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The Hole of Sovaglia

The depths of Monte Generoso

Svizzera, Cantone Ticino, ROVIO

Positioning

Prato di Pioda

COORDINATES
(CH 1903) E   721460 N   88125 H   680.0
(WGS 84) Long.   9.005 Lat.   45.934
GENERAL EVALUATION
DIFFICULTY E-T2/T3
SCIENTIFIC INTEREST PRIMARY:
Karst morphology, Hydrogeology

SECONDARY:
Structural geology
OTHER INTERESTS
Didactic
GEOSITE   HYDROLOGICAL/HYDROGEOLOGICAL - sources

DESCRIPTION

The Hole of Sovaglia looks like an oval hole about two metres in diameter, dug at the base of the slopes of Monte Generoso, from which flow the waters which feed the river valley of the same name. The interest of this geological site goes well beyond the details visible to the passerby. In fact, the spring is actually the entrance to a cave in which flows water which has seeped in hundred of metres upstream.

INSIGHT

The Hole of Sovaglia was fully developed from Moltrasio limestone deposited in the deep sea of the Generoso Basin during the Early Jurassic Age. Along with the alpine orogenesis the Generoso massif has also undergone vertical movements and complex bending of sedimentary layers until reaching its current structure. The slow deformation has been accompanied by the formation of faults and breaks, and it is along these fractures that the underground karst network, which makes up part of the Hole of Sovaglia, has developed. In recent underwater explorations, cavers have advanced 500 metres along the Hole to a depth of 61 meters.

CURIOSITIES

In 1961, 14 caves with a total of 506 meters of tunnels were known to exist within the Monte Generoso massif. In 2006 the number had risen to 92 caves with a total of 12,880 metres of development.
scala temporale periodi geologici

HOW TO REACH THE SITE

Rovio is reached by ascending from Melano, a village situated on the banks of Lake Lugano and midway between exits 51 and 52 of the A2 motorway.

USEFUL INFORMATION FOR THE VISIT

From Piazza di Rovio, follow the lane through the village and go up for 20 minutes to Prato di Pioda. Just above, a clearly-indicated fork in the road leads to the Hole of Sovaglia.

TO LEARN MORE

BIANCHI-DEMICHELI F. & OPPIZZI N. (2006): Grotte, sorgenti e abissi del Monte Generoso, Memorie della Società Ticinese di Scienze Naturali, Museo cantonale di storia naturale, volume 8, 110 pp.
COTTI G. et al. (1990): Introduzione al paesaggio naturale del Cantone Ticino, Vol. 1: Le componenti naturali, Bellinzona, 484 pp.
DECUYPER H. & ANTOGNINI M. (2008): Magie di pietra, Paesaggi geologici del Ticino, Armando Dadò Editore, Locarno, 159 pp.

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Programma di cooperazione transfrontaliera Italia - Svizzera 2007 - 2013 Progetto cofinanziato dal Fondo Europeo Sviluppo Regionale (FESR)
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