Ararat: ascent to the mountain where Noah's Ark landed

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According to a legend, Noah's ark landed on the summit of this ancient volcano at the end of the universal flood told in the Holy Bible, in an inviolable place characterized by eternal snows that shine illuminated by the sun.


Mount Ararat

Ararat is located in eastern Turkey at the end of the Armenian chains in a massive block, which is a reference point visible even at a great distance, thanks to the snowy peak of the great Ararat, which rises over five thousand meters, combined towards the south - east to the regular cone of the small Ararat, whose top is slightly less than four thousand meters.

Mount Ararat lies beyond the limit of eternal snow, set at 4300 meters on the northern slope and about 4700 meters on the southern slope.


Coming to the mountain from the west, that is to say coming from the Armenian highlands, located at about 2000 meters above sea level, the feeling of greatness decreases, with a difference in height reduced to just 3000 meters and with curved slopes with a slight slope that only increases when approaching the summit .

From north and north-east, Mount Ararat presents itself with all its grandeur, showing a facade of 4400 meters above the Arace steppe at 800 meters above sea level.

Its geological situation is connected with the sutures of the earth's crust.


In Armenia there are quite different units, which make this region an authentic geological node.

In fact, both the Anatolian and the Central Iranian clods are tight as if in a grip between the Arab clod, which moves in a northerly direction, and the Eurasian one.

Violent tectonic movements explain the overlap of high plateaus and deep depressions such as that of the Arace.


These movements are still active, as demonstrated by the catastrophic earthquakes that periodically affect Eastern Turkey, concentrated above all on the major sutures and acting in the sense of detachment.

The volcanic nature of the mountain is revealed by the perfection of its lines.

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This volcano, currently extinct, originated in the Pliovillafranchian period, between the Tertiary and the Quaternary.

The whitish area at the base is very eroded, in it the substratum of ancient rocks emerges, rejuvenated by vertical tectonic movements before being fossilized.

From the numerous eruptive vents and radial fissures, twenty large basalt and andesite flows subsequently descended and overlapped, forming the low slopes of the volcano at around three thousand meters, characterized by a dark color.

The summit consists of two trachyte domes, both over five thousand meters high and separated by a frozen saddle of 400 meters.

The Mediterranean latitude and the aridity caused by the great summer heat explain the high limit of the perennial snow of Mount Ararat, which feed an ice sheet, having an area of ​​about ten square kilometers, which covers the top extending on the northern slope, where three shelves , distributed at different heights, they act as natural reservoirs of snow.

The major glaciers are that of Mihtepe to the southeast, that of Parrot to the northwest and that of Abich to the northeast.

The first to reach the summit of Ararat on 27 September 1829 was Frederic Parrot, a Russian physician and professor at the then university of Dorpat, now Tartu in Estonia.


In 1845 it was the turn of the geologist Hermann Abick, who climbed the mountain from the east, while in 1840 it was a Russian scientific expedition to reach the top.

However numerous ascent attempts failed, reinforcing the reputation of an inaccessible mountain, especially due to the volcanic nature of the mountain, which makes the climb extremely difficult due to the unstable boulders with sharp edges, and to the large difference in height to overcome.

20160915092504 (June 2021)


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