The geosites

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The 61 Geosites of the Adamello Brenta Geopark


The Geosites or geological sites are not simply true “masterpieces of nature”, but primary cultural goods that must be recognized, valued and above all protected. In the Adamello-Brenta Geopark area, there are 61 Geosites divided into 5 categories: glaciers, glacial and proglacial morphologies (landforms), karst morphologies, sites of geological significance and sites of demographic, ethnological and anthropological significance. The 61 Geosites represent the principal processes of the origin and evolution of the Geopark’s environment and they clearly record the events of the Earth’s past, including the climate history. In addition to providing the necessary data to comprehend the geological history and evolution of the Adamello Brenta Geopark, the Geosites are of great interest not only in terms of landscape, geodiversity and environmental education, but also in terms of tourism and economy.


The Geosites were selected and evaluated in cooperation with the Science Museum of Trento, the Geology Department of the Autonomous Province of Trento and the University of Padua.


1) GLACIERS

This category includes the most emblematic glaciers of the Adamello-Brenta Geopark. Most of them are located in the Adamello-Presanella Group, which comprises the territory of the main glaciated areas of the Geopark and some notable Alpine glaciers as well. The Geopark’s glaciers are the final residue of that massive ice mass that covered all the Alps between 18.000 and 20.000 years ago. Today, the Adamello-Brenta Nature Park Geopark includes the largest glaciated surface of the Trentino region with its 41 glaciers. Specifically, there are 17 small glaciers in the Brenta Group. The Presanella Group has seven glaciers and there are 17 glaciers in the Adamello Group on the Trentino side.


Details on the Geosites of this category are given below.


Geosite’s number

Name of Geosites

Description of Geosites

1

Agola Glacier

A small cirque glacier that extends for about 17 ha, typical example of the glaciers that exist in the Brenta Group.

Its glacial landforms - generated by the erosion and accumulation activity that characterises the glacier’s surroundings (e.g. the lateral moraines of the Little Ice Age) - are particularly spectacular and significant.

Despite the intensive glacier melting, the lack of a proglacial stream (melting water channel) stands out. In fact, the water is immediately caught by the karst circulation found in the Brenta Group.

Amola Glacier

This is the typical example of “black glacier”, which still lies near the Presanella Peak. About two-thirds of its surface is almost completely covered by debris that in some point is almost 1 m thick. In addition to slowing down the melting, this feature also permits the formation of the characteristic “glacier mushrooms”, big ice masses perched atop a thin ice support.

Lobbia Glacier

A typical plateau glacier with the radial lobes featuring icefields in the centre from which two ice lobes spread out into the valleys. The largest northern lobe goes down into the Genova Valley and the smaller one into the Fumo Valley to the south.

4

Adamello/Mandrone Glacier

It is the largest glacier of the Italian Alps (about 17 km) and the main element of the glacial system of the Adamello Group. The ice is fed directly by snowfall, while the melting ice feeds the main springs of the Sarca River.

5

Lares Glacier

The third largest glacier of the Adamello Group, covering much of the slope and bordering the Carè Alto – Crozzon di Lares dorsal. Its surface is mostly regular with a few crevassed areas. The front part of the glacier is divided in two lobes and separated by a rocky dorsal. The glacier descends to an altitude of 2,600 meters.

6

Western Nardìs Glacier

The second largest glacier of the Presanella Group, located at the beginning of the Nardis Valley. It is set in the broad cirque exposed to south-east and bounded by the Presanella and Vermiglio Peaks. The melting stream supplies the waters of the famous Nardis Waterfalls.


2) GLACIAL AND PERIGLACIAL LANDFORMES

This category includes all sites related to the glacial and periglacial processes. As for the glaciers, most of these Geosites are located in the Adamello-Presanella Group. The geological features of this area have permitted an almost perfect preservation of the glacial landforms that date back to the Late Glacial Maximum (Pleistocene – about 20.000 years ago), the successive Late Glacial expansion and lastly the Little Ice Age (ending about 1850). This fact has allowed scholars to reconstruct the paleoclimate and add significant data to climate change studies.


