Stevns Klint

If you take a closer look at Stevns Klint, you soon discover that it is built up of different layers. Each layer has its very own story. Read more

When Stevns was covered by the sea

65.5 million years ago, Stevns was covered by a deep sea. Read more

Then an asteroid hit Earth

Half of all animal species became extinct, including the dinosaurs. Read more

The geology of limestone

Sharks and sea lizards used to swim in the sea that covered Stevns Klint 66 million years ago. But then an asteroid hit Earth and a dramatic mass extinction changed life on Earth. 

The layers in Stevns Klint stem from the bottom of the deep sea that covered Northern Europe more than 65.5 million years ago. In the layers, you can find remains of the animals that lived in the sea: sea lizards and sharks, cuttlefish, fish and tiny algae. This was the time when the dry land was inhabited by dinosaurs and the air by pterosaurs.

But then a disaster struck. An asteroid smashed into Earth and more than half of all species became extinct – including the dinosaurs.

The asteroid had a diameter of 10 km and its impact caused enormous tsunamis and earthquakes. The asteroid impact also whirled up dust into the atmosphere, which settled as a blanket around Earth. The Sun's rays were unable to penetrate the dust blanket, so plants on Earth withered and the herbivores (plant eaters) did not have enough food. This meant that there was not enough food for the carnivores (meat eaters) either.

In the period before the asteroid hit Earth, volcanoes in India had been erupting. They had been spewing out poisonous gases and ashes, which had an impact on the climate on Earth.

As a consequence of the asteroid impact and the volcano eruptions, more than half of all animal species became extinct.

We know for a fact that an asteroid hit Earth because the American geologist Walter Alvarez was able to document in 1978 that there were traces of the asteroid in the thin, greyish layer of Fish Clay in Stevns Klint. 

Visit Stevns Klint

Stevns Klint is the best place in the world to see the clay layer, which tells the story of this dramatic chapter in Earth's history, and this is why Stevns Klint is a candidate for inscription on UNESCO's World Heritage List. If you want to see the Fish Clay, you should visit the village Højerup by Stevns Klint. You can also see the Fish Clay by the beach in Rødvig, which is at the southern end of Stevns Klint.

By Stevns Klint, you can see fossils of the animals that lived in the sea that covered Stevns more than 65.5 million years ago. The best places to see fossils are on the beach in Højerup and by Rødvig, but you can also find fossils in Holtug Chalk Quarry and Boesdal Limestone Quarry. Here, you will also find fossils from the time after the asteroid hit Earth. They show that life on Earth blossomed again despite the disaster that struck.