Karst

Water sculptures in limestone rock: surface, underground and micro-formations

Within the complex morphology of the Ligurian mountains, the outstanding beauty of the Finale plateau, with its unique type of stone, called Finale Stone rising over 400 metres above sea level, creates a sharp chromatic contrast against the green of the surrounding vegetation.

This even-levelled plateau that slopes gently towards the sea was shaped, sculpted and chiselled by the joint action of weather and rainwater. Dissolving limestone has etched out an intricate network of underground tunnels, cavities and deep narrow valleys that have broken the plateau up into smaller fragments.

MORE INFORMATION – Karst

The action of karst has forged today’s myriad underground and surface caves – the latter having become partly visible thanks to the action of torrents and creeks. Although exploring underground caves may not be open to everyone, a good look around at the landscape should suffice to discover the many facets of this remarkable area. Indeed, everything within it is note-worthy, from suspended valleys created by raising tectonic phenomena, to relict valleys where water only flows in the riverbed after heavy rainfall. Water collects into lapies which then convey it to an underground network of karst, which is entirely separate from surface waterways. Smaller and larger sunken areas are formed by collapses or dissolution thus forming sinkholes, which were covered over with residual red soil and used for farming.

When walking across what were past sedimentary layers of seabed, you will certainly come across dissolution and cover-subsidence sinkholes where low-acid rainwater has gradually dissolved the bedrock. Again, if you raise your eyes to the rocky walls used for free climbing sports, vertical streaks prove how the slow persistent trickle of has produced load casts. Indeed, this is what karst looks like!

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