Marc Lütscher (ISSKA)
With contributions from:
Elena Serra (University of Bern)
Reynald Delaloye (University of Fribourg)
Alexis Neven (University of Neuchâtel)
Christoph Schwörer (University of Bern)
The two-day CH-QUAT excursion led us to the Sanetsch Pass in the Canton of Valais. The excursion focused on the glacial geomorphology, karst, periglacial processes, and the Alpine vegetation history.
The first day we spent in the tributary valley Creux de la Lé located close to the Lake Sanetsch. First, we gained an overview on the local geology. Afterwards we had a look at the different geomorphologic features of the area and discussed on the formation of the single deposits and their succession at the transition from Lateglacial to Holocene. But we also discussed the relevance of permafrost in the area. At the foot of the Lapis des Tsanfleuron we had a look at the change of the Tsanfleuron glacier’s mass balance and at models how its mass balance could evolve in the future. At the end we hiked up to the Prarochet hut, where we enjoyed a nice dinner and animated conversations.
The second day we started with a hike up to the Tsanfleuron glacier, where we talked about the different glacier advances. The question how glaciers can erode carbonate bedrock and which erosion rates can result was actively discussed. Along the wide limestone pavement we slowly walked back to the Sanetsch Pass. On the way we got a nice introduction into the karst system of the Lapis de Tsanfleuron. At the end, we stayed at the Emine pond, where we got, based on pollen data, insight into the vegetation history and how it changed in the Sanetsch area during the past ca. 12’000 years. With many new and interesting impressions we headed back home.