Mindat Adventure: Swiss Alps and Lengenbach – August 2018

Mindat Adventure: Swiss Alps and Lengenbach – August 2018

Loading Map....

Date(s) - 24/08/2018 - 27/08/2018
All Day

Hotel Olympia


The most popular surname in Switzerland comes from the German word that means ‘miner’. Thus, it is no marvel that there are many geologic showplaces in the country. Let’s visit some of them!

Group: 15-20 participants

Accommodations: 3-Star hotel in the center of Zurich (Olympia House). 2 persons per room (or single room surcharge)


On the first day, we will start our program with a brief stop at the Museum of Käpfnach Coal Underground Mine in Horgen. The total length of the Käpfnach tourist mine is over 50 miles, and it is located just in the 14 km south from Zurich. It was intensely mined during The Second World War, although the brown coal of this locality contains a lot of sulphur and the the 30 cm layers are firmly contaminated by jarosite. A special train and a guide from the museum make this visit comfortable and safe if you are not suffering from claustrophobia.

The next point of our interest will be Urner Mineralien Museum in Seedorf . This is an unusual museum because all the samples of the exhibition come directly from the “strahlers,” – the swiss name for people who find, collect, sell, or donate minerals to the community. Thus, it is possible to see different specimens every season in this museum.

After dinner, we will go to the Uetliberg. This mountain is the main sightseeing platform of the city. There is
also a steel open-space tower that is 30 meters high and delta-shaped where the participants can take unforgettable photos of Zurich, the suburbs of the city, and the lake of Zurich. Dinner in a restaurant “Zeughauskeller” with local specialties will be served in the centre of Zurich.

On the second day, we will wake up early and take a cross-country intercity train ride to the Binn Valley near the border with Italy. The “Binntal” is the most interesting mineralogical place in Switzerland.

Lengenbach is the unique quarry. First of all, it is the only quarry in the world that was never been mined for industry, only for mineral collecting. Second, there are several minerals that can be found only in dolomites of this open-pit (e.g. marrite, philrothite, raberite, dalnegroite, etc.). We will collect minerals on the dumps or even in the inner part of the quarry. Our group will have a possibility to have a talk with the manager of the open-pit, and we will also planning to visit the storage in the middle of the mine, where the samples are usually prepared for selling.

Lunch will be cooked in a local restaurant in the village. After lunch, we will go to see the local museum in Binn Village with the best samples of “picasso” opriment, cafarsite, that are available in the world, and the private museum of “strahler” Andre Gorsatt. After the excursions it will be possible to buy some minerals in three mineralogical shops in Fald or Binn village.

Dinner with traditional swiss fondue will be served for the group in “Swiss Chuci” restaurant (in Zurich).

The third day will be devoted to alpine cleft mineralogy. We will take regional train, also in Chur and reach the Thusis in half an hour. The classic alpine veins of the biotite schist located closely to the Tchappina. We will buy the special permission for mineral collecting in the “Gemeidehaus” of the village. The luckiest could find the vertical veins in the horizontal shifts layers and take out the pure quartz in druses or single crystals. Some of these could be covered by chlorite. There are also calcite, adularia, baryte, ankerite, fluorapatite, etc. on this locality. Dinner with traditional swiss raclette will be served for the group in “Swiss Chuci” restaurant in Zurich.

The last day will be the most eventful. In the morning we will visit the French part of Switzerland, specifically the Bex Salt Mine. This is the biggest and most operated salt industry in Switzerland. There are several guided tours per day, and each of them starts with 1.5 km mine-subway journey to the hall, which is 400 m under the earth surface. The information about geological aspects of the deposit, methods, and technology of salt extracting will be provided by local guides and our team during the 2-2.5 hours of excursion. Then, we will go back to Zurich for lunch.

After the lunch, we will go to either the Nuclear Power Plant and Radioactive Waste Storage in the Aarau Region or to the geological museum of the ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), Focus Terra
During the excursion in Aarau, we will note that radioactivity in the modern world is not as dangerous as many people think.

We will study the basic principles of generating energy in visitor’s centre of the Nuclear Power Plant and will have a possibility to explore the real turbine and the waste storage room of the station.
Focus Terra is a modern geological museum in Zurich. It has a large collection of minerals, meteorites, jewellery, rocks, and geological equipment. For example, it has one of the best single quartz crystals in the world with inclusions of rutile, well-shaped sphalerite from Lengenbach and pure demantoid from Switzerland.



Bookings are closed for this event.