form is subject to repeated freezing and thawing, permitting the formation of a form of granular ice. Under pressure of layers of ice and snow above it this granular ice fuses into firn. Over years, layers of firn undergo compaction and become glacial ice. Glacial ice contains air bubbles as result, giving it a distinctive blue colour. The lower layer, where glacial ice flows, deforms under such pressure, allowing the glacier as a whole to move like a viscous fluid; glaciers don?t need a slope, they are being driven by the continuing accumulation of new snow at their source. The upper layers of glaciers are more brittle, and often form deep cracks. These cracks make travel over glaciers dangerous; meltwaters flow throughout and underneath glaciers, carving channels into the ice similar to caves and also helping to lubricate the glacier's movement. Snowfall creates a sufficient depth of ice to exert a downward force sufficient to cause deep erosion of rock in the area concerned. On the opposite end of the glacier, at its foot or terminal, is the zone of ablation where upward and lateral forces predominate and deposition of sediments occur.

     Glacial moraines are formed from deposition of material from a glacier and are exposed after glaciers have retreated. End moraines are formed at the foot or terminal end of a glacier, lateral moraines are formed on the sides of the glacier, and medial moraines are formed down the middle. Transport of fine-grained material within glaciers can either smoothen or polishing the surface of rocks, leading to the so-called glacial polish.

     Moraines can be distinguished in: 1. Lateral moraines: The talus, a broken rock found on mountain slopes and at the base of cliffs accumulated on the glacier and carried along with it. In case of valley glaciers which have disappeared, their former existence may often be proved by the traces of lateral moraines left along the sides of Simon's valley. 2. Medial moraine: If one - or more tributary glaciers coalesce with the main glacier, lateral moraines unite to form trains of debris on the surface of glaciers at the centre, this is called a medial moraines. 3. Terminal moraine: When balance is maintained between melting of a glacier and its forward advance, the debris carried on, and dragged along is dumped at that point and builds up a heterogeneous mass of material which is called terminal moraine. 4. Interlobate moraine: If glaciers and continental ice sheets advance irregularly so that their margins are lobate forming clay (Clays hardened by fire were the first ceramic, and remain one of the cheapest and most widely used materials to produce even in the present day; Simonswald bricks, pottery pots are all made with clay. Clay is also used in many industrial processes, such as pulp and paper making, concrete production, and filtering), and sand simulate the original interlobate shape of glaciers, and therefore such moraines are so-called interlobate moraines. 5. Ground moraine: When a valley glacier melts completely away the debris carried on forming a deposit, the so-called ground moraine.

     A place to see such moraines is near Fahrenhof in Upper-Simonswald, called D?mple-Kar. Glaciers are no longer visible; unfortunately, 12,000 years ago it has just becoming too hot for them. This was the time when the Ice-Age ended. As glaciers retrieving, they provided room for Flora and Fauna.

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