The Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona in the north-eastern part of the country covers a mountainous area of 32,850 ha which features seven peaks that rise above 3,000 m. The area displays an exceptional example of mountain building through continental collision and features .excellent geological sections through tectonic thrust, i.e. the process whereby older, deeper rocks are carried onto younger, shallower rocks. The site is distinguished by the clear three-dimensional exposure of the structures and processes that characterize this phenomenon and has been a key site for the geological sciences since the 18th century. The Glarus Alps are glaciated mountains rising dramatically above narrow river valleys and are the site of the largest post-glacial landslide in the Central Alpine region.
Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona
Outstanding Universal Value
The Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona presents an exceptional and dramatic display of mountain building through continental collision. The property is distinguished by the clear three-dimensional exposure of the structures and processes that characterise this phenomenon in a mountain setting, its history of study, and its ongoing contribution to geological sciences.
Criterion (viii): Earth’s history, geological and geomorphic features and processes: The Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona provides an exceptional display of mountain building tectonics and has been recognised as a key site for geological sciences since the 18th century. The clear exposure of the Glarus Overthrust is a key, but not the only significant, feature. The exposures of the rocks below and above this feature are visible in three dimensions and, taken together, have made substantial contributions to the understanding of mountain building tectonics. Its geological features can be readily appreciated by all visitors. The property can be differentiated from other similar sites by the combination of the clear exposure of the phenomenon in a mountain setting, its history of study, and its ongoing contribution to geological sciences.
The property contains the full range of tectonic features necessary to display the phenomenon of mountain building. Key attributes of the site include the Glarus Overthrust and the associated folded and faulted geological exposures above and below it. Other key attributes of the property are the accessibility of the features in three dimensions, and access to the thrust surface of the Glarus Overthrust. Associated intangible values relate to the importance of the property as a formative site for the geological sciences; and the features that were part of these studies remain visible and in good condition in the present day.
Requirements for Protection and Management
The major exposures of the geological features are within protected areas and are substantially unthreatened. The primary management issue is to allow the natural processes of slope erosion to continue. Other key management issues relate to the continued provision of safe visitor and research access and protection of key features such as the exposures of the thrust surface. The communication of the key values of the property is also an important priority and continued investment and enhancement of visitor interpretation and education strategies are required.