Totenkoeppel Lautertal - a former cinder cone?

The Totenkoeppel elevation near Lautertal consists of an alkali basalt, which dominates the surroundings due to its resistance to weathering. The alkali basalt is surrounded by a ring of lapilli and ash tuff (solidified pyroclastics). The southern slope of the Totenkoeppel is made of leuko-alkalibasalt.


In particular, the ring of lapilli and ash tuff surrounding the central elevation indicates a small volcanic vent, which during the time of active volcanism in the Vogelsberg brought magma to the earth's surface. Presumably it was a cinder cone.

The interplay of rock hardness, weathering and erosion shaped the Totenkoeppel over many millions of years to its present appearance.

(1) During volcanism, rocks were formed that show different resistance to weathering. Note: The type of volcano shown is only one possible example.


(2) When the volcano stopped its activity, the erosion of the rocks began.

(3) Loose material and later also the rocks surrounding the vent were crushed and finally transported away by water.

(4) The rock of the vent is dense and hard, so that it resists weathering for a long time. It forms the elevated rocks of the geotope today.

Source: Daniel Korb

Looking for clues

What is it about the Totenkoeppel that makes it historically so interesting?

What is it about rest and supply places as well as cult and sacred sites?

Why did Scottish and Irish monks settle on the so-called Etichesberg?

An investigation.


Download "Der Meicheser Totenkoeppel (vormals: "Etichesberg") und seine Kirche (2009, only available in German)


Source: Helmut Volz, Fulda (2009)

Location, reachability & accessibility

The Totenkoeppel is located a few hundred metres south of Meiches and can be reached via a narrow road.

  • GPS N 50°61'34,70'' E 90°.25'97,94''
  • UTM 32 U 518362/5606897

"With a telescope on the Totenkoeppel another geotope upgraded"


To the press article (pdf Download)



  • Ehrenberg, K.-H. & Hickethier, H. (1985). Die Basaltbasis im Vogelsberg. Schollenbau und Hinweise zur Entwicklung der vulkanischen Abfolge. Geol. Jb. Hessen (113), 97–135.
  • Reischmann, T. & Schraft, A. (2009). Der Vogelsberg: Geotope im größten Vulkangebiet Mitteleuropas. Hessisches Landesamt für Naturschutz, Umwelt und Geologie. Wiesbaden.