Thursday, September 11, 2014

Urach Waterfall

45 minutes away from Stuttgart by car is the Urach Waterfall. Urach is a little city at the northwestern drop of the Swabian Jura (German: Schwäbische Alb), a mountain range build out of different limestone formations from the Jurasic period. The Schwäbische Alb is actually a high plateau that drops to the northwest about 400 meters, little rivers cut narrow valleys, sometimes canyon-like into the rocks. Some of the rocks and hills are crowned with castles or ruins of castles. One of them is the Urach castle overlooking Urach. Urach itself has a nice historic city center, but maybe the greatest attraction is the nearby Urach Waterfall. The waterfall can be reached from different parking spots in about 40 minutes to one hour by foot. The Urach Waterfall is one of the highest Waterfalls in Germany outside the Alps. It has a vertical drop of about 37 meters.

This waterfall has something unusual – while other waterfalls cut into the rocks and over time their step is moving backwards – this waterfall lets the rock it flows over grow over the years. The waterfall is feed by a nearby karst spring. The spring water is saturated with calcium hydrogen carbonate (carbon dioxide solved calcium carbonate in the underground), when the water gets in touch with the atmosphere calcium carbonate precipitates and tufa rock is created, actually a real plateau was created over the ages. Fern and Moss growing around the waterfall is covered by tufa. And even where the waterfall leaves the rock the tufa from the water is creating a overhanging chute, which breaks down from time to time if gets to heavy.

Enough introducton, now some pictures:

The water flows over the overhanging chute.

The waterfall's spray

Urach Waterfall from below, after 37 meters of vertical drop, drops another 50 meters over several cascades.

The surrounding forrest

Approaching from the southeast through a little canyon