June 27, 2006 - Piramidi de Segonzano, Italy.
The Segonzano Pyramids can rightly be considered a natural masterpiece: they are elegant ground pillars, which sometimes reach up to 20 mt. in height. In some cases they are topped by a big stone as a protection. During the quaternary era, the Alvisio glaciers left in the Rio Regnana valley a considerable amount of material, which created enormous morainic deposits made of a mixture of fine material and big rocks. These deposits were originated by the disrupture of mountain ridges and sides, which were caused by continuos ice movements. Thorugh the eras, the erosive action of water contributed to the formation of the pyramids.
Formation: When raindrops fall on the ground, they effect an erosive action which grows according to incline. Nevertheless, the ground is not completely taken away, thanks to its mixed composition. Rounded fragments, numerous blocks randomly deposited by the glacier act as a protection against the mechanic and erosive action of water.
Shapes: The typical shape of a pyramid is that of a truncated cone topped by a big stone. There can be "pointed pyramids" with a conic trunk without a stone on top (they are not as tall as the others and evolve more rapidly). Another typical shape is that called "ridge-like", which is made of a ground blade, whose formation is caused by the thinning of the watershed existing between two gullies. Sometimes pyramids are grouped in a formation called "pipe-organ".
Vegetation: in the conservation of the pyramids, vegetation plays an important role, because it prevents the corrosive action of water. Roots, moss and leaves keep the ground steady and slow down the erosion. The presence of vegetation in a gully indicates that an erosive process has considerably diminished.
Rock shapes: the presence of a "cap" -and above all its shape- on top of the pyramid is of the utmost importance, because it influences both its existence and its duration. The most suitable shape is that of a squared slab, ligtly tilted towards the valley, which acts as a natural roof on top of the pyramid. If the slab falls, the pyramid takes on a pointed shape, which is easily corroded by water. It is most likely to disappear, if along its shank there is no other rock, possible substitute of the fallen one. A pyramid belonging to the second group, possesses a very big "cap", around 100 hundred kilograms.
The legend of the pyramids: at given times during the day the soft light of the sun renders them similar to an enchanted castle. The legend tells that once upon a time a group af trolls were turned into ground pillars as a punishment for their carelessness.
N46° 10.858' E011° 15.808'