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Malenco 2011

Field trip Malenco 2011

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg

Geowissenschaftliches Institut

Leader: Prof. Reto Gieré

Duration: 7 Tage (07.09.2011 - 13.09.2011)

Subject: Val Malenco, Bergell, Upper Engadine, landslides, mineralogy, petrology, quaternary geology

Reported by Frauke Seeholzer

The excursion was led by Prof. Dr. Reto Gieré and accompanied by Wibke Kowalski.

We went by car from Freiburg via Zürich and Chur to the Chiavenna Rhine gorge. Here we visited the “Flimser landslide”. It was caused by the destabilization of the mountain sides due to the decease of the glacier at the end of the Würm glaciation. The material is predominantly composed of comminuted lime and conglomerates from Permian times. At the end of the day we went to the small village Chiareggio in northern Italy in the eastern Alps.

On the second day we visited the glacial mills near the village Chiavenna in the Upper Engadine. These mills look impressive and were formed during the last glaciation due to the run off of snow water and rocks. As a consequence round cavities were formed.

Outlook at the Monte del Forno , Cime die Vezzada in the middle and Cime di Rosso.

The third day we had beautiful weather and a walking tour of 1000 m difference in altitude was our programme. The destination was the Rifugio del Grande near the Cime di Vezzada. Here we looked at some rocks of the Bergell intrusion which has an age of 32-20 Ma. In the center we found a Tonalite which is enclosed by a Granodiorite, the latter intruded first and is 2 Ma older than the Tonalite. The basaltic and limy wall rock underwent a regional metamorphose and due to the intrusion a contact metamorphose.

On the fourth day we had a walking tour with some students from the ETH of Zürich. We had a look at different outcrops which showed us gabbroic and gneissic rocks as well as mantle rocks like Peridotites and Dunites.

The last day near Chiareggio we spent at Alpe Zocca to look at the highest metamorphic mantel rocks in this region, composed of pyroxenes and olivine.

The last two days we spent at the Upper Engadin in Switzerland. We went by a regional passenger line to the mountain Diavolezza to sleep at 3270 m altitude. This mountain consists of rhyolithic material. On the sixth day we had a beautiful look at the Piz Bernina, Piz Palü and the Morteratsch glacier. We hiked to the Munt Pers which consists of a Meta – granodiorite from the Variscan and intruded into the crust during Carboniferous times. Further we had a look at the rocks of the Sass Queder; here we studied some Permian Meta – rhyolites which can be traced back to magmatic activity near the surface. In the afternoon we looked at some Triassic carbonates and in the evening we visited the end of the Morteratsch glacier.


Group Photo at the end of the Morteratsch glacier.

On the last day we took an aerial cableway to the rock glacier Muottas Muragl near the village Pontresina to study the development, characteristics and shape of creeping permafrost.

After seven days of excellent food, almost every day good weather and a treasure of geological experiences we returned back to Freiburg.

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