Salt domes in Northern Germany: Total volume of salt sediments


Salt domes in north Germany

In the north of Germany, between the river Ems and the river Oder, there are major underground deposits of rock salt. These salt deposits have very varied structures. A salt dome for instance is a salt structure that has risen up several kilometres in some cases, and can even extend up as far as the surface. In addition to its usual white- grey colour, salt can also have a range of red to orange colours caused by the presence of minor quantities of iron.

The salt sequences in north Germany were deposited approximately 250-290 million years ago (Rotliegend and Zechstein of the Permian). The particularly thick, approx. 250 million year old Zechstein salt has excellent properties, making it especially suitable for cavern construction. The Etzel salt dome also mainly consists of Zechstein salt, and is also one of the largest salt domes in the region.

Total volume of salt deposits in north Germany

The estimated total volume of all the salt deposits in north Germany is around 90,000 km3. This volume corresponds to a theoretical cube with sides measuring around 45 km – approximately the distance from Bremen to Oldenburg.