You'd think that the residents here would be sitting on a fortune, however, that isn't the case because the diamonds don't have much value
A quaint little town called Nördlingen, in Germany, first mentioned in records in the 9th Century AD, was constructed with stones that seemed to shimmer. According to BBC, the buildings in Nördlingen are studded with millions of diamonds. It's really hard to believe that the peaceful picture the town now paints is a result of a rather violent calamity. Nearly 15 million years ago, an asteroid struck this area of Bavaria, leaving behind a massive depression that stretches more than nine miles across the German countryside, and this is exactly where Nördlingen is nestled, reports Smithsonian Magazine.
The aftermath of the crash led to the creation of suevite, a rock formed due to the impact. This rock is commonly known to contain glass, crystal, and in this case, diamonds. According to a study, graphite-bearing gneiss rocks in the region formed diamonds due to the intensity of pressure caused by the force of the meteorite crash. "We assume that the asteroid was a stony one with a weight of [approximately] three billion tons," says Gisela Pösges, a geologist and deputy director of the Ries Crater Museum in Nördlingen. "[We think that] the asteroid was a similar size to the town of Nördlingen, about one kilometer (less than three-quarters of a mile) across."
Around 898 A.D, the first settlers in the town started building a city with whatever resources they had available, in this case, chunks of suevite. In fact, the town's protective wall was constructed during the middle age, and even today, it stands tall. In 2017, when BBC writer Matthew Vickery experienced the diamond-studded town himself. "The entire tower is made out of suevite stone, and enclosed in it are small diamonds," Horst Lenner, the tower watchman, told Vickery. "Luckily they’re very, very small, otherwise the tower would've been taken down a long time ago," he joked.
Even the town's church, St Georgs is embedded with diamonds. This could have been a heist of epic proportions, but that was not meant to be as the diamonds are so tiny that they carry no value. "Our church, St. Georgs, is made of suevite [and contains] about 5,000 carats of diamonds," Pösges says. "But they’re so tiny—the [largest] ones are 0.3 mm—that they have no economic value, only scientific value. You can observe the diamonds only with a microscope." When the town was being constructed, the locals had no idea that the rocks were a result of the asteroid. Apparently, for centuries, locals believed that the massive depression in which the town is built was actually a volcanic crater. “The school books taught that the land was the way it was because of a volcano," Nördlingen resident Roswitha Feil said. "Then it was discovered that it was from an asteroid, and they had to change all the school books."
This belief held true until the 1960s when geologists Eugene Shoemaker confirmed that the crater was the result of an asteroid. It took another decade for scientists to discover the diamonds and confirm that the crater had more than 72,000 tons of the gemstone, as per The New Scientist. "Everything within the city wall is made from that asteroid impact rock," said Feil. This is what makes the town like no other on Earth! "It’s quite unique," said Dr. Stefan Hölzl, geologist and director of the RiesKrater Museum. Even though the city sees visitors from all over the world, it is nothing out of the ordinary for the people who live there. "We see it every day, for us, it's nothing special," said one woman.