BIZARRE! Diamond-laden town built inside an asteroid CRASH site in this country

Nordlingen, a small town in Germany is perhaps one of the most unique towns in the world. The entire town is built inside an asteroid crash site and the stones used to build the town are encrusted with diamonds.

| Updated on: Apr 13 2023, 14:12 IST
Know all about this unique town in Germany which is built on an asteroid crash site. (Wikimedia Commons)
Know all about this unique town in Germany which is built on an asteroid crash site. (Wikimedia Commons)

The Earth is filled with bewildering places and structures and in most cases they are either built naturally by forces within the Earth or by humans. However, there is one place on Earth that ranks among the most unique places on the planet, yet the credit does not go either to humans or the planet itself. Nordlingen is a small town in Bavaria, Germany which may not appear out-of-the-ordinary, but it is much frequented by NASA and ESA astronomers. Why? It's because the entire town is built on an asteroid crash site. Yes, as an asteroid strike actually happened there! But that's not all. Surprisingly, the stones used to construct most of the structures in the town are filled with diamonds, thanks to the asteroid.

It turns out that 15 million years ago, a massive one-kilometer-wide asteroid struck the very same land on which the town is built today. The asteroid struck at a speed of 70000 kilometers per hour and created a 25 kilometers wide crater on Earth which is today known as Nordlinger Ries. Interestingly, no one knew about this crater till very recently and the popular notion was that the town was built upon an extinct volcano.

The town built upon an asteroid crater

The earliest records for the construction of the town go as far back as the 9th century. And based on the record, the settlers were not aware that the land they were building houses upon was an asteroid crash site. In fact, even the school books in the 20th century mentioned that the town had a unique shape due to it being built on an extinct volcano.

It was not till the 1960s when geologists from the USA visited the town and found out that the shape of the ground did not resemble that of a volcano but something that was shaped from above. Inspecting the area, it did not take scientists long to understand that the land was an asteroid crater. But this was not the only thing the settlers got wrong.

The diamond town

It turns out that the settlers also did not realize that the common rock in the area, known as suevite, was filled with diamonds. These diamonds were very, very tiny and invisible to the unaided eye with an average size of less than 0.02 mm. These diamonds were also created by the asteroid.

When the asteroid struck the Earth, it subjected the bedrock to such intense heat and pressure that the minute carbon bubbles instantaneously transformed into diamonds. According to reports, there exist about 72000 tons of micro diamonds in the area, some of which can now be found in every building in the town.

Today, many astronomers visit the place to study the composition and structural qualities of an asteroid and how it impacts the Earth, which can be helpful in finding other similar sites.

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First Published Date: 13 Apr, 14:00 IST