Amongst others in Rhineland at the end of the tertiary developed lignite deposits from ferns and tree-ferns. When such plants died, their biomass was deposited in anaerobic aquatic environments where low oxygen levels prevented their decay and oxidation and peat was formed. This organic matter was covered by sediments and metamorphosed to lignite by heat and pressure.
Lignite in opposite to hard coal can be found near earth surface.
One of the deposits is the opencast mine Inden, that was activated in 1985. It has an area of about 4500 hectares.
The output of 20-25 million tons lignite produces approximately 80-85 cubic meters overburden annually (the ratio between overburden and lignite is 3,3 : 1). There are 4 bucket-wheel excavators in the mine (capacity 110.000 m³ / day). Overburden and loess are shifted to the depleted sections of the opencast mine.
4900 hectares have been used until 2003. The recultivation comprises 3530 hectares.
At the coordinates above you find a viewpoint. Next to it you can find a chapel with a little park. The chapel and the park shall be reminder of the demolished village "Lohn". The park represents the structure of the village. Go to there and take a camera and a binocular with you. To log this earthcache, take a photo of you in front of the opencast mine and the information table. If you are there without any help, you can take a photo of your GPSr with readable coordinates instead.
In order to get further information, visit the information center at castle Paffendorf (N 50° 57.847 E 006° 36.527). Interesting brochures can be found here (Sorry, only available in german language).