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The Breggia Gorge

A petrified ocean

Svizzera, Cantone Ticino, CASTEL SAN PIETRO

Svizzera, Cantone Ticino, BALERNA

Svizzera, Cantone Ticino, MORBIO INFERIORE

Svizzera, Cantone Ticino, BREGGIA

Positioning

Ghitello

COORDINATES
(CH 1903) E   722170 N   78740 H   270.0
(WGS 84) Long.   9.011 Lat.   45.849
GENERAL EVALUATION
DIFFICULTY T-T1
SCIENTIFIC INTEREST PRIMARY:
Stratigraphie, Sedimentology, Paleontology

SECONDARY:
Geo-mining, Hydromorphologie, Structural geology, Karst morphology, Glacial morphology
OTHER INTERESTS Ethnographical, Naturalistic, Didactic, Historical
Archaeological
GEOSITE   GEOLOGICAL - stratigraphy

DESCRIPTION

The Breggia River, along a stretch of 1.5 kilometres between Morbio Superiore and Chiasso, has carved a deep gorge, uncovering a series of rocks which settled on the bed of the Tethys Ocean during the period extending from the Jurassic to the Cretaceous. This first geopark in Switzerland allows us a detailed look at the geological events of the past 200 million years. The area has an information trail supported by a comprehensive geological guide.

INSIGHT

Scientific interest in the Breggia Gorge Park has been abundantly documented. Its world-class value is due to the stratigraphic sequence which, in an exemplary manner, connects geological events in the period between the Jurassic and the Cretaceous. In addition, the geological profile of the Breggia Gorge is unique in all of the Alps. From sedimentological and paleontological analysis of the various types of rock, it has been traced back to paleogeographic, climatic and biological events characteristic of the various stages of such formations. The depth of the water, the temperature, and the types of life forms present through the identification of fossil remains are some of the characteristics which have allowed an understanding of the environment during various eras, and the comparison of this understanding with the theory of continental drift with respect to the last 200 million years of history of this alpine region.

CURIOSITIES

It is thought that for many centuries the Farügin Bridge was one of the few places, if not the only one, where the Breggia River could be crossed. Before the restoration of the bridge, a nearby stretch of paved pathway was detected, beside which a small guardhouse could also be found. The discovery of ancient coins scattered about suggests that this was a toll bridge.
scala temporale periodi geologici

HOW TO REACH THE SITE

Along the A2 motorway, exit at Chiasso (exit 53) and then head in the direction of Balerna and Breggia Gorge Park where you will see the signs leading to the entrance.

USEFUL INFORMATION FOR THE VISIT

The main starting point is located at the Ghitello Mill (Mulino del Ghitello).

TO LEARN MORE

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.
OPPIZZI P. & SPINEDI F. (2007): Il parco delle Gole della Breggia. Memorie della Società Ticinese di Scienze Naturali, Museo cantonale di storia naturale, Vol. 9, 189 pp.
STOCKAR R. (2003): Guida geologica al Parco delle Gole della Breggia. Parco delle Gole della Breggia, Morbio Inferiore, 119 pp.
Guida Parco delle Gole della Breggia. Pieghevole disponibile presso il Mulino del Ghitello.

www.parcobreggia.ch

project | contacts | links | partners
Programma di cooperazione transfrontaliera Italia - Svizzera 2007 - 2013 Progetto cofinanziato dal Fondo Europeo Sviluppo Regionale (FESR)
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