How is a geological map analyzed

Analyzed stone by stone

Analyzed stone by stone

The Federal Office of Topography Swisstopo has added the map 1135 Buchs to the Geological Atlas of Switzerland. The map including the interesting geology of the region was presented yesterday at Werdenberg Castle.

GRAVE. Map 1135, or sheet 149 of the Geological Atlas of Switzerland in the 1:25 000 format, is now available. It shows the Buchs region, more precisely Gams to Plattis in the north-south direction, from west to east Unterwasser to Vaduz. Buchs represents the 149th map of Switzerland. However, there are still numerous regions that are not geologically sufficiently documented. The map presentation in Werdenberg Castle yesterday afternoon revealed that the entire Swiss network is expected to be completed in 2030. Just in time for the 100th anniversary. Because the first geological map of this special atlas came out in 1930.

Great expense

It takes a lot of time and money before such a card can be issued. "It takes four and a half years and costs between 400,000 and 600,000 francs," explains the head of the geological survey and raw materials of Switzerland, Andreas Möri. However, the federal agency has no income. "As a federal government, we have the mandate to geologically document the Swiss," he explains. What the general public pays, he emphasizes, they get back several times. Because the basic geological data is very valuable for studies and projects. And since you already have the map material, these studies and projects are more cost-effective.

Above all, geological offices, engineering offices, tourism offices - for example, if they want to set up a geological nature trail in the region - as well as cantonal and federal offices can benefit from this federal work.


“You turn every stone over and knock on it with the geologist's hammer. Stones are often taken home for analysis, and after they have been cut into very thin slices, they are viewed under the microscope, "says Andreas Möri, describing the greatest effort in the process until a new card is created. "When inspecting the field, you don't walk on the path, but criss-cross, examining every square meter, walking into steep terrain, through meadows and forests, but also walking around in creek beds."

The authors described the geological composition of the region in short lectures. They emphasize several times that you benefit a lot from the preparatory work of their predecessors before you can get an idea for yourself in nature.

Not always to the delight of nature: "There have been aggressive cows who were against geologists," describes Pius Bissig. Nonetheless, his colleague Tobias Ibele says: "It's wonderful work." Or as Andreas Möri puts it: "The interesting thing about geology is that we understand what we stand on every day."

A little geological puzzle

The geology in the area of ​​the Buchs map is always interesting. Heinrich Naef explains that the region represents the transition from the Central to the Eastern Alps. "In addition, Buchs is at a hotspot for seismic activity."

But sometimes geologists are at the end of their game. Like on Grabserberg. At one point there is rock that looks “exotic”: “You can see it, you can date it. But it is completely isolated and nobody knows what the geological origin is and how it got there, ”says Andreas Möri.