Field Trips

The Montgenevre area, in the heart of the Cottian Alps Geopark, provides access to inspirational field sites. The field excursions are designed to examine a wide range of structures developed on a variety of scales. The two trips will run on Tuesday 3 July and Thursday 5 July: both trips are run twice so that everyone can participate. Important note: field trips are automatically included in the registration fee in order to maximise discussion between participants. Field trips are not obligatory but no refunds are made for non-participation. If you have any questions or concerns about the field trips, do not hesitate to contact us.

Important field trip safety: especially trip A will include significant amount of walking at a reasonable pace along paths that can be rough and steep. Appropriate footwear is essential. The weather in July is normally warm, even at altitude, and can even be very hot, and all participants must carry plenty of water and wear appropriate sun protection. On the other hand, mountain weather can be unpredictable, and carrying a set of waterproofs and a warm base layer is required.

Excursion A: Chenaillet

Accessed from telecabines directly from Montgenevre, this day out takes in rocks carried up from the transition between the continental margin of Europe and the floor of the Tethyan ocean. The transect involves highly strained deep-water limestones and cherts, with exceptional shear criteria before moving onto obducted serpentinites/peridotites, gabbros and basalts that preserve ocean floor deformation structures.  The walk involves around 500m ascent and a steep descent on well-graded paths (a geological trail) over a total distance of around 9km.

Excursion B: La Grave and Galibier

Starting off with an introduction to the Geopark at the Maison de Geologie near Briancon, this day has two themes. The first is to visit a major Alpine thrust that carries basement onto sediments, with panoramic views across the inverted Jurassic basins of the NW Alps. It is followed by an examination of the deformation associated with the Frontal Pennine Thrust and the emplacement of evaporite bodies that cross-cut Alpine structures. Logistically, this excursion involves a coach-based tour to the Alpine village of La Grave, with an ascent to 3200m by telecabines, followed by near-roadside outcrops on the Col du Galibier.