On the margins of the Gorner Glacier there are some extraordinary rock formations. Striped rocks, blue-grey alternating with shades of yellow, rippled and twisted – evidence of the colossal forces at work hundreds of millions of years ago that laid down these rocks, layer by layer, and which I assume are sedimentary.
On my walk, this summer, down to the Gorner Glacier from Rotenboden, high above Zermatt (click here to see previous post) I discovered a considerable area – probably more than 2,500 square yards, across which rocks similar to the above were visible.
In 2011 I pursued this trail across the glacier to the Monte Rosa Hut. This summer I elected to stop short of that goal at the top of the ladders shown below.
If you click on the vertical image to enlarge it, you may be able to discern bands of coloured rock to either side of the top section of the ladders. The following two images show what that area looks like close up.
When I first saw these rocks six years ago I was unaware of the extent of them, so it was a complete surprise this year, and a thrill, to spend time just exploring and capturing these remarkable colours.
I am not a geologist and I can’t identify the type of rock responsible for the blue-grey stripes. I am hazarding a guess that it might be a relative of Quartz or some kind of Schist. I would be pleased to hear from any geologist reading this who can identify these strata.
Below is a gallery of images to skim through – a small gallery of a much bigger collection of images that I shot three weeks ago. Click on the first image and navigate through.