|Location:||Between Irrel and Ernzen.|
Naturparkzentrum: 10-APR to 01-NOV daily 11-18.
|Guided tours:||self guided|
Teufelsschlucht, Verkehrsverein Irrel e.V., 54666 Irrel, Tel: +49-6525-500.
Naturerkundungsstation Teufelsschlucht, Ferschweilerstr., 54668 Ernzen, Tel: +49-6525-933930, Fax: +49-6525-933939. E-mail:
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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Between the villages Irrel and Ernzen in the southern Eifel, there is a huge mixed forest with a huge amount of strange rock formations. The most impressive is probably the Teufelsschlucht (Devils Gorge). This is a gorge like cleft in the rock, which was enigmatic for the locals. A normal gorge is formed by the erosion of a river, as a result the floor is continually going downwards, as the water flows downhill. But this gorge is different, as the floor on both ends is higher than in the centre. So the water would have flown in from both sides and vanished mysteriously. So the locals believed this gorge was not formed naturally but created by the devil, and it was named devils gorge.
The sandstone in this area is called Luxemburger Sandstein and is from the Lower Jurassic or Lias. The calcareous sandstone was deposited some 190Ma ago at the northern coast of the Lias sea. The land mass to the north is called Ardennens Massif, and was the source of the sand. The area where those sandstones are found today is called Luxemburger Schweiz (Luxembourg Switzerland) and is about 330m asl. The sandstones are exceptionally thick in this area, because this once was the stuary of a river which brought huge amounts of sand with it an deposited them.
Below the sandstone is a layer of marl from the Upper Triassic, locally called Keuper. This rock is water resistant and rather soft, and becomes a good lubricant (at least in geologic terms) if wet. The sandstone has cracks from the uplift, they are widened by erosion, and the weck basement lets huges chunks of rock slide slowly. This process was intensified at the end of the last ice age, some 10,000 yeras ago, when warm an humid climate and the melting water of the glaciers caused higher erosion. The result was the labyrinth of strange rocks caled Felsenmeer (sea of rocks). The gorge was formed by the separation of two chucks of rock for more than one meter and several subsequent rock falls.