The red rock from Germany originates from a supervolcano and can be found on numerous buildings
The Rochlitz porphyry tuff was added to the list of “Geoheritage Stones“ (also: Heritage Stones) in 2022. This makes it the first stone from Germany, or more precisely, from Saxony, to be allowed to bear this title. The designation is awarded by the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) and honors a natural ornamental stone that has played and continues to play an important role in culture over the centuries.
The stone was formed more than 290 million years ago by the activity of a supervolcano that ejected vast quantities of lava and ash from volcanic vents and fissures high into the atmosphere and over land. “The ejecta masses are among the largest discovered so far in the world,“ says the webpage of the National Geopark Porphyry Land in Saxony, “after their cooling, layers of different porphyries more than 500 m thick are formed.“
This happened during the Lower Permian period.
Since the early 12th century, the stone has been quarried at Rochlitzer Berg near the small Saxon town of Rochlitz as a material for builders and sculptors. It used to be commonly called Saxon marble.
Due to its strong red color and interesting structure, it has left its mark on the architectural heritage of an entire region in Germany and beyond.
It has been used as a building material in numerous structures, such as the Romanesque monastery church in Wechselburg, Leipzig’s Old Town Hall, architect Henry van de Velde’s Villa Esche in Chemnitz (1911), and the redesign of Immanuel Kant’s tomb (1924) in what is now Kaliningrad.
Among the current buildings, the façade of the new church building of the Leipzig Propsteikirche St. Trinitatis (Provost Church of the Holy Trinity), inaugurated in 2015, is particularly noteworthy.
The inclusion in the list of Geoheritage Stones was initiated by Prof. Dr. Heiner Siedel and Dr. Annett Kaldich from the Faculty of Physics and Geosciences at the University of Leipzig.
Geopark Porphyrland (German)
(23.08.2023, USA: 08.23.2023)