Justification Statement of Outstanding Universal Value
The Dolomites are the archetype of a particular type of mountain landscape in the world, defined as “dolomitic landscape”, and the most outstanding anywhere. The extremely articulated topography and the exceptional variety of colours are distinctive characteristics of the dolomitic landscape, but even more so the extraordinary contrast between the gentle curves of the meadows and the sudden vertical thrust of mighty, completely bare, pale-coloured peaks with extraordinarily varied sculptural shapes. The result of these key traits determines the “dolomitic landscape”, that is that typology of mountain scenery whose original model and maximum expression is found in the Dolomites.
From the geological viewpoint, the Dolomites are a reference area at worldwide level for the Triassic period. The documentation of the Triassic is extraordinary, for the high sedimentation rates, for the enormous variety of depositional facies and environments, and for the abundant fossiliferous documentation that makes this one of the world reference areas for the biostratigraphy of the Triassic Tethys.
Furthermore, they are the only area with easy access where large scale Mesozoic carbonate platforms and their adjoining basinal areas can be observed in natural transects and the interrelationships between carbonate rocks and igneous rocks are superbly exposed in an alpine terrain.
From a geomorphological viewpoint, the reliefs of the Dolomites shows a clear relationship with geology (morphostructe): there are landforms linked to tectonic movements (morphotectodynamics), as fault scarps; even more numerous are the landforms linked to morphoselection, for both for passive tectonics (morphotectostatics)
like structural slopes, and for rock composition (morpholithology), like karst phenomena. Among morphoclimatic landforms, those connected to past climates are mainly derived from glacial and periglacial conditions (moraine
deposits, glaciopressure evidence etc.). On the other hand, those connected to recent and present climate conditions are of the crionival genesis type (talus cones, protalus ramparts etc.). A recurrent aspect is represented by mass movements, with all possible types of landslides, quoted in international scientific literature.
Furthermore the Dolomites are an exemplary case of geo(morpho)diversity, in every (extrinsic, intrinsic, at different scale) meaning.