Geology of the Dolomites

Since 2009 the Dolomites have been designated a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. This is a recognition of their scenic beauty and scientific value, and St. Kassian/San Cassiano in the Gadertal/Val Badia lies at the heart of this mountain area. The Dolomites are life turned to stone: they are composed of fossils, i.e. petrified life forms. The formation of the Alps is a process that begins 100 million years ago in the Cretaceous period and continues even today. Its origin is the collision of the African and the European continental plates; the front edge of the African plate, the so-called Africa spur, is slowly boring into the southern edge of the European plate. The seabed is pushed upwards and unfolded: this is the birth of the Alps and the Dolomites.