The earth pyramids of Ritten: rock-hard
The Earth Pyramids of Ritten: a phenomenon caused by erosion
Yet how can such a wonder of nature come about? Basically, earth pyramids can only arise in places that used to be glacial. On the Ritten plateau there was once a large glacier with several side glaciers that were responsible for the formation of other earth pyramids in South Tyrol. In the late Ice Age, moraine loam of was left here when the glaciers melted. This special soil has the property of becoming as hard as rock when dry, while it turns into soft slurry when it rains and slips down the hillside.
When boulders are found on this type of soil, earth pyramids are formed. As the boulders shelter the earth beneath them from rain, the earth stays hard. The rest of the soil goes mushy and slides downhill. The rain manages to cut deeper and deeper grooves into the soil, resulting in lots of little earth pyramids. One of the reasons why the Ritten Earth Pyramids are so fascinating to behold is because they lie in an ideal spot in terms of climate: the steep slope that they grew on is sheltered from the wind. In addition, there are alternate periods of heavy rainfall and drought.
Don't forget a waterproof
As soon as the earth pyramids lose the rocky hats that shelter from the rain, they collapse. This is why the earth pyramids may be admired, but not touched: the risk that a rocky boulder could slip off and destroy the work of a thousand thunder storms is too great. By the way, there are three spots where these earth pyramids may be seen on the Ritten: at Lengmoos in Finsterbachtal valley, slightly above Oberbozen (the ones that may be seen from the cable car) and at Unterinn. There are earth pyramids in other parts of South Tyrol, too – in Terenten, Platten, Mölten, Jenesien, Dorf Tirol and Steinegg.
Walking to the Earth Pyramids of Ritten
Anyone wishing to view the Earth Pyramids of Ritten close up and not just from the cable car can take advantage of several options: the simplest way leads in ten minutes from the car park in Lengmoos to the viewing platform. This path is especially suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs. A similarly family-friendly path leads from Klobenstein to Lengmoos. This excursion destination may be easily reached from Bozen by cable car and the charming Ritten narrow gauge railway.