The Monte San Giorgio

The Monte San Giorgio is located at the bottom of the Southern Alps, between Canton Ticino (Switzerland) and the regions of Monte Pravello and Monte Orsa in Province of Varese (Italy). Surrounded by the two southern branches of the Lake Lugano, the mountain reaches its maximum height at 1097 m on Swiss territory.

Monte San Giorgio is to be counted among the world's most important deposits of marine fossils of the Middle Triassic (247–237 million years ago). Unlike the other famous deposits – which generally represent a unique fossiliferous level attributed to a precise period in geological history – Monte San Giorgio shows at least five different levels, each of which can contain more than one fossil association. This peculiar aspect allows the evolutionary study, over several million years, of specific groups of organisms assigned to the same environment.

From these five levels more than 20'000 fossils have so far been extracted. Overall, there are about 25 species of reptiles, 50 species of fishes, over 100 species of invertebrates besides various species of vegetable, particularly conifers.