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...were Fire and Ice

The "Tauern Window" is a geological sensation: the highest mountains of the Hohe Tauern consist of rock strata which form the lowest geological layers in the Alps. In addition, there are four massive gneiss cores at the centre of this "geological window". Moulded from liquid magma, today they form such famous peaks as the Grossvenediger or the Hoher Sonnblick. After fire, ice then became the formative force in the Hohe Tauern, as during the ice ages the Alpine glaciers extended over a much larger area than today. They ground down the once V-shaped valleys to form the wider U-shaped trough valleys which predominate today.

After the extensive retreat of the ice, approximately 150 mountain lakes came into being in the corries of the Hohe Tauern; these pristine waters decorate the high mountain landscape like jewels and, like the glacier snouts, feed the sources of hundreds of mountain torrents.These torrents plunge down into the valley with primeval force, particularly during the time of the snow and ice melt, forming magnificent waterfalls at escarpments: thus, the Krimmler Waterfalls are the highest in Europe, with a total fall height of 380 m!

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