Universal values | > A voyage in time
The Dolomites are nothing short of a time machine. As you wander in their midst you are thrust back into the distant past of planet Earth and encountering these geological survivors, in all their detail and variety, is indeed a unique experience.
For a full understanding of the magic of these beautiful mountains you need to take a voyage back in time, dividing your journey into six stages.
1. Ancient mountain ranges and desert plains
2. The sea encroaches
3. Tropical fossil archipelagos
4. The rising sea and tidal plains
5. Sinking, the ocean wins out
6. Alpine mountains
In the wondrous history book of these rocks, chapters 2, 3, 4 and 5 feature the presence of the sea that cradled the Dolomite regions for nigh on 200 million years. This seascape, the western gulf of the ancient Tethys Sea, has changed its appearance countless times and it is ripe for discovery.
Chapter 3 reveals the most beautiful era in the history of this part of the Triassic Tethys Sea.
Chapters 1 and 6 speak of the emerging land and mountains, revealing how aeons ago in the Permian era, the Dolomites were a mountainous region and how, after a lengthy marriage with the sea, in the Tertiary period they once again became mountains, just as they are today.
Taking on this challenge to plunge into the depths of time, the memories encapsulated in Dolomite stone tell us of those seemingly endless cycles when our planet was kneading the dough, working on the rocks to create the right conditions for the evolution of life. Without this geological heritage, we would not be who we are today.
Ancient mountains eroding and volcanic complexes
A massive arid plain
The most catastrophic mass extinction
A shallow sea
A tropical archipelago is born
An ever more varied marine environment
Volcanoes, atolls and deep waters
A new generation of atolls
The marine environment fills up
Muddy lagoons, or tidal plains
Subsidence produces narrow ocean strips
The ocean deepens and the land begins to lift
The lifting of the Dolomites
Mountains risen from the sea – today’s rock sculpture