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DOI 10.4461/GFDQ.2011.34.3


The geomorphology of the Dolomites from a geomorphodiversity viewpoint

Pages 17-24


After recalling the concept of geomorphodiversity, which was introduced by the Author in 2009, the peculiarities of the geomorphodiversity of the Dolomites are described. First of all they have specific geomorphological and landscape characteristics which distinguish them from all other mountains in the world: i.e., they have greatly accentuated extrinsic geomorphodiversity on a global scale. On a regional scale and in relation to morphostructural landforms, the Dolomites have a high degree of extrinsic geomorphodiversity compared with other alpine mountains in relation to morphotectodynamics,
morphotectostatics and morpholithology. They also have greatly accentuated intrinsic geomorphodiversity on a regional scale from the morphoclimatic viewpoint, considering their polygenesis linked to pre- or inter-glacial, glacial, periglacial, fluvial, relict, dormant or active landforms. Nevertheless, when some geomorphological features, chosen with a subjective criterion, are examined in detail on a regional scale (for example talus cones or scree slopes), they show a limited intrinsic geomorphodiversity; whereas in other cases (as for landslides) they have a great intrinsic geomorphodiversity. Another example is offered by karst areas: they display in detail a vast array of landforms, that is considerable intrinsic geomorphodiversity on a local scale. For all these reasons the Dolomites make up an important geoheritage that can be considered as a high-altitude field laboratory for
research and development of geomorphological theories and understanding. Finally the Author stresses that on June 26th 2009 the Dolomites were included in the World Heritage List because of their scientific importance from the geological and geomorphological point of view, together with their exceptional beauty and unique landscape. Furthermore, this inclusion is an important scientific goal and an event which stimulates indepth studies, discussions and assessment of investigations and theories
in the field of Geomorphology.

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