Geographia Polonica (2011) vol. 84, iss. Special Issue Part 2

The Dolomites and their geomorphodiversity

Mario Panizza

Geographia Polonica (2011) vol. 84, iss. Special Issue Part 2, pp. 107-115 | Full text

Following the concept of geomorphodiversity which was introduced by the author (Panizza,2009a), the peculiarities of the geomorphology of the Dolomites are summarized. First of all,they have specific geomorphological and landscape characteristics, which distinguish them fromall other mountains in the world; i.e., they have greatly accentuated extrinsic geomorphodiversityon a global scale. In relation to morphostructural landforms, the Dolomites have a high degreeof extrinsic geomorphodiversity compared with other mountains in relation to morphotectodynamics,morphotectostatics and morpholithology. They also have greatly accentuated intrinsicgeomorphodiversity on a regional scale from the morphoclimatic viewpoint, considering theirpolygenesis linked to pre- or interglacial, glacial, periglacial, fluvial, relict, dormant or activelandforms. Nevertheless, when some geomorphological features, chosen with a subjective criterion,are examined in detail on a regional scale (for example landslides) they show a great intrinsicgeomorphodiversity. The Dolomites make up an important geoheritage that can be consideredas a high-altitude field laboratory for research and development of geomorphological theoriesand understanding. The inclusion of these mountains in the World Heritage List is an importantscientific goal and an event which stimulates in-depth studies, discussions and assessment of investigationsand theories in the field of geomorphology.

Keywords: geomorphology, geomorphodiversity, geoheritage, the Dolomites, UNESCO