A meteorite impact crater field in eastern Bavaria? A preliminary report
Meteoritics & Planetary Science 40(2): 187-194
Numerous circular depressions north of Burghausen in eastern Bavaria, with diameters ranging from meters to tens of meters in size and dispersed over an area of at least 11 x 7 km, are suspected to have an extraterrestrial origin since they resemble other small meteorite impact craters. The depressions are bowl-shaped, have high circularity and a characteristic rim. Most of them were formed in unconsolidated glacial gravels and pebbles intermixed with fine-grained sand and clay. Magnetic investigations reveal weak anomalies with amplitudes of less than &PLUSMN; 10 nanoTesla (nT). In some cases, the origins of the anomalies are suspected to be due to human activity within the structures. So far, no traces of meteoritic material have been detected. An evident archaeological or local geological explanation for the origin of the craters does not exist. A World War I and II explosive origin can be excluded since trees with ages exceeding 100 years can be found in some craters. One crater was described in 1909. Carbon-14 dating of charcoal found in one crater yielded an age of 1790 &PLUSMN; 60 years. Hence, a formation by meteorite impacts that occurred in Celtic or early medieval times should be considered. A systematic archaeological excavation of some structures and an intensified search for traces of meteoritic material are planned.