Triassic Gypsums in the Secchia River Valley

February 20, 2019

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Photographer: Pierluigi Giacobazzi
Summary Author: Pierluigi Giacobazzi 

Featured above is a striking outcrop of Triassic gypsum that runs across the Secchia River valley, south of the Bismantova Stone, in the municipality of Castelnovo ne Monti, Italy. These rocks are evaporite and are more than 200 million years old. They formed when the water in large lagoons of the ancient Tethys Sea evaporated, depositing huge tracks of gypsum and salt. The areas of Triassic gypsum are part of the Appennino Tosco-Emiliano National Park, designated in 2015 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a Man and Biosphere Reserve.

This prehistoric looking landscape was photographed during a winter's evening. Note that the circular star trails result from a 3-hour exposure of the Earth rotating about its axis. The Moon, 55 percent illuminated by the Sun, as well the lingering twilight, enhanced the beauty of these geological formations. Photo taken on January 14, 2019.

Photo Details: Nikon D750 camera; 8/15mm zoom-fisheye lens used at 11mm; f/4; 00 ISO; 60 exposures (from 6:15 pm to 9:15 pm UTC).