Dinaric Alps

From Academic Kids

The Dinaric Alps or Dinarides are a mountain chain in southern Europe, spanning areas of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro and Albania. They extend from the Julian Alps in the northwest down to the Šar-Pindus massive in the southeast.


I is the most rugged and extensively mountainous area of Europe outside the Alps. They are formed largely of Secondary and Tertiary sedimejntary rocks of limestones, sands, and conglomerates laid down by bearlier seas and lakes which covered the area. During the Alpine earth movements 50-100 million years age immense lateral pressures folded and overthrust the rocks ina great arc around the old rigid vblock of the north-east. Thje Dinaric Alps wre thrown up in more or less parallell rangtes, stretching like necklaces from the Julian Alps in Slovenia, to the Pindhos of Greece and the mountains of the Peloponnisos, Crete , to the Taurus Mountains of southern Turkey.

The Mesozoic limestones form what is a very distinctive region of the Balkans, notably the High Karst Plateau of the Dinaric reanges. The Quarternary Ic Ages habe had relatively little direct influence on the Balkans. No permanent ice caps existed, and the is little evidence of extensive glaciation. Only the highest sumits of Durmitor, Orjen , Pranj habe glacial valleys and moraines sas low as 600 m. But in the Prokltije Mountains, a range on the northern Albanian border which runs east to west to break the general trend of the Dinaric system, there is evidence of major glaciation.

One geological feature of great impoortance to the present -day lancscapeof the Dinarids must be considered in more detatil - that of the new fold limsetone mountains, often with their attendant faulting. They are hard and slow to erode, and often persist as steep jagged escarpments, through which steep sided gorges and canyons are cleft by the rivers draining the higher slopes.

The most extensive exyample of limestone mountains in Europe is the High Karst Plateau of the Dinaric alps. Here all the characteristic features are encounted again and again as one travels through this wild and little-populated country. Limestone is a very porous rock, yet very hard and resistant to erosion. Water is the most important erosive forece, dissolving the limestone by chemical action. As it percolates down through cracks in the limestone it opens up fissures and channels, often of considerable depth, so that whole sxstems of undergound drainage develop. During subsequent milleniums these work deeper deeper, leaving in their wake enrmous waterless caverns and grottoes and forming underground labyrinths of channels an shafts. The roofs of some of these caverns may eventually fall in, to produce great perpendicular-sided gorges, exposing the water to the surface once more. The magnificent gorges of many of the Dinaric rivers, for example those of the Vrbas, Neretva, Tara, and Lim are justly famous.

It is often only along these gorges that communication is possible across the karst, and roads and railways have to tunnel through precipitous cliffs, or traverse narrow ledges above roaring torrents. At the same time, the purity of these rocks is such that the rivers are crystal clear, and there is little soil-making residue. Rock faces are often bare of vegetation and glaring white, but what little soil there is may collect in the hollows and support a lush vegetation, or yield narrow stips of cultivation.

Some of the mountains within the Dinarides are:

  • Dinara, the eponym of the chain

Template:Croatia-geo-stub Template:Slovenia-geo-stub Template:SM-geo-stub Template:BiH-geo-stubde:Dinarisches Gebirge pl:Alpy Dynarskie


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