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Insubric line: the history of the world in rocks

In the Bocchetto Sessera area in Oasi Zegna, a major testimony to the formation of our continents

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Insubric Line: not the sexiest of names perhaps, but it marks out an area of crucial geological importance and is also a big attraction for tourists in the Biella Alps.
The Insubric Line is named after Insubria, a region no longer with clear confines and formerly inhabited by the Insubres, who settled between the Po and the pre-Alpine lakes and (according to Livy) founded Milan.
 

For the academics, this line is a geo-stitch, a “stitching” in the earth’s surface following the collision between the European and African tectonic plates. Today, it marks the “border” between the Eurasian and Adriatic plates.
During the Jurassic era, Africa and Europe were separated by an ocean we call Tethys. The African plate moved north towards the European plate. This shift caused a gradual closing of the Tethys and finally an actual collision between the two plates to produce the Insubric Line, whose composition is the result of the fusion of the materials deposited along the two edges.
 

It’s an extremely interesting area to study, given the role it played in forming the continents as we know them today. Visitors to Oasi Zegna have the good fortune of being able to literally see the Insubric line, which passes through the zone around Bocchetto Sessera. Here you are practically standing astride Africa and Europe.   

Knowing a lot about the geomorphology of this territory and its many peculiarities, the nature guides from OverAlp, a firm set up by geologist Stefano Maffeo, organize walks in Oasi Zegna that are also designed to reveal fascinating historical details along the way, as at Bocchetto Sessera, where the Insubric Line passes.   

For info: overalp@overalp.com  -  Tel.: 349.6252576
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