by Florian D. Schneider
‘Annihilation’ is a contemplation at the ground of Messel Pit, an excavated 50 Mio year old Mar volcano. After the eruption, it formed a lake and a swamp, and layers of animals and plants have been preserved and fossilised into the shale. The pit has been mined for the shale and was planned to be used as a landfill in the 1980ies.
I’m sitting on the foundation for the landfill, a bed of gravel to allow fluids from the trash seep into the ground.
In the back, you see the dumps of a nearby factory for building materials already spilling over the edges of the pit.
Total annihilation of the past 50 million year history in the blink of an eye.
Fortunately, UNESCO has declared the Messel pit a world heritage site stopping all plans for the landfill. Thanks to the protection status, the site is now a renowned fossil site for the early Eocene of global importance. Findings include the complete specimens of Propalaeotherium (an early horse ancestor) and ‘Ida’ (Darwinius masillae) an lemur-like early primate.