Details on the Geosites of this category are given below.


Geosite’s number

Name of Geosites

Description of Geosites

7

LIA Moraines of Agola Glacier

Typical moraines formed in the Little Ice Age (LIA), which ended in the mid nineteenth century. The moraines are visibly sharp-edged and particularly well preserved.

8

LIA Moraines Amola Glacier

Sharp-edged moraine ridges set on both sides of the Amola Glacier. The moraines are concrete evidence of the size and the position that the glacier reached during the LIA’s maximum extent.

9

Rock glacier Cima Laeng

This active rock glacier is a typical tongue shape set at 2,400 m a.s.l. It is located in the cirque carved on the northern slope of the Laeng Summit (Adamello Group). It features some arched wrinkles, a steep front and a well-developed lobe.

10

Rock Glacier Cima Presena

This complex rock glacier with a typical tongue shape is located in the cirque on the south-west slope of the Presena Peak. It presents some evident morphological features as sinuous wrinkles, a steep front and a well-developed and swollen lobe.

11

Rock Glacier Forcella di Marosso

An inactive rock glacier with a typical tongue shape. It is set in the cirque on the south-east side of the Marosso Mountain. There are some evident morphological features such as a steep front and a swollen lobe.

12

Rock Glacier Lago di Nambino

An inactive rock glacier sets on the slope exposed to the north. Both sinuous and arched wrinkles are clearly visible as well as the steep front, the rather sunken body, the funnel-shaped cavities and the well-developed lobe.

13

Rock Glaciers Lago Scuro

Inactive rock glaciers, tongue-shaped and with lobes. Two of them are set at the base of the slope; the third is located in the valley bottom, near Lake Scuro in the Presanella Group. They all show characteristic morphologies such as arched wrinkles, a steep front, several funnel-shaped cavities and a well-developed lobe.

14

Rock Glaciers Monte Fornace

A group of inactive rock glaciers, tongue-shaped and with lobes, located on the north-east side of the Fornace Mountain. There are some evident landforms such as arched and sinuous wrinkles, a steep front, a swollen lobe and some funnel-shaped cavities.

15

Rock Glaciers Passo del Maroccaro

Active rock glaciers, tongue-shaped and with lobes, located on the south-west slopes of the upper Genova Valley, under the Maroccaro Pass. The area presents evident landforms such as a sunken body, a steep front and a swollen lobe.

16

Rock Glacier Val d’Amola

An active rock glacier located on the right side of the Amola Valley. It consists of a single swollen debris flow, with debris flow phenomena in the front part of the scarp. This rock glacier is especially easy to reach and admire.

17

Testata della Val Genova

The head of this glacial valley preserves some of the most clear and evident landforms related to the evolution of the Lobbia and Mandrone Glaciers, which are the main and the most significant ice masses of the Adamello-Brenta Geopark. By analysing them, it is possible to reconstruct the recent geological history of this environment.

18

Val di Fumo

The classic example of the glacial valley with a typical parabolic profile, with a straight course and backs carved in the rock.


3) KARST MORPHOLOGIES

This category includes the geological aspects that represent the processes and forms created by the karst phenomena. Due to the geological and stratigraphic structure of the Geopark, these kinds of landforms are set in the carbonate massif of the Brenta Dolomites and their surroundings. The phenomena linked to surface karst action that now overlap the pre-existing glacial landforms are particularly significant. Furrowed fields, sinkholes, karst-glacial depressions are also clearly visible.

Less frequent but extremely significant are examples of hypogee cavities, with some impressively developed caves, and the karst springs that deed the spectacular waterfalls.


Details on the Geosites of this category are given below.


Geosite’s number

Name of Geosites

Description of Geosites

19

Arca di Fraporte

A wide karst cavity with noteworthy height and a spectacular natural bridge.

