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Geology and Geomorphology

Veľká Fatra is one of the biggest core mountain ranges of the crystalline and Mesozoic zone of the Internal Western Carpathians in the Fatra-Tatra region. The crystalline core built mostly of granitoid rocks (granite, in several places crystalline slate) protrudes to the surface only on a small area in the northern part of the mountain. Mesozoic groups of beds constitute sedimentary envelope of the crystalline core and their structure is complicated. Veľká Fatra is a typical sample of the nappe structure of the mountain range and its geological structure consists of the basic tectonic units such as tatricum, Kríža nappe, Choč nappe, gemericum – nappe of Tlstá. In addition to prevailing calcareous rocks (dolomite and lime stones) marls, marl-limestone, slates, alums, conglomerates, sandstones and other rocks occur there. The adjacent Turčianska kotlina basin lies on Neogenic rocks.

The rocks of the Krížna nappe constitute mainly Hôľna Fatra with smooth, softly shaped slopes on less resistant marlites, marl-limestone, conglomerates and slates which also build the main mountain ridge (the area of Krížna 1,574m above sea level, Ploská 1,532m above sea level and Ostredok 1,592m above sea level). Among them resistant dolomites and lime stones protrude as well. This way, nappe outliers of Triassic lime stones of the Choč nappe (e.g. the Suchý vrch peak) protrude from the robust upland relief. Big part of these ridges is deforested and mountain meadows and grazing lands give a typical character to the territory according to which this section of Veľká Fatra got its name. Steep smooth grass slopes and gullies of Hôľna Fatra are highly avalancheous. The Kríža nappe also constitutes the prevalent