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Orjen, Crkvice (1090 m)

Virtualna ekskurzija :: Virtual excursionvirtual excursion

Crkvice is most probably the place with the heaviest precipitation in Europe (from 4000 mm/m² up to 7000 mm/m²). Crkvice is situated on the eastern side of Orjen massif on the elevation of 1040-1090 m. In the order to secure the bay of Kotor as Austrian war harbor since 1797, there was built a strong fortification line with the centre in Crkvice. The network of excellent military roads was build in that time and many of them are still in use.
The blog from September 2007:
Climate changes and talking about the present dramatic and the unusual weather behavior are "in" and popular debate, but only 8.000 - 10.000 years ago the climate changes were much more dramatic. Huge glaciers were covering Northern and the Central Europe, Alps were under the ice. The landscape has changed dramatically. Nowadays glaciers are only a pale picture of the past. Only a decade ago Slovenia had three small glaciers in the Alps (which were only modest miniatures of the huge Ice Age glaciers): Triglavski ledenik, Ledenik pod Skuto and Ledenik pod Prisankom. Today there are only gravel and moraines which indicates that there were glaciers.

Thousand kilometers southern in the Southern Balkan, glaciers of the Dinaric Mountains most probably disappeared in the time period of the end of the last Ice Age. Exceedingly interesting area was Orjen massif, which is situated on the border between Bosnia and Herzegovina, precisely Republika Srbska and Montenegro above the Bay of Kotor. The mountain range of Orjen is geologically from the s limestone of the Cretaceous period. The whole area is with the evident glaciokarst. The process of the karst is very distinctive but the former glaciers left evident landscape with U-shaped valleys and cirques. This area is with the precipitation of over 4000 mm up to 6000 mm and even more, which is among the highest in Europe so the expectation was that the process of the karst was very fast and intensive.

But where were the edges of the glaciers? Where was the lowest point? Was there a connection with the Bay of Kotor? How glaciers behaved on the karst and what was the influence of the ice to the karst processes? Those were some questions which lead Slovenian geomorphologists and climate researchers and their students to study this area in the summer 2007.

The base of the study was the detailed research of the ground navigating over the old Austrian military roads which are surprising still appliable for the transport even not renewed after the 150 years, and hiking over the wilderness. The part of the terrain research and the study has taken the place over the late spring with the final conclusions in the beginning of the September 2007.
The summer 2007 was extraordinary - the extreme lack of water so we had decided to carry the needed base potable water supplies from Slovenia. The group was divided into three teams of 6-7 persons, each team with the specific task and the area of the interest. The area was remote with no electricity so the only technical tools were GPS-s and classic maps, no notebooks with digital maps and GIS-s software tools. However... my tool, beside GPS was digital camera with the fisheye lens which I used to map the geomorphological landmarks of the area of Orjen and present them with the VR-panoramas.
Base camps of the expedition were in the territories of Republika Srbska (BiH) and Montenegro on the altitude of 1200 m up to 1800 m which was quite high as the sea was only few kilometers away. The highest peak of Orien is Zubački kabao (1894). As the summer was dry there were constant burning forests and the bush. The result of the fire was a dim landscape which is evident on the displayed panos. Once we were even fire-fighters...

The evidences of the former glaciers were different moranines which remained after the glaciers melted away. We followed the lateral moraines and map the extremes. The landscape with U-valleys and cirques indicated "classical" mountain glaciers but we found also traces of the glacier which maid be the plateau type. The findings were surprising and somehow "weird" but the picture was every day clearer as we had composed our separate findings. The ground work was from the early morning to the late afternoon or even the night, but as it was interesting the day ran out even too fast.

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