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by Alexander Sohm last modified 2007-01-08 13:02

The modern day landscape in the Montafon was mostly formed by the quaternary ice age.  The highpoint of the last ice age, the Würm ice age was about 20,000 years ago.  The place where you are standing now was covered in ice 500 meters thick. The glaciers from the Silbertal and the Klostertal were connected over the Kristberg and formed an ice flow network with other valley systems.  Only the higher mountain peaks over 2000 meters above sea level were free of ice.

The Würm ice age ended about 11,000 years ago and took all the traces of earlier ice ages with it.  Deposits from the glacier which were formed on the sides and underneath it, are called moraines.  Almost all of the moraines in the Montafon come from the Ill glacier and the glaciers coming out of the side valleys during the Würm ice age.  Often, though, the youngest moraine walls come from the glaciers formed in the small ice age with the peak being in the year 1860.

The moraine deposits, which can be found almost everywhere in the Montafon, are mostly made up of boulders from the Silvretta and the Verwall.  Almost all of them are covered with vegetation, hillside debris or creek and mudslide debris.  A lot of times you can find boulders and erratic blocks that the melting glacier left behind.

Besides moraines, a lot of lakes were formed at the edge of the Ill glacier when it was melting.   While the side valleys were already free of ice, the Ill valley which had a distinctly higher catchment area was covered by a valley glacier.  The water running off from the side valleys damned up and led to clay deposits and the formation of terraces at the edge of the ice.  The typical Montafon May field settlements can be found on these flat levels of land.  A few examples are the Netza, the Sassarscha, the Monigg, the Montiel and the Fratte May fields.

After the ice age numerous stream debris cones were formed on which villages like Schruns and St. Gallenkirch lie.  Many hillside debris pockets were formed.  Netting on the overly steep valley flanks which were formed by the ice scraping it caused stripping and rock falls.  These pressure release processes are still going on today.  Additionally, on the less permeable layers like the compact moraines, high and low moors were formed.  In some places, these are characteristic of the landscape in the Montafon.


P02-4 glaciers.mp3

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