Exposed by the extraction of sand, gravel and basalt, Scheibenberg’s imposing basalt columns, measuring up to 30 metres high, were a reference point in the Neptunist-Plutonist controversy about the formation of the Earth. The controversy took place around 1800 between the Freiberg scholar A. G. Werner (1749-1817) and the Scottish geologist J. Hutton (1726-1797). The columns had an important influence worldwide on the emergence of geology as a science and the development of mining in the Erzgebirge.