|(There's also a larger version of this image.)|
We're standing near Wattens, on the south side of the Inn, and looking northwest across the Inn floodplain at the village of Baumkirchen and the Calcareous Alps behind them. The trees across the field from us line the banks of the Inn.|
The light gray mountains behind Baumkirchen consist of limestones deposited about 200 million years ago on the seafloor between Europe and Africa, when the two were much farther apart. As Europe and Africa collided about 50 million year ago, vast masses of rocks were shoved upward, and these limestones were pushed up to the north side of the present Inn Valley. Because limestones consist of calcium carbonate and so are calcareous, these are the Calcareous Alps, or "Kalkalpen". In contrast, the Alps to the south of the Inn Valley are metamorphic rocks, as we'll discuss later on.
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