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A scientific journey through geo-ecological extremes – landscape dynamics at the lower Danube between the Black Sea and the Carpathian Volcanoes

The CTC-Trail (“Coast-to-Carpathians”) is a conceptual educational geo-trail that is being created to guide visitors through a transect from the southern parts of the western Black Sea area grasslands through the steppe regions of Dobrogea and eastern Walachia to the young volcanoes of the Carpathian Mountains, highlighting aspects of natural and cultural importance along this route. The journey also spans an arc from dry and hot steppe landscapes shaped by exogenic processes to ones formed by active endogenic forces under temperate climate. At the land-sea-contact the focus lies beside climate on the dynamic development of the Black Sea coast, the loess-palaeosol sequences that build up the cliffs and the reciprocal effects of land use and tourism. After crossing southern Dobrogea and the wide valley of the lower Danube, a further significant station is the endorheic basin at Balta Alba (white lake) focusing on the endogenic and exogenic conditions for the formation of alkaline lakes, the accretion of aeolian dust and the distinct features of the steppe flora and fauna. Lastly, in the Carpathians, past and present effects of endogenic forces, highlighting the ongoing orogenesis, can be found at the site of mud volcanoes, active salt diapirism and finally the Ciomadul volcanic complex with its fumaroles and solfataras which are also important locations as natural reserves and touristic destinations. By raising interest and awareness for the history and the dynamic development of the Romanian landscapes, the geo-trail also tries to add to the available forms of sustainable tourism.


Markus Finke (1), Ulrich Hambach (2) & Mihai Orleanu (3)
Universität Bayreuth, Germany (1); Universität Bayreuth, Germany (2); Centrul de Ecologie Montană, România (3)
GeoUtrecht 2020
Romania, Carpathian Mountains