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Wolf Mine, Herdorf, Siegerland, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 50° 46' 51'' North , 7° 57' 52'' East
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): 50.78083,7.96444
Köppen climate type:Cfb : Temperate oceanic climate
Name(s) in local language(s):Grube Wolf, Herdorf, Siegerland, Rheinland-Pfalz, Deutschland

The Wolf mine belongs to the Siegerland siderite district where mining goes back to celtic times. The ore of this district is primarily of sideritic type with more or less developed oxidation zones where limonite/goethite is prevalent. Also Pb, Zn, Cu and Ag as well as Co and Ni minerals occurred frequently - especially at the upper levels - and mostly have been mined at the beginning of modern mining. Mineralization is of hydrothermal origin and developed as veins in Devonian sedimentary rocks (shales, sand- and siltstone) of the Rheinisches Schiefergebirge. The Wolf mine was characterized by a deeply developed oxidation zone (to a depth of almost 400 m), probably due to the influence of the intrusion of tertiary basaltic melts in the neighborhood which provided thermal energy and fluid flow favouring the alteration of the siderite veins. The rhodochrosite finds were restricted to the limonitic ores of the oxidation zone. Towards depth the ore became sideritic with quartz gangue and towards the roots of the veins the quartz content increased.

The Wolf mine is one of the younger mines of the district. Mining started about 1870 when limonite ore was extracted via adits. In 1890 the Reifenrath brothers from Neunkirchen acquired the mine and sank a shaft. Having reached a depth of 300 m the mine was sold in 1917 to Krupp, Essen and modernized by the installation of new steam machines for haulage. The water pumps were fitted with electric power supply. Consequently the extraction tonnage increased to 4,000 - 5,000 tonnes per month. During the 1920s 200 to 250 miners worked at the mine. In 1925 the mining stopped due to economic reasons. The surface installations were demolished and the mine was flooded. 10 years later the reopening was prepared by pumping out the mine and the building of new surface installations including an electric hauling machine and a cableway to transport the ore to the central processing plant at the Füsseberg mine in Daaden-Biersdorf. On 1st of may 1937 the mine was then reopened again. With an extraction of 84,000 tonnes of ore the year 1944 marks the best yield in the history of the mine. But in 1945 the mine closed again due to World War II impact and the mine was flooded again. In 1953/54 the last mining period at the Wolf mine started: it then was consolidated with the San Fernando, Friedrich-Wilhelm, Füsseberg and Große Burg mines to a combined mining complex. The mined ore was transported underground to the San Fernando mine and hauled and processed there. Finally in 1962 the mine was completely closed.

Rhodochrosite from the Wolf mine is probably one of the best known mineral species from Germany in the world. The specimens from there are considered to be the best of Europe and they are present in museums and collections worldwide. Finds were restricted to the active mining period so nowadays specimens from there are highly sought after and increasing in value.
The rhodochrosite varies in colour from salmon pinkish to raspberry pink or orange-reddish to brownish. Typically it is associated with limonitic matrix where it forms crystals and aggregates in vugs of the ore. The habit varies from single millet-seed shaped crystals to star or hedgehog shaped aggregates of those, barrel and cone shaped crystals as well as sheave-like aggregates. Most of the crystals are built by numerous small steep scalenohedral subindividues. The crystals reach up to about 2 cm size, larger crystals have been extremely rare. The majority of the crystallized samples show crystal sizes from a few mm to about 1 cm. Also botroydal and spherical aggregates and coatings were common. The aggregates often show a 'raspberry' like habit ('Himbeerspat' - raspberry spar - Breithaupt, 1832). The most beautiful specimens are of a deep orange-pink colour, they are translucent and provide a great contrast to the limonite matrix. Combo specimens of rhodochrosite with malachite-coated crystals of native copper (reaching sizes of up to about 3 cm) on matrix are the most interesting association of the Wolf mine. The best and richest specimens were found in a zone around the 350 m level.

Mineral List

20 valid minerals.

Regional Geology

This geological map and associated information on rock units at or nearby to the coordinates given for this locality is based on relatively small scale geological maps provided by various national Geological Surveys. This does not necessarily represent the complete geology at this locality but it gives a background for the region in which it is found.

Click on geological units on the map for more information. Click here to view full-screen map on

Early Devonian
393.3 - 419.2 Ma

ID: 2608911

Age: Early Devonian (393.3 - 419.2 Ma)

Description: marine deposits

Lithology: Argillaceous shale and/or slate, graywacke, sandstone

Reference: Toloczyki, M., P. Trurnit, A. Voges, H. Wittekindt, A. Zitzmann. Geological Map of Germany 1:M. Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe. [94]

Data and map coding provided by, used under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License

This page contains all mineral locality references listed on This does not claim to be a complete list. If you know of more minerals from this site, please register so you can add to our database. This locality information is for reference purposes only. You should never attempt to visit any sites listed in without first ensuring that you have the permission of the land and/or mineral rights holders for access and that you are aware of all safety precautions necessary.


Sort by Year (asc) | by Year (desc) | by Author (A-Z) | by Author (Z-A)
- A. Hoffmann (1964): Beschreibung rheinland-pfälzischer Bergamtsbezirke - Band 1 Bergamtsbezirk Betzdorf. - Verlag Glückauf, Essen.
- H.-G. Koch (1982): Erzväter - Berg- und Hüttenleute im Siegerland und Westerwald. - Verlag Gudrun Koch, Siegen.
- W. Richartz (1979): Rhodochrosit von der Grube Wolf. - LAPIS, Vol. 4, Nr. 10, 12-16.
- R. Bode (1980): Die Grube Wolf in Herdorf, Siegerland. - Emser Hefte 3, 6-35.
- M. Reinhardt, J.M. Henrich (2005): Die Grube Wolf in Herdorf. - Mineralien-Welt 16 (5), 14-37.

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