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The photos in this gallery are adapted from a 1998 field guide led by Dr. Ariel Roth, who was Director of Geoscience Research Institute from 1980-1994. More information about the geology of the Alps in general, and the specific field localities is available here.
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Thrust fault contact between the Eocene flysch (below) and the Permian Verrucano (above) near Schwanden. The arrow points to the fine contact line.
The city of Zug is built in part on the unconsolidated sands of an old delta. The shoreline along this old delta was being extended and a retaining wall was built. On July 5, 1887, at 15:35, two houses and a section of sea wall sank suddenly into the lake. At 18:55, an area extending 150 m along the shore and 80 m inland had sunk 78 m, destroying more houses.
The Mythen is an isolated thrust outlier (Klippe) of Mesozoic rocks lying on top of Tertiary Eocene flysch, which in turn covers other Mesozoic formations. It is believed that the Mythen has been transported almost 150 km (90 miles) from the south.
The steep sides of Mount Pilatus, south of Lucerne, are seen on the left. The rocks are mostly Cretaceous sediments.
View to the west (left) near the top of Mount Pilatus, south of Lucerne. Note the very contorted layers. The mountain was overthrust about 50 km from the south (left of picture).
Wildflysch is a poorly sorted sedimentary rock resulting from a mass sediment flow. Note the backpack in the lower right corner for scale. Many inclusions can be seen, including a large one which fills the center of the picture.
The Fayaux Quarry exposes many turbidites of the Gurnigel Nappe. Each light-colored layer is part of a turbidite. Note people for scale.
Turbidites and debris flows of the Niesen Nappe above the town of Le Sépey. This is at an overturned section of the Niesen Nappe.
View of a single thick turbidite at Le Sépey. The letters identify the various units of the Bouma sequence. Note that the order of the units is reversed, because at this locality the Niesen Nappe is overturned.
View to the east from Col de la Croix. Parts of four stacked nappes are visible from this point: Niesen, Bex, Diablerets and Wildhorn.
The house on the rock was built on an isolated massive boulder. The rock is composed of Mt. Blanc granite, which is not found near this region, and obviously had to be transported for many kilometers by action of glaciers.
View of the Dents de Morcles, near Mex. The arrow at the right indicates where the Morcles Nappe (above the arrow) slid over the more fixed layers below. Here the layers of the Morcles Nappe are reversed, due to recumbent folding from the south (right). The arrow at the left, which is within the Morcles Nappe, points to the lower margin of the thin, dark Gault (Upper Cretaceous) layer. Just below is a thick Nummulitic limestone layer (Eocene). Standard geologic interpretations would suggest some 45 million years between these two layers; yet the thin Gault shows little evidence of any erosion for 45 million years (remember the Morcles layers are overturned here).
Panorama from Gornergrat looking towards the west. The peak on the left is the Matterhorn; the next peak is Dent Blanche. Both peaks are part of the Dent Blanche Nappe. The peak on the far right is Weisshorn.
Smooth mounded rocks called roche moutonné (sheep rocks) formed by the action of the Gorner Glacier on the crystalline basement of the Monte Rosa Nappe. Note the striations on the rocks in the lower left corner.
Close-up view of fossil coral from the Mares Quarry, near Saint-Germain-de-Joux, France (a few km west of the Swiss border). The block is about 1½ m long. Note the parallel arrangement of the numerous coral branches.