24 May 2010

What Are Calanchi Anyway?

Yesterday was a scrumptious day that invited exploration. Some friends suggested going to a WWF (World Wildlife Fund) site, Riserva Naturale dei Calanchi di Atri, highlighting calanchi in a nearby hill city of Atri. This area in the region of Abruzzo, province of Teramo, is known for these particular erosion patterns typical in Mediterranean climates. The soil is eroded by water and contains steep slopes, loose dry soil and deep sand. The erosion exposes the sedimentary layers and means there is scant vegetation cover. Turned out to be an wonderful combination of serene countryside and "far side of the moon" formations that were stark but fascinating.

We brought a picnic and ate under the pine trees. Some friends dozed afterward on the pine scented needle bed. A couple of us walked the dirt road to see the beautiful vistas at the overlooks as well as enjoy the yummy sun after a stretch of damp cold weather. These areas house fossil beds and I found 2 sea shells from the Pleistocene age when these 442 meters high hills were covered by the sea. My usual shell collecting takes place at beaches!

That combination of sun warmth, piny fragrance and new vistas etched itself into my consciousness. I realized again how I treasure seeing new places, learning new things, being confronted with radically new phenomenon that stretch and amaze me. I want to be a life-long learner. How about you? What are you learning lately?


  1. It's just that the Italians have no idea what real 'badlands' are - their 'calanchi' look pretty nice, to me.

  2. I know! No desolate badlands here- but surrounded by lovely!

  3. What an interesting site! Who knew you could collect shells on long-dry land? Was it permissible to keep them? I've been so many places where you are chastised from removing anything from the site.

    I'm so happy for you that you are enjoying your new life in Italy.

  4. I am learning just how little "stuff" anyone actually needs...liberating. What a beautiful place!

  5. Hi grandmother

    what a wonderful place to visit and think about the past and changes that have occurred to our earth over millennium.
    I think I learn new things every day.

    Happy days


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