Friday 5 - Sunday 7 September

    The three-day pre-conference field trip will consist of a transect through the western (French-Italian) Alps. The field trip will start from Grenoble on the morning of Friday 5 September and will finish at the Chamonix Conference Centre mid-afternoon on Sunday 7 September.

    Preliminary programme:

    Friday 5 September, Grenoble - Briançon: Ecrins-Pelvoux crystalline massif with remnants of inverted Mesozoic basins; Bourg d’Oisans half-graben; extensional structures at Alpe d’Huez; exhumation and relief development in the external crystalline massifs; multi-phase alpine thrusting at La Meije; Penninic frontal thrust delimiting internal and external Alps at Lautaret/Galibier pass. Overnight in Briançon (world-heritage fortified city).

    View of the inverted Bourg d’Oisans half-graben (Alpe d’Huez in the background), Ecrins-Pelvoux massif

    Saturday 6 September, Briançon - Forte di Bard: Extensional reactivation of Penninic frontal thrust; paleogeography and tectonics of Briançonnais zone (external rifted margin of the Tethys); Penninic “Schistes Lustrés” and HP metamorphism of the Queyras (Guillestre – Col d’Agnel); Exhumation of Penninic zone; Monte Viso ophiolite; Dora Maira massif – site of UHP coesite discovery. Overnight at Forte di Bard (Aosta Valley).

    Penninic schistes lustrés of the Queyras with Ecrins-Pelvoux massif in the background. View from Col d’Agnel.

    Sunday 7 September, Forte di Bard - Chamonix: HP metamorphism of the Sesia Lanzo zone; Gran Paradiso HP gneiss dome and its ophiolitic envelope; Briançonnais units in Aosta Valley; Mt. Blanc back-thrust at Courmayeur.

    Valaisan metasediments with Mont-Blanc massif in the background (Aosta Valley).

    Field trip leaders: Peter van der Beek, Thierry Dumont, Stéphane Schwartz (Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble), Marco G. Malusà (Università Milano Bicocca).

    View field-trip itinerary here or load as Google-Earth (kmz) file

    As the field trip will start on Friday morning 5 September, participants should plan to arrive in Grenoble on Thursday evening (4 September) at the latest. We will plan a welcome dinner and geological viewpoint at the Bastille in Grenoble on Thursday evening and will suggest hotels in Grenoble.

    To get to Grenoble
    From Geneva airport: “Aerocar” shuttle-bus service 5 times a day. 2-hour journey, € 44,- one way fare. See Aerocar website for schedules and booking. By train: through Geneva central railway station; 6 trains a day from Geneva to Grenoble. Journey time 2.5 h, CHF 40,- one-way fare. See SBB website for schedules and booking.
    From Lyon airport: hourly shuttle-bus service, 1-hour journey, € 23,- one-way fare. See Faure Vercors website for schedules and booking.

    Wednesday 10 September

    The mid-conference field trip will visit the Mont-Blanc massif. From Chamonix, we will take the cable car up to Aiguille du Midi (3842 m elevation) for a spectacular view of Mont Blanc, the Chamonix valley and most of the western Alps. We will then descend to the intermediate station at Plan de l’Aiguille (2317 m) where we can observe the Mont-Blanc shear zone and discuss its role in construction of the massif.

    From Plan de l’Aiguille there are two options:

    > We propose a 2-hour hike to Montenvers; the hike is mostly level along a well-maintained path with spectacular views of Chamonix valley and the Aiguilles Rouges massif to the north all along the way.

    > Those who do not wish to hike can take the cable car back down to Chamonix and transfer to the Montenvers pignon-rack railway, which will take them up to Montenvers (1913 m).

    At Montenvers we will observe the Mer de Glace glacier, the 3rd largest glacier in the Alps and will discuss the role of glacial erosion in relief development as well as the recent evolution of the Alpine glaciers.

    The return journey to Chamonix will be by the Montenvers pignon-rack railway.

    A map of the field-trip sites and connections can be found here

    View to the northeast from Aiguille du Midi

    NB: final planning of both pre- and mid-conference fieldtrips is subject to number of participants, weather, and other unforeseeable circumstances.