There Are 72,000 Tons of Diamonds Hiding Throughout This Town in Germany

iStock.com/Kharichkina
iStock.com/Kharichkina

The tiny town of Nördlingen, in the German state of Bavaria, has a quaint kind of storybook charm about it. But what's hiding in the village's buildings and foundation might make it one of the glitziest places on Earth: Nördlingen is bejeweled with the equivalent of 72,000 tons of diamonds, according to Smithsonian.

The diamonds, which are strewn throughout Nördlingen, aren't just any gemstones either; they formed roughly 15 million years ago, when an asteroid traveling at a speed of approximately 15.5 miles per second struck the Earth. Geologists estimate that the space rock measured about one kilometer wide (the same size as modern-day Nördlingen) and weighed close to 3 billion tons. Upon making contact, it created intense heat and pressure—enough to produce a coarse-grained rock called suevite, which consists of glass, crystals, and diamonds.

When settlers arrived at the site millions of years later in 898 CE, they had no idea they were building their homes and businesses on land that had the highest diamond concentration of any place on Earth, as the diamonds scattered throughout the area were too small to see with the naked eye. For years, Nördlingen locals assumed the crater's origin was volcanic. It wasn't until the 1960s that it was confirmed to have come from an asteroid.

Not knowing any better, residents used the suevite as a building material to construct their town. As a result, many of Nördlingen's most famous structures—including St. George's Church and a protective perimeter wall leftover from the Middle Ages—have a high carat value.

Today, residents of Nördlingen know they're living atop tons of diamonds, but they're not about to tear apart their town to sell off the materials. The diamonds in suevite are tiny—less than 0.2mm across—and are therefore practically worthless, even in such high concentrations. But the German town has found different ways to profit from their unusual claim to fame. Tourists come from around the world to appreciate Nördlingen's glimmering architecture and tour the Ries Crater Museum, which displays local samples and those from other craters around the world.

[h/t Smithsonian]

How to See a Dozen Presidential Homes in One Road Trip for Less Than $220

George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate
George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate
Drew Angerer, Getty Images

Do you have a passion for travel, American history, and presidential trivia? If so, you may want to start packing your bags now. Wanderu has mapped out three separate road trips that show history buffs how they can visit more than 20 presidential homes and estates across the country, should they choose to combine all three excursions into one mega-trip.

The travel platform has already done the research and legwork, identifying the buses and trains that connect each city on the itinerary, as well as the cost of each. Fortunately, these trips are friendly on the wallet. Transportation would cost about $218 for the East Coast trip, which has the most jam-packed itinerary of the three. The California trip would cost about $93 (unless you choose to drive, which is doable), and a third itinerary that covers the Midwest—it starts in Ohio, dips into Kentucky, and then ends in Iowa—would set you back some $200.

Some of the presidential pads on the list—like George Washington's Mount Vernon home and Ulysses S. Grant's Illinois home—can be toured. Others are private, and thus best admired from a distance. Check out the itineraries below, and visit Wanderu's website for more details.

The East Coast itinerary:
1. Concord, New Hampshire: The Pierce Manse, home of Franklin Pierce
2. Boston: John F. Kennedy's Brookline birth home
3. Hyannis, Massachusetts: The Kennedy Compound, which served as the headquarters of JFK's 1960 presidential campaign
4. Newport, Rhode Island: The Eisenhower House (Bonus: The Hammersmith Farm where JFK and Jackie got married is just down the road)
5. New York City: The Chester A. Arthur House
6. Princeton, New Jersey: The Westland Mansion, where Grover Cleveland lived
7. Lancaster, Pennsylvania: Wheatland, where James Buchanan lived
8. Philadelphia: The Deshler-Morris House, where George Washington camped out when the city was hit with a yellow fever epidemic
9. Washington, D.C.: President Lincoln's Cottage
10. Washington, D.C.: The Woodley Mansion, where both Grover Cleveland and Martin Van Buren lived at different times
11. Alexandria, Virginia: Mt. Vernon, George Washington's estate
12. Charlottesville, Virginia: Monticello, the home Thomas Jefferson designed (and the building on the back of the nickel)

The Midwest itinerary:
1. Canton, Ohio: The William McKinley Library & Museum, where McKinley is entombed in a marble sarcophagus
2. Cincinnati, Ohio: The William Howard Taft Historical Site, which encompasses his former home
3. Louisville, Kentucky: The Zachary Taylor House
4. Indianapolis: The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, which includes the president's former home
5. Chicago: Barack Obama's Hyde Park Residence
6. Galena, Illinois: The Ulysses S. Grant Home
7. West Branch, Iowa (near Iowa City): The Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, which includes the cottage where Hoover was born and the blacksmith shop where his father worked

The California itinerary:
1. Los Angeles: Nixon's former home on Whittier Boulevard
2. Los Angeles: Reagan's Westwood Residence
3. Santa Barbara: Rancho del Cielo, where Reagan often vacationed
4. San Jose: The Lou Henry and Herbert Hoover House

This Travel Mug Lets You Alternate Between Sipping Cold Water and Hot Coffee

H2Joe, Kickstarter

You no longer have to choose between your health and your sanity when deciding what to drink in the morning. H2Joe, a water bottle-travel mug hybrid currently raising funds on Kickstarter, lets you drink water and coffee from the same bottle while keeping both liquids separate at their ideal temperatures all day.

A cross-section of the H2Joe water/coffee bottle
H2Joe

Though it looks like a single container, H2Joe is really two vessels in one. The bottom portion is a double-walled, stainless steel travel mug designed for 12 ounces of hot coffee or tea. The top is the 12-ounce reusable water bottle. The H2Joe's triple-insulated design keeps water cool for up to eight hours at a time and the coffee hot for up to six hours, even when these liquids are stored just a few centimeters away from each other at vastly different temperatures.

The lid has one opening for each container: a spout with a screw cap for water and a flip top for hot liquids like coffee and tea. The lid and bottom mug twist off, making each vessel east to refill, and all the components are dishwasher-safe.

Water and coffee pour out of the H2Joe's lid
H2Joe

After launching a crowdfunding campaign on February 12, H2Joe reached its goal of $20,000 in just two hours. Hikers, commuters, and anyone else who's looking to consolidate the travel containers in their life have until March 15 to reserve a bottle on Kickstarter. H2Joe bottles are available for pledges of $36 or more, with shipping set for October 2019.

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