The Marguareis Massif, an open book on the history of the Earth

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The westernmost sector of the Ligurian Alps consists of rocks of very different age, origin and nature that are spectacularly exposed in the Marguareis Massif area, protected by the Marguareis Natural Park. These rocks give rise to a peculiar and extremely varied landscape.

Most of the rocks outcropping in the Marguareis Massif are sedimentary rocks, deriving fromcompaction and cementation of ancient sediments. Their observation allows to reconstructthe sedimentary paleoenvironments, and their vertical succession, one bed over the other, testifies the evolution and transformation of landscape during the geological eras.

Sedimentary rocks are therefore valuable natural archives and represent an open book on the geological past. Its pages, once deciphered, reveal all the secrets of the history of our planet and of its physical, chemical and biological evolution.

Marguareis rocks tell us a long and articulated (complex) history that began more than 250 million years ago on a continent covered by large lava flows, continued with the opening of a new ocean, the Tethys , and ended with its closure and subsequent collision of the European and African continental plates that led to the formation and uplift of the Alps.

Along the proposed geological trails the visitor can understand when and in which environment the rocks of the mountains were formed, how and when they were transformed, deformed and uplifted giving rise to the Alps, and when and how they were shaped and eroded creating the present landscape.

What can be observed:

  • Volcanic rocks. The oldest rocks of the Marguareis massif (more than 250 million years) are rhyolites, derived fromthe cooling of volcanic flows in a subaerial setting.
  • Sedimentary rocks. The Marguareis massif offers a rare richness of sedimentary rocks, which allows the most fascinating travel inside different environments of the past, from quartz-rich sediments deposited by rivers and streams to carbonate deposits formed in tropical shallow water or in hundreds of meters deep marine settings.
  • Fossils. Ammonites, corals, foraminifera and other fossils permit to date rocks and to tell the evolution of life in the last 200 million years.
  • Deformed rocks. Folds, faults and fractures explain how you can find at more than 2,000 meters of altitude rocks originated frommarine sediments…

Image gallery (click to enlarge)

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