The City Built Atop a Crater and Riddled with Diamonds

The city’s church alone contains about 5,000 carats worth of diamonds.

2 min
Ripley's Believe It or Not!
The City Built Atop a Crater and Riddled with Diamonds
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They say diamonds are forever and Believe It or Not!, there’s a town in Germany that’s loaded with them thanks to an ancient meteorite impact! Surprisingly, the area containing the diamonds isn’t remote, and you don’t need a treasure map to find them because, well, they’re everywhere! Keep reading to learn more about this gem-riddled city.

The Way the Cookie Crumbles

The Bavarian town of Nördlingen, Germany, sits atop a massive meteorite crater. The town’s first inhabitants settled at the site in 898 A.D., and by the Middle Ages, townspeople constructed a wall around the city to protect it. Believe It or Not!, Nördlingen is only one of three towns in Germany with completely intact medieval city walls!

Example of a rampart crater via Wikimedia Commons.

The specific crater by which the town of Nördlingen sits atop is referred to as a rampart crater. A rampart crater is when the impact zone of an asteroid shoots debris out from the site of impact. The debris from the asteroid becomes fluidized and surrounds the impact site in what looks like a shelf and is known as the rampart.

Diamonds Dancing

The meteor’s initial impact created suevite , a rough-grained stone containing crystal, glass, and diamonds. The city’s church, constructed from suevite, contains about 5,000 carats worth of diamonds, and researchers estimate that the entire townsite is embedded with 72,000 tons of tiny diamonds!

However, there is one caveat: the diamonds are far too small to be of great value.

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