Ries Crater Museum
The RiesKraterMuseum in Nördlingen is a natural science museum with the central theme of the origin and significance of impact craters and especially the Nördlinger Ries . In a lavishly renovated medieval barn building from 1503 - distributed over six rooms - the giant event with its planetological roots and its earthly effects, which continue to have an effect to this day, is presented.
About 15 million years ago an asteroid about 1 km in size collided with the earth at a speed of about 70,000 km / h . When it exploded, which released the energy of several 100,000 Hiroshima bombs and destroyed all life within a radius of 100 km, a crater was created, sunk into today's Alb plateau: today's Nördlinger Ries. In addition to the almost circular, about 25 km in diameter large crater structure were on impact ( impact ) u. a. new rocks such as suevite ( impactite ), various high-pressure minerals and also diamonds formed.
Due to its good preservation due to its relatively young age and its accessibility, the Nördlinger Ries is still the destination of numerous geoscientists and impact researchers from all over the world. Astronauts from Apollo missions 14 and 17 trained here to recognize and take samples of impact rocks before their flight to the moon .
The Ries crater is one of the best studied impact craters in the world.
As a “museum in the crater”, the Rieskrater Museum has been offering insights into the spectacular event 15 million years ago for over 25 years, but also shows how life returned to the Ries natural area after the disaster.
Methods and findings of impact research and crater geology are explained, as well as topics that reveal the context and significance of the Ries event: the solar system , comets , asteroids, meteorites and the special role of impact events in general in the development of the sun's planetary system and the earth.
Numerous, sometimes spectacular original exhibits (impact rocks, meteorites, moon rocks , fossils and others), illustrations, text panels, films and interactive media bring facts and dimensions closer. The cosmological , planetological and geological environment of the event is explained in a descriptive manner that is understandable for laypeople, but also interesting for experts , and its ecological and economic consequences, which continue to have an impact today and are shown.
The museum is housed in the architecturally trend-setting, more than 500-year-old “Holzhofstadel” in the old town of Nördlingen.