20

Bus de la Spia

A karst cavity active from the hydraulic point of view, meaning that this cavity empties partially and intermittently. This karst system is in close hydraulic connection with the nearby “Acquasanta” Spring and follows its flow rates.

21

Cascata del Rio Bianco

A waterfall fed by the waters of a karst spring flowing from a crevice.

22

Conca dei XII Apostoli

A glacial-karst basin with typical forms of surface karst and recent glacial deposits of the Little Ice Age.

23

Grotta del Castelletto di Mezzo

A deep cave (more than 1,000 m) with hypogeum ice. Since the late 1980s, a progressive and inexorable decrease in the ice volume has been recorded. Considering the actual climate changes, the ice will disappear in just a few decades.

24

Grotta di Aladino

A significantly deep (more than 7,000 m) and particularly noteworthy cave. It is formed in the metamorphosed limestone on contact with the Adamello batholith.

25

Grotta di Collalto

A significantly deep cave (more than 5,000 m) with ample hypogeum environments.

26

Grotta Silvia

A cave featuring large deposits of hypogeum ice.

27

Pian de la Nana

A karst glacial basin with evident surface karst (karren, sinkholes, karst crevices, dolines) and glacial modelling phenomena.

28

Plan de l’Auter

A wide karst glacial basin with evident surface karst phenomena.

29

Bus de la Neo

A wide karst cave that represents the typical snow dolines of the Grostè Plateau.

30

Pozza Tramontana

A large-sized karst glacial depression, closed on all sides.

31

Sorgenti di Vallesinella

A group of the springs that feed the “Alte di Vallesinella” Waterfalls.

57

Conca dei Lasteri Grotta dello Specchio

A karst glacial basin of about 2 km2 located on the centre-west part of the Brenta Group. The main features are karst surface landforms and three large hypnogeum cavities, among which the Grotta dello Specchio with evidence of neotectonics and fossil ice.


4) SITES OF THE GEOLOGICAL IMPORTANCE

This category includes sites spread out uniformly over the Geopark’s territory. In particular, there are some unusual sites in stratigraphic, paleonthologic, paleogeographic and geomorphologic terms. These sites are not included in the other groups mentioned above and they highlight significantly the geological processes that occurred here and contributed to the formation of the Geopark’s territory, thus describing its history and evolution in geological terms.


Details on the Geosites of this category are given below.


Geosite’s number

Name of Geosites

Description of Geosites

32

Calanchi di Tuenno

Forms of ravine erosion set in the marly soil. This is an uncommon and unusual phenomenon in the Adamello Brenta Geopark.

33

Fungo del Dos del Clamer

A small rock mushroom created by the morpho-selection process in strongly fractured limestone rock.

34

Cascata Nardìs

A spectacular waterfall that connects the lateral hanging valley and the main valley. The waterfall’s power comes from the melting Nardìs Glacier.

35

Castel Corona

A large natural niche carved into the vertical wall, in which a fortified structure from the XII century stands.

36

Finestra di Cima Vagliana

A very large natural arch located on the eastern slope of the Vagliana Peak and carved into the Calcari Grigi formation by selective erosion.

37

Forra del Limarò

A spectacular succession of the torrential gorges of various widths depending on the lithologies crossed and located between the towns of Comano Terme and Sarche. They are locally known as the Gola di Limarò and the Gola di Ponte Pià.

38

Frane del Brenta

Huge landslide deposit generally composed of large limestone blocks. They occupy much of the slope along the path that connect the Tuckett and Brentei Shelters.

39

Campanil Basso

A dolomite monolith about 250 metres high. It is a typical example of the morpho-structural evolution and very well known in the mountaineering world.

40

Giacimenti fossili della Val d’Ambiez

A fossil outcrop located north-west of the Cacciatore Shelter in the Ambiez Valley. A very rich deposit of bivalve Megalodon, often quite large, highlighted by erosion.

41

Giacimenti fossili Val Formiga

A rich fossil deposit located at 1,900 m by the entrance to the Formiga Valley, a lateral valley of the glacial-karst basin called Plan de la Nana. There are large numbers of brachypodium and cephalopodium fossils from the Lower Turcian-Aalenian era. Some of the fossils such as the Rynchonella Pellerii are typical for the Brenta Massif.

42

Lago di Tovel e foresta sommersa

A lake resulting from a landslide that caused the water to rise and cover the forest that still lies preserved on the basin bottom.

43

Circo del Monte Peller

A small glacial cirque that is particularly well preserved and modelled.

44

Paleofrane del Sasso Rosso

An exceptional and particularly well exposed example of detachment niches with a part of the great paleo landslides of the Late Cretaceous that fossilized in the sedimentary limestone-silicioclastic succession.

45

Passo del Frate

A 20-metre high rock pinnacle located near the Frate Pass into the Arnò Valley. It is carved into the metamorphosed limestone crossed by the volcanic veins subject to strong erosion. Near the veins, trenches and walkways dug during the First World War are clearly visible.

46

Sorgente e Cascata di Mezzo di Vallesinella

A group of the karst springs with a significant flow rate that feeds a series of waterfalls. Particularly interesting is the karst circulation that drains into the mid and western Brenta, where the waters emerge through layer joints.

47

Turrion Basso

An isolated and very pointed height that was structurally controlled and modelled by the glacial action in the marble limestone of the Formazione di Zu.


5) SITES OF DEMOGRAPHIC, ETHNOLOGICAL AND ANTHROPOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE

This category includes the sites where the geological and environmental characteristics have had a key role in the social, cultural and economic development of these areas. There is a special focus on locations where the “geological asset” represented a resource that in the past had an evident impact on the territory and the activities engaged in by the local population. They include ancient quarries, old mines and several buildings related to the processing of the raw ores.


Details on the Geosites of this category are given below.

 

Geosite’s number

Name of Geosites

Description of Geosites

48

Antica cava di Malga Trivena

An ancient ornamental stone quarry in the Breguzzo Valley from which marble was extracted. This marble was formed by the strong thermic alteration induced when the Adamello batholite came into contact with the carbonate rock.

49

Antica cava di Pimont

An ancient ornamental stone quarry from which the Adamello tonalite was extracted. This stone is frequently used in traditional constructions of the Rendena Valley.

50

Antica cava di Scaricle

An ancient ornamental stone quarry from which the Nero di Ragoli was extracted. This black stone is widely used to decorate churches and buildings.

51

Antiche cave della Val Algone

Ancient quartz quarries, where the mineral was extracted.

52

Antiche cave di Caderzone

Ancient quartz quarries used to supply the mineral for glass production at Giudicarie glassworks during the nineteenth century.

53

Antiche cave di Giustino

Ancient quartz quarries used to supply the mineral for glass production at Giudicarie glassworks during the nineteenth century.

54

Antiche cave Val Borzago

Ancient quartz quarries used to supply the mineral for glass production at Giudicarie glassworks during the nineteenth century.

55

Antiche miniere di pirite Val San Valentino

These ancient pirite and calcopirite mines are evidence of the past mining activity in the San Valentino Valley.

56

Sito archeologico Campo Carlo Magno

The site is located at an altitude of about 1,600 m between Campo Carlo Magno and the Mondifra Alpine cottage, where late Mesolithic finds were found.

58

Antica vetreria di Carisolo

An old crystal factory. This still well preserved industrial archaeology complex is evidence of the profitable glass manufacturing activities in the Giudicarie during the nineteenth century.

59

Antica vetreria di Tione

An old crystal factory that is evidence of the profitable glass manufacturing activities in the Giudicarie during the XIX century.

60

Antiche vetrerie di Val Algone

An old crystal factory. This still well preserved industrial archaeology complex is evidence of the profitable glass manufacturing activities in the Giudicarie during the nineteenth century.

61

Corno di Cavento

A peak of about 3,402 m in the Adamello Group; an important Austro-Hungarian stronghold during the First World War, conquered by Italian troops in 1917.

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