The nine systems making up the Dolomites UNESCO World Heritage Site are like an open book revealing the past of our planet, you can read it vertically in order to discover the earth’s history and also on the horizontal plane if you want to explore the Prehistoric geography.
The ‘discovery’ of the Dolomites can be dated back to 1789 when the French scientist Dèodat de Dolomieu, traveling through South Tyrol, reported the finding of a distinguishing rock which, after an analysis, turned out be a new mineral. Subsequently, to pay homage to his discoverer, this unknown mineral was given the name Dolomite.
Since then, people acclaimed the geological and geo-morphological relevance of these mountains. Very quickly they became a noteworthy destination for scientists and researchers which could directly observe really unique geological phenomena. The Dolomites clearly document the evolution of the earth’s history, in particular the interval between the Upper Permian and the Triassic (between 270 and 200 million years ago). Here you can admire fossil reefs and tropical environments of the Mesozoic, the resurgence of life after the dramatic extinction occurred 251 million years ago, as well as the intense volcanic activity. Walking around the Dolomites means visiting an ancient lagoon and descending escarpments once submerged by a very deep sea.