Hainich CZO


51° 6' 49.6116" N, 10° 25' 50.2212" E
Brief Site Description: 
Functioning and biodiversity of the subsoil compartments of the Critical Zone and their links to pedosphere, biosphere and lower atmosphere.
Detailed Site Description: 

The research conducted at the Hainich CZE within the AquaDiva CRC focus on integrated research on the functioning and biodiversity of the subsoil compartments of the Earth´s Critical Zone and their links and connections to the pedosphere, the biosphere and the lower atmosphere. The compartments of interests are therefore the soils-sensu strictu , the water-unsaturated zone, and the water-saturated subsurface including the aquifers.

The Hainich Macrochore

The landscape

The HAINICH CZE is located in the southwestern part of the federal state of Thuringia, Germany (Figure 1). It follows the eastern slope of the Hainich range with mean inclination of approximately 2 degrees. Dominant landscape types are ancient forest (Hainich National Park, "Reine Waldlandschaft") in the west, and agriculturally-impacted open cultural landscape ("ackergeprägte offene Kulturlandschaft"). Small villages in the surrounding are Kammerforst, Flarchheim, Langula and Oberdorla.

The Geology

The Hainich Macrocore is part of Thüringer Basin, situated in western margin. Major geological formations are the Upper and Middle Muschelkalk that build the Hainich Mountain range in the east and the Lower Keuper in the western part of the CZE (Figure 2, Gelogiocal cross section through the Hainich CZE). Holocene alluvial deposits are found along the creeks and rivers. Locally, pleistocene loess deposits are found. The area is tectonically active with a fault system striking in north-west-sout-eastern direction.

Hydrology and Hydrogeology

Hydrologically the area is characterized by a water divide. The mountain range as a groundwater recharge area discharges to rivers Werra (tributary to the Weser catchment) and Unstrut (tributary to the Elbe catchment). The carbonate rock formations of the Middle and Upper Muschelkalk are prone to karstification. Sinkholes are a frequent indicator of the subsurface dissolution and erosion (subrosion). Some of these collapse-sink elements are active as springs. The major aquifers of the area are developed in the fractured and karstified rocks of the Middle and Upper Muschelkalk.

The soils

Soil type found are rendzinas, brown rendzinas and cambisols with the lime- and marlstones as parent material, fluvisols and gleysols along the rivers and luvisols, with cambic and stagnic properties as well as stagnosols in the loss-covered planes.

Site instrumentation

Groundwater wells: The CZE Hainich has been instrumented with a transect of groundwater wells along the main flow direction (south-west north-east, Figure 2). At five location H1 through H5 along the transect, up to four groundwater wells have been build. At each location, one well is screened in an upper limestone aquifer, the second within the lower limestone aquifer.

For more information see: http://www.aquadiva.uni-jena.de/

PI: Kai Totsche
PI: Kirsten Küsel
PI: Susan Trumbore

Field Site Type: 
International CZO
Study Start Date: 
Mean Annual Precipitation: 
900 millimeters / year
Average Annual Temperature: 
Land Cover: 
Deciduous Forest
Agriculture- Crops
Soil Order: 
Hydrology: Surface water stream order: 
Hydrology: Surface water - Stream Flow Performance: 
Hydrology: Groundwater: