|Image: total of the waterfall.|
|1910||created with the construction of the railroad.|
|1938||declared a Naturdenkmal (Natural Monument).|
|Image: a small primary cave formed by irregular growing tufa.|
In the Ahbachtal (Ahbach valley) an extraordinary sight is to find, which
does not seem very special at the first glimps.
A rather small waterfall, falling down a twelve metre long and five metre high
What looks really natural and not special at all is an extraordinary
It does not look artificial, at the fact that it was declared a natural monument
more than 70 years ago confuses the whole story even more.
It definitely is an artificial waterfall, constructed together with the railroad
line in the year 1910.
Numerous brooks and two rivulets where united and chanelled around the dam and
the tracks, to protect the railroad.
But lets start at the beginning.
The limestone of this area, the Kalkeifel (limestone Eifel) is karstified,
although there are almost no known caves.
The solution of limestone makes the water hard and deposit a lot of limestone
around the springs of the area.
This limestone is called tufa because of its numerous holes, or sometimes
The carbon dioxide in the water vanishes into the air or is consumed by the
algae and moss growing in the water.
Thus the limestone is deposited and forms crusts which cover the plants in the
The plants die and rot, and the typical holes in the tufa remain.
There is a huge layer of tufa in the Ahbachtal, where water springs along the
slope over some distance.
The nearby ruined castle Dreimühlen was built on top of this tufa
|Image: the algae and moss are resonsible for the limestone precipitation by consuming the carbon dioxide.|
When the railroad was built, it was necessary to protect the dam from the water,
which could cause damages by flooding or freezing.
All springs were subsumed by a chanel and lead across the dam through an adit
and into the Ahbach.
At one point there was an also artificial drop, the water was falling down.
Wher the water flows faster, the surface becomes bigger, the amount of carbon
dioxid vanishing into the air increases and also the amount of deposited
And soon the wall was coverd by a continually growing deposit of tufa, which
gave it an absolutely natural look.
In 1938 it was declared a Naturdenkmal (natural monument) as the deposition of
the limestone definitely is a natural process, even if the step is artificial.
Such waterfalls and their growing tufa are typical for limestone karst areas.
But the artificial reason for the process and the extreme speed of an geologic
process make it special.
|Wasserfall Dreimühlen Gallery