The Origin of Mount San Salvatore

Mount Salvatore is a very special, one could almost go as far as saying, legendary mountain. It was born out of an ancient sea, in an environment that was very similar to that of today’s Bahamas archipelago. Its history gets lost in a dim and distant past.

At the beginning of the Triassic Age, 245 million years ago, the waters of a primordial sea started advancing and invading the coasts of the old and sole continent that existed at the time: Pangea. This flooded environment had a warm tropical climate and a shallow sea, where sunlight was able to reach the bottom. Climate was thus very favourable to the activity of marine organisms like corals, which contributed to the formation of the coral reefs. When the algae, sponges, sea urchins and molluscs, which lived on these reefs, died, they deposited their shells and skeletons on the sea bottom. This enormous deposit reached hundreds of meters in thickness. This, of course, seems rather paradoxical, if one thinks that the sea was only a few meters deep then. However, this was made possible on account of the sediment’s extraordinary weight, which by continuing to increase, caused the lowering of the earth’s crust, keeping the sea bottom always at the same level of depth. This allowed light to reach the sea bottom, illuminate it and allow the living organisms to survive.

The huge pressure exerted by the weight of the layers of sediments, one on top of the other, gave rise to San Salvatore’s dolomitic rock.

Later on, the African continental plaque moved north and about 40 million years ago, the edges of the two plaques crashed violently into each other, causing the upheaval and overlapping of the rocks on the sea bottom, thus giving rise to the Alpine chain. During this event, Mount San Salvatore emerged from the sea. Evidence of its sea origin may be seen inside the museum, in the space dedicated
to rocks, minerals and fossils.

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Way back in the year 1200 pilgrims made their way up to the mountain summit on foot in order to pay their
respects to the Son of God, who according to ancient legend took rest here afore his heavenly ascent.