Piramidi di Segonzano

Bizarre natural phenomena of earth

The highest and most beautiful pyramids of earth in Europe are located in the locality of Segonzano in the province of Trento. To reach them you must make a short walk suitable for everyone. In the winter season they are also visible from the road as the vegetation is more bare and these earth spiers make their way in the snow.

The pinnacles are formed by cones of morainic material on each of which rests a large boulder creating singular structures of earth made up of moraine clay of fluvio-glacial origin, residual of some secondary local glaciers. These geological formations have the peculiarity of being cohesive and compact in drought conditions, but as clayey, if exposed to the rain they lose stability and crumble forming scarps of 10 – 15 meters.

The boulders adhere to the clay creating a barrier against the rain, so that an unusual phenomenon occurs with each precipitation: the material not protected by the rocks is eroded and transported downstream making the majestic earth pyramids emerge literally from the bottom.

It is difficult to define the period of time within which a pyramid of earth can be formed, since the phenomenon depends on numerous factors. Just as it is almost impossible to precisely define the age of earth pyramids or which they can reach. But one thing is certain: the most beautiful and largest earth pyramids have been formed over thousands of years.

A pyramid of earth is destined to disappear rapidly when the so-called “hat” falls from the apex of the column: in this way, without protection, the material remains exposed to the elements and the column is reduced to any precipitation. And while during this process a pyramid of earth disappears, on the slope a new one is formed at the same time.

Because of their particular shape they are also called “Fairies’ hats”. This phenomenon also occurs in other nearby valleys. In fact, even those of the Renon plateau are very famous.

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