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DOI 10.4461/GFDQ.2011.34.13


Geomorphological features and cartography of the Gran Sasso d’Italia massif between Corno Grande – Corno Piccolo and Pizzo Intermesoli

Pages 127-143


The detailed geomorphological study and cartography presented here is part of a multidisciplinary study that includes snow profile monitoring and meteo-climatic, geomorphological and glaciological surveys
in the area of the Gran Sasso d’Italia massif, all aimed primarily at the characterisation and mitigation of active geomorphological processes (D’Aquila, 2004; D’Aquila & Pecci, 2006; D’Aquila, 2007; Pecci & alii,
2007; Pecci, 2009; Pecci & D’Aquila, 2010). These processes usually develop rapidly, and they include snow avalanches and landslides (particularly rock fall and toppling). This work completes a study of the summit area of the Gran Sasso d’Italia massif that was already published for the Corno Grande-Corno Piccolo area (D’Alessandro & alii, 2003). The study area is located close to the principal thrust of the Gran Sasso d’Italia massif, whose landforms are mainly controlled by geological, structural and glacial processes. In fact, important morphostructures have been identified as being linked to the direct action of tectonics at the macro-scale level, as in the case of the orientation of the principal valleys. Tectonics have also promoted the spread of gravitational phenomena. The glacial footprint is evident in the numerous inactive erosive and accumulative landforms related to the LGM (Last Glacial Maximum)
and in the presence of the Calderone Glacier («Ghiacciaio del Calderone» in the map), which, although divided into two aprons since 2000, is still considered the southernmost glacier in Europe. Landforms related to cryogenic processes are common, as are karst, fluvial, fluvio-glacial and slope landforms created by running water. Humans are only sporadically present but are capable of encountering risk situations when interacting with the gravitational dynamics linked to rock fall (as in the case of the
«Paretone» landslide of August 22nd, 2006) or to snow avalanches. The terrain data have been digitalised, processed and mapped in a GIS (Geographic Information System) environment at the 1:10,000 scale.

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