The Germanic region occupies a large part of central Europe, i.e. the area that separates the regions of Atlantic-Mediterranean Europe (very rough hills and extremely articulated coasts) from the immense Russian plain (rather soft undulations and poor relations with the sea). Its southernmost part extends as far as the northern section of the Alpine chain proper, between Lake Constance and Salzach, including the N side of the Allgäu Alps, the Bavarian Pre-Alps and SalzburgerLand.
The German territory can be schematically described as composed of three units named, from N to S, Norddeutsches Tiefenland (Germanic Lowland), Mittelgebirge (Middle Mountains) and Hochgebirge (High Mountains). The most ancient reliefs are those of the Mittelgebirge, in the central part of the territory, which date back to the first periods of the Paleozoic era. The first formation of the Rheinisches Schiefergebirge is due to the Caledonian corrugation of the Silurian period(Renano Schistoso Massif), temporarily covered by the sea in the following Devonian period. The Hercynian corrugation, which developed between Carboniferous and Permian, again led to the complete emergence of the region, which in this period reigned in a tropical climate, hot and humid, favorable to the formation of enormous forests, which however, in the alternation of emergence and submersion, were soon covered by the waters. Precisely this alternation led to the formation of large coal deposits. The Hercynian corrugation led to the raising of reliefs, according to some main alignments, which in later times the erosion has divided into numerous massifs.
According to TOP-MBA-UNIVERSITIES, the Renano Schistoso Massif is the main body of the Mittelgebirge, and the valleys of the tributaries of the Rhine divide it into numerous elongated bumps generally in a SW-NE direction. To the left of the main river are the Eifel and the Hunsrück, respectively to the N and S of the Moselle ; on the right of the Rhine, the Lahn and the Main divide the Westerwald, the Taunus and the Odenwald (always proceeding from N to S). Further to the east rises the Harz (the Hercynia Silva of the Romans, the toponym from which the corrugation took its name); west of the Harz, with a SE-NW alignment, the modest Wesergebirge and the Teutoburg Forest descend N towards the lowland. To the south, other ancient reliefs, rich in crystalline and metamorphic rock formations, are the Black Forest, which dominates the right bank of the Rhine just out of the Swiss territory with the Feldberg peak (1493 m), while the Fichtelgebirge rises to the East, the Ore Mountains and Šumava.
The beginning of the Mesozoic era saw the region subject to arid conditions, with the formation of sandstone, gypsum and salt deposits ( Buntsandstein ). The Alpine corrugation of the Cenozoic era affects only the southern extreme of the German territory, with the northern slope of the Eastern Alps: in this area the highest elevations of the Germany are reached with the 2963 m of the Zugspitze and the 2713 m of the Watzmann, peaks on which crosses the border with Austria. The Mesozoic limestone formations are intensely bent and fractured, deeply etched by Quaternary glaciers and, later, by rushing streams. The debris accumulated by these in the Swabian-Bavarian Plateau forced the Danube at a marked bend towards N. Slightly further to the West, the Jura of Swabia (in Württemberg, oriented SW-NE) and Franconia (in Bayern, directed from S to N) rose in this era. The course of the Elbe divides the Germanic Lowland into a western sector, whose affinities with the Dutch coasts are evident, and an eastern sector, which presents the characteristics of the Baltic coasts. The coasts are flat and in long stretches the tide rises for kilometers.
In the eastern sector the action of the ice cap was much more intense, accumulating a conspicuous series of moraine ridges, often preserved in distinct concentric arches of considerable height. This origin has the hills of Mecklenburg, among which there are numerous intermorenic lakes, some of which are of considerable size (the largest, Lake Müritz, reaches 110 km 2).
The northern part of Brandenburg is affected by deposits of löss and the furrows of the old valleys; between the courses of the Oder and the Bruch lies a flat region. The coasts are generally low and sandy, subject to frequent storms and storm surges; the tides of the North Sea are much more pronounced than those of the Baltic, however not modest. The major islands, a short distance from the coast, are the East Frisian in the North Sea and Rügen in the Baltic. Further off the Frisian coast, Helgoland is isolated.