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The Earth Pyramids of Italy: Where Boulders Perch Atop Pillars of Clay

One of the strangest landscape elements of the Alps are the so-called Earth Pyramids of South Tyrol. Especially during foggy conditions these pillars appear like from another world. Photographer Kilian Schönberger spent several hours on-location to capture the change of colors and light from dawn till noon. On Behance, Schönberger adds:

These strange so-called earth pyramids were shaped by erosion. They remind a bit of hoodos in the SW of the U.S., but their origin is a bit different. Normally the pillars consist of deposited clay with a boulder on top. They “rise” in moraine clay soil left behind by the glaciers of the last Ice Age. The soil is prone for erosion during heavy pour – though it’s hard like stone when dry. Boulders within the glacial soil are like a shield to the soil below them. The surrounding material is swept away by rain but the stone-protected parts stay more or less dry and pillars start to “rise” from the ground. Once the earth pyramid is too fragile to carry the boulder even longer, the balance is lost and the stone tumbles down. Without this protection the rest of the earth pillar vanishes quite fast with the next rainfalls.

Below you will find highlights from Kilian’s photo series ‘Otherworld‘.

 

earth pyramids of south tyrol kilian schonberger otherworld 9 The Earth Pyramids of Italy: Where Boulders Perch Atop Pillars of Clay

earth pyramids of south tyrol kilian schonberger otherworld 13 The Earth Pyramids of Italy: Where Boulders Perch Atop Pillars of Clay

earth pyramids of south tyrol kilian schonberger otherworld 8 The Earth Pyramids of Italy: Where Boulders Perch Atop Pillars of Clay

earth pyramids of south tyrol kilian schonberger otherworld 10 The Earth Pyramids of Italy: Where Boulders Perch Atop Pillars of Clay

earth pyramids of south tyrol kilian schonberger otherworld 1 The Earth Pyramids of Italy: Where Boulders Perch Atop Pillars of Clay

earth pyramids of south tyrol kilian schonberger otherworld 2 The Earth Pyramids of Italy: Where Boulders Perch Atop Pillars of Clay

earth pyramids of south tyrol kilian schonberger otherworld 4 The Earth Pyramids of Italy: Where Boulders Perch Atop Pillars of Clay

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