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National Nature Reserve SOOS

17.07.2018
National Nature Reserve SOOS
It is one of the country´s most important nature reserves as well as unique locality of European importance.

In the German dialect formerly spoken in Cheb, the word "soos" means "swamp", indicating what is typical for this region. 

The reserve consists of extensive peat bogs, mineral fountains with mineral water springs, carbon dioxide outlets (CO2), vast water-covered areas, and small water streams.

On the bottom of a dried-out saline lake runs an educational trail. It takes about two hours to walk the length of the trail, but you may just as well spend a whole day on this 1.2 km trail, as there is really a lot to see, photograph, and observe.

Thanks to the information boards posted along the trail, you can follow the development of the geological activity that has been and is still taking place. You will also learn about the profile of the Soos basin and about the mofettas and fauna in this nature reserve.

In the central part of the reserve you will find a true European rarity – it is a remarkable deposit of mineral-salt diatomite called kieselguhr shield. Where did it come from? It is formed of residue algae and diatomaceous species that used to live in the local lake in the past and formed an almost 7-meter-thick layer of kieselguhr, which is considered quite unique in Europe.

Nowadays, the former lake has become a vast peat moss swamp with a multitude of small craters that act as outlets for carbon dioxide. When dry, one can hear the leaking gas escaping from the funnel-shaped outlets, i.e., mofettas; when there is enough water, these outlets form bubbles of salty water and mud. This phenomenon is a manifestation of bygone volcanic activity.

The Soos reserve is like a peculiar moon-like landscape marked by erosion and covered with layers of white and yellow mineral salts. Despite these conditions, many wetland and salt-loving plants thrive in this reserve. In fact, one would expect to find some of the species somewhere on the seashore. The reserve is a paradise for aquatic birds and amphibians, many of them being protected as endangered species.

Soos is not open all year round – the visiting season is from mid-March to mid-November.

Will you be able to see Soos this year in the fall or plan your visit for next spring?