Earth pyramids are impressive natural monuments to be admired in several places of South Tyrol.
The earth pyramids of South Tyrol have taken shape in the course of many centuries and are attributable to erosion and particular circumstances, including subsequent periods of rain and aridity and a particularly wind-protected position. The erosion phenomenons rise above all in the places where Ice Age glaciers have deposited moraine slit in the valleys. In combination with water, this dry material that is hard as stone becomes a loamy mass, flowing towards the valley. A huge stone covering the mass protects the material below from rain, remaining dry and hard. This is how earth pillars are formed, reaching an altitude of up to 30 m.
Particularly worth noticing are the earth pyramids of the Renon, considered to be the highest and most beautifully shaped earth pillars all over Europe. Also these pillars were formed out of late Ice-age moraine slit, which was heaped up by the main glacier of Valle Isarco as well as of minor local glaciers. The earth pillars can be admired in three different places: Rio Rivellone at Soprabolzano, Rio Fosco between Longomoso and Monte di Mezzo as well at Auna di Sotto.
However, also in Val Pusteria you can admire this impressive natural phenomenon, at Plata/Perca and Terento. The earth pyramids of Terento date back to the year 1834, when they were probably formed consequent to a historic thunder-storm. Huge masses were washed away by the “Terner Bach” river, forming these earth pillars in the year to follow.
A hiking trail starts at the centre of the village, taking you directly to the earth pyramids in a 40-minutes’ walk. This path is also suitable for families.
Further places where to admire earth pillars in South Tyrol:
> Meltina and San Genesio (south of South Tyrol)
> Tirolo (Merano & surroundings)
> Collepietra (Catinaccio-Latemar)
By the way: Life expectancy of an earth pyramid depends on the stone covering the pillar, protecting the pyramids from the weather.