2021 Volume 130 Issue 3 Pages Cover03_01-Cover03_02
Horizontal beds of the Zechstein Formation (Fm) in vivid reds were deposited in the non-marine Germanic basin, which was formed in mid-Pangea ca. 250 Mys ago (the latest Permian, Paleozoic). Until the mid-20th century, the youngest geologic period of the Paleozoic was called the Dyas, a name derived from a representative two-fold sequence composed of the Rotliegende Fm and the overlying Zechstein Fm. After recognizing a more complete standard section for a global correlation at Perm (Пермь) in the Uralian foothills (Russia), this time period was re-named the Permian. Nonetheless, the Zechstein Fm in Germany cannot be forgotten, as it comprises unique red beds with evaporites (including halite) and cupriferous black shale, which archive significant records of the extremely arid climate of the Permian mid-Pangea. These beds yield numerous well-preserved fossils of rare salamanders and even cockroaches.
The Thüringer Wald (forest) in central Germany, next to the western border of the former East Germany, features hilly landscapes, in which the Caaschwitz quarry in the eastern part of Jena exposes a typical outcrop of the Zechstein Fm (photo). In neighboring areas, tourists, including Japanese, can easily recognize several familiar local names; e.g., Eisenach, which is known for being the birthplace of J.S. Bach; Weimar, which was the long-term residence of J.W. von Goethe, and home of the Bauhaus and the famous Constitution; and, Jena which was the location of the first optics workshop of Carl Zeiss, to whom many geologists owe a debt. This pleasant forest domain marks the transition from high-altitude southern Germany and flat lowlands extending towards the North Sea and Baltic Sea coasts.
(Photograph & Explanation: Yukio ISOZAKI)