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Glacial Imprint on the Main Ridge of the Vosges Mountains

  • Jean-Luc MercierEmail author
Chapter
Part of the World Geomorphological Landscapes book series (WGLC)

Abstract

In this paper we provide an example of a widely studied landscape where conflicting observations in geomorphology lead to opposite interpretations. The central Vosges Mountains consist of a multi-tilted fault block, covered by an ice cap during each Quaternary cold period. After the Last Glacial Maximum, deglaciation began on the main ridge, leaving periglacial formations on low-relief highland or “old surface” and young valley glaciers or cirque glaciers with their associated moraines. The bald summital part of the Vosges Massif, which is known as the Hautes Chaumes, is of disputed origin. Whereas the occurrence of typically alpine soils supports a primary origin of heathland and meadows at some places, recent archeobotanical studies indicate that most of these vegetal communities result from deforestation since the Bronze Age period. The protection of this natural heritage is organized at two levels, a nature park (Parc Naturel des Ballons des Vosges) in an integrated rural and natural landscape, which is visited each year by five million persons, and four nature reserves, which guarantee the overall preservation of the landscapes and associated threatened fauna and flora. On the western gentle slope of the Vosges Mountains, a geomorphic feature corresponding to the maximum extension of the Würmian glaciers (the Noirgueux end moraine) benefits from a specific protection.

Keywords

Valley Glacier Snow Line Main Ridge Vosges Mountain Glacial Cirque 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgemnts

An early draft of this chapter was improved with useful discussion and collaboration with Prof. M.F. André (Geomorphology), Dr A. Fort (Physics), Dr J.M. Walter (Botany), and Dr L. Wilmé (Geomorphology).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Université de StrasbourgStrasbourgFrance

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