Aqua Monaco Mineral Water

At the end of the last ice age, about 10,000 years ago, clay and rock formed the Munich gravel plain. This natural protective layer still protects the untouched glacial water from man-made impurities at great depth. The Aqua Monaco mineral water is extracted from a 150 metre deep mineral spring from the ice age water reservoir 20 km away from Marienplatz. On site, our mineral water is bottled climate-neutrally exclusively in reusable glass bottles - glass protects quality and taste best. With a spring pH value of 7.9, it is in the optimal, slightly alkaline range and, thanks to its balanced mineralisation and pure taste, is ideal as a food and wine companion.
Every bottle of Aqua Monaco mineral water sold enables us to support charitable projects in the social, cultural and ecological fields.
Thousands of years ago pure glacier ice - today best mineral water.

The Munich gravel plain

Throughout the last four ice ages, over a period of 780,000 years, the deposits of the glaciers of the Ice Age formed the Munich gravel plain and with it a large underground water reservoir. The gravel plain forms a large triangle around Munich, which is divided into two roughly equal halves by the Isar river.

At the end of the respective ice ages, the Alpine ice stream network and its foreland glaciers, whose foothills extended over the area of present-day Munich, melted again.  The glaciers transported debris and water masses into the plains around Munich. Here the debris was deposited while the water seeped away. The layers of rock reach deep into the earth. Between the sediments and mixed into the gravel, the glacier water still lies today.

The 640,000-year-old solid layer at the very bottom is from the oldest of the four ice ages, above it lies scree of varying looseness from the three younger ones. In between there are thinner layers of clay, which was deposited during the warm periods. The rock layers from the four ice ages act as a natural protection and filter.

The deep water of the ice age has been like this for thousands of years before man-made impurities protected. To this day, the pollution and radiation exposure is below the detection limit and is regularly checked by independent institutes. Precipitation gives the prehistoric water masses a new and naturally filtered inflow: rain that falls today will have reached this water reservoir in about 5,000 years. Enriched with the various minerals from the rock that the water passes through on its way. 

The regeneration of the water resources of the Munich gravel plain thus began with the rains thousands of years ago and continues continuously.

Questions about the gravel level

Prof. Dr. Wilfried Hagg is a glaciologist and expert in hydrology and the physical geography of high mountains. We asked the head of the geological collection of the Munich University of Applied Sciences questions about the Munich gravel plain and the underlying Aqua Monaco mineral water.

How was the Munich gravel plain created?

The Munich gravel plain was deposited by the melt waters of the Isar Loisach Glacier and the Inn Chiemsee Glacier during several ice ages, with the uppermost layer being formed during the last ice age (Würm, ended 10,000 years ago). Experts speak of a glaziofluvial sediment. Because the stones from the Alps had a relatively short distance to travel, they are mostly gravel, which by definition have a diameter of 2 mm to 6.3 cm and which, due to rolling transport in flowing water, have had their edges chipped off and are therefore roundish.

What was life like here at the end of the ice ages?

During the ice ages, a tundra climate prevailed in the Alpine foreland. Because it was too cold for tree growth, a cold steppe was formed over permafrost soil, similar to what we see today in the Canadian or Russian Arctic. Plants from subpolar regions and from Central Asia also immigrated, the edelweiss is a well-known example of an ice-age immigrant. Conspicuous animals were large mammals like mammoth, woolly rhinoceros or cave bear.

What are the characteristics of the landscapes surrounding us that were created by the ice ages?

The ice ages have created typical land forms. The foreland glaciers have created large depressions, so-called tongue basins. These are surrounded by forested ridges, the moraines, and are often filled with lakes.

What is the difference between deep water and spring water from the mountains?

Deep water forms much more slowly and therefore has a longer residence time in the underground. As a result, it tends to be well purified of pollutants and lower in oxygen than near-surface spring water.

Many find it difficult to distinguish between tap water and Aqua Monaco mineral water. What is the difference in quality here?

In general, it can be said that Munich tap water is a mixture of various springs in the Mangfall and Loisach valleys and flows through a pipeline and storage system to Munich and into households. Aqua Monaco mineral water, on the other hand, comes from one source and is extracted and bottled directly on site. Mineral water is also the most strictly controlled foodstuff in Germany.

How exactly does the filtering of the water through the rock layers work?

When the water seeps through the fine pores of the loose rock, these act as a mechanical filter in which even very small particles of dirt and pollutants are trapped as if in a sieve. But dissolved or gaseous pollutants can also be bound on the surfaces of certain rock particles, so-called ion exchangers.

Is the water supply finite?

In the case of groundwater resources, a balance can be drawn between abstraction (by humans and plants) and recharge (by infiltration). Sustainable use means that no more is extracted than is newly formed. If abstraction is greater, the volume of the reservoir decreases and sooner or later it will dry out. The withdrawal by Aqua Monaco mineral water is sustainable, tested by a monthly resting water level test: the water level must not drop while the pump is running at full speed.

Prof. Dr. Wilfried Hagg

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