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Sandstones of the Val Grande

A walk in the Miocene Sea

Italia, Regione Lombardia, provincia di Como, Montano Lucino

Positioning

Trivino

COORDINATES
(CH 1903) E   724052 N   73329 H   360.0
(WGS 84) Long.   9.034 Lat.   45.800
GENERAL EVALUATION
DIFFICULTY E-T2/T3
SCIENTIFIC INTEREST PRIMARY:
Stratigraphie

SECONDARY:
Hydromorphologie, Structural geology, Paleontology
OTHER INTERESTS
Hiking
GEOSITE   GEOLOGICAL - stratigraphy

DESCRIPTION

The streams between Villaguardia and San Fermo della Battaglia, right bank tributaries of the river Seveso, dig deep gorges into a succession of rocks called the “Gruppo della Gonfolite Lombarda”. The most fascinating example is the Val Grande, where erosion has revealed a canyon carved into the geological formation known as the “Sandstones of the Val Grande”. This rock stems from a complex system of sandy submarine deposits formed in the deep sea which covered the area of Como in the Burdigalian Era (Early Miocene). It therefore consists mainly of cemented sands, but often more coarse (conglomerate) or finer (pelite) intervals may be seen. In these finer intervals there is an abundance of fossil traces of ancient organisms which lived on the sea floor, especially shellfish and sea urchins.

INSIGHT

The Sandstone of the Val Grande emerges in a band oriented northwest-southeast, between the inhabited areas of Parè and Grandate. In the Burdigalian Era (Early Miocene), a series of sandy submarine deposits were formed, caused by currents flowing from north to northwest. The predominant lithology is that of massive sandstones, in metric benches, often medium- to coarse-grained. The benches can have complete direct gradation, with thin laminations towards the top of the layer, or may be truncated. There are also conglomerate and pelite levels, often with traces of bioturbation and a well-represented fauna of molluscs and echinoidea. More generally, this geological formation belongs to the Gonfolite Lombard Group, a succession of marine conglomerates, sandstones, and marls, which forms the backbone of the hills between Como and Varese. Above and below, and in partial eteropia, the Sandstones of the Val Grande pass respectively to the conglomerates of Lucino, and to the pelites of Prestino.

CURIOSITIES

In the vicinity of Montano Lucino there is the “Green Route”, a tour of up to 12 kilometres with starting and finishing points in different parts of the town. Along this route you may visit places of relevant environmental, landscape, historical and archaeological interest.
scala temporale periodi geologici

HOW TO REACH THE SITE

From the center of Montano continue along Via Matteotti, then take Via Alessandro Volta. Follow the main road until you reach the village of Trivino, and leave your car there. From the town of Trivino, continue north and take the path on the right after about 250 metres.

USEFUL INFORMATION FOR THE VISIT

Descend into the valley and continue along the river downstream. After 500 metres take the path on the right.

http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gonfolite

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