Field trip

The optional, three-day pre-conference field trip will bring participants to the Alps of Western Switzerland. More details on the itinerary are described below.

Registration for the field trip is now closed. Conference participants can sign up for the field trip waiting list: In case registered field trip participants cannot come we will contact people on this waiting list.

Geological cross-section through the Western Swiss Alps: from the Molasse Basin to the overriding Adriatic plate

Prof. Jean-Luc Epard, Dr. Martin Robyr, Nicolas Buchs, Adrien Pantet

Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Lausanne

General information

The weather in the Alps at low altitudes is usually pleasant in September. Expected day temperatures are around 21°C but can drop to 10°C during a rainy period. If necessary, the field trip program will be adapted to weather conditions. Check the Valais weather forecast.

Most of the sites to visit are up in the mountains, where the weather can be rather cold. Participants should be prepared to bring warm and waterproof clothing adapted to walk in mountainous areas. Trekking will be mainly on good quality paths or trails, however, good and comfortable light mountain shoes (trekking shoes) are highly recommended. Protection against sunshine (hat, sunglasses, sunscreen etc.) is also essential.

Transportation is planned with minibuses and/or cars.

Accommodation for both nights will be at the Hotel Ibis in Sion.

Provisional program (see map below)

Day 1: Friday, September 7th

From the foreland basin to the pre-Alpine basement

Departure from the University of Lausanne (9:00).

  • Lavaux: Panorama on the Western Alps from a famous touristic location (UNESCO world heritage site)
  • Dorénaz: Upper Carboniferous deposits in the Aiguilles-Rouges Massif
  • Emosson: Panorama on the Mont-Blanc Massif; migmatites in the basement (pre-Alpine history) and thrusting of the Alpine Morcles nappe

Night in Sion

Day 2: Saturday, September 8th

The Helvetic nappe system

Departure from the hotel (8:30)

  • Sanetsch dam: Panorama on the frontal part of the Helvetic Wildhorn nappe and on the Prealps nappe system
  • Sanetsch pass: Helvetic nappe stack
  • Trek on the Tsanfleuron lapiaz: highly sheared, overturned limb of a fold nappe; Eocene transgression, from continental deposits to Oligocene volcanoclastic flysch deposits

Night in Sion

Day 3: Sunday, September 9th

Continent to ocean transition

Departure from the hotel (8:30)

  • Nax: Panorama on the Lower Penninic nappe system; the Valais and Briançonnais paleogeographic domains
  • Evolène-Arolla: Transition from continent to ocean; the distribution and significance of breccia deposits and ophiolite material in the ocean derived Tsaté nappe (accretion prism during subduction)
  • Touristic stop at the Pyramides d’Euseignes (if time allows)

Return to the University of Lausanne


If you have any questions regarding the field trip please contact us.