The Barbarossa Cave is an anhydrite cave. These types of caves have no outside entrance and have developed at a great depth as a result of formation water under impermeable rock coverage.

It developed in 3 phases:

1. A roughly 5 metre-thick layer of sedimentary Zechstein calcium sulfate forms the cave’s foundation. This conducts water very well, so rainwater and surface water penetrated it via clefts and chasms. The Werra anhydrite layer directly above it dissolved significantly better in the water than the Zechstein calcium sulfate. This led to extensive break up of Werra anhydrite layer on the boundary layer of both types of rock, which created flat, expansive hollow spaces known as cavities.


2. In these cavities karst water formed at a consistent level. This water was sated with aqueous stone. A permanent inflow of fresh, absorbent water however, entered the hollow spaces, so that further horizontal depletion took place at the level of the karst water.


3. In this way the hollow spaces continued to grow. The large widths of the halls meant that the ceilings collapsed, even breaking through to the earth surface. The caved-in rubble often filled the hollow spaces, but the water continued for the most part, to break them down again. Today, the real floor of the cave is hidden under metres of caved-in rock.



Barbarossahöhle im GeoPark Kyffhäuser
Mühlen 6, OT Rottleben
99707 Kyffhäuserland

Telefon: +49 (0)34671 5450
Fax: +49 (0)34671 54514

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