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Dolomites > The formation of the Dolomites > The genesis of a landscape

The genesis of a landscape - a difficult birth

The genesis of a landscape: a difficult birth280 million years ago: a difficult birth
About 280 million years ago, in the area of the western Dolomites, the earth began to crumble. Cracks formed in the hard crust and masses of lava emerged from the deep clefts, giving origin to one of the largest volcanic areas in Europe.

Today the Bolzano Quartz Porphyry Plateau, formed in only a few million years, still reaches an imposing thickness of over 2000 meters in some points. Herbivorous Pareiasauri roamed the vast plains; among the first large reptiles, they could be even three metres long. Most of these reptiles quickly became extinct.

Ortiseia leonardii belongs to the oldest conifers worldwide. It was first discovered on the Seceda and called Ortiseia, from the Ladin name of the main town in Val Gardena, Ortisei.

255 million years ago: The domain of the sea

Towards the end of the Permian, the sea was the absolute ruler in the area of today’s Dolomites, Unesco World Heritage. That lasted for more than 200 million years.

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Foto: Michael Wachtler

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