Proposed statement of outstanding universal value

Braies LakeBraies LakeThe Dolomites are widely recognised as being amongst the most attractive mountain landscapes in the world. The particular dramatic power and spectacular quality of their scenic values make the Dolomites a vital landmark for the aesthetic of the sublime in western culture and a global paragon of natural beauty.

One distinctive characteristic is the variety of colours and shapes which are extremely accentuated both vertically and horizontally. Vertically perpendicular walls of very pale, bare rock rise sharply from imposing scree bases which rest on gentle, undulating formations, covered in woodland and pastures. Horizontally the changing facies between sedimentary and igneous formations emphasise the light and shade effects. The Dolomites also became famous throughout the world for the phenomenon of intense colouring assumed by the rock faces at sunrise and sunset (the colour range of orange-red-purple) and their scenic luminosity at dusk or by moonlight. Their topography presents a remarkable concentration of spectacular mountain systems, each with its own characteristics. Similarly the quantity of extremely varied limestone formations (peaks, towers, pinnacles and vertical walls amongst the highest in the world) is extraordinary in a global context.

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 perfectly preserved fossil atolls. Furthermore, they are the only area with easy access where large scale Triassic carbonate platforms and their adjoining basinal areas can be observed in natural transects and the interrelationships between carbonate 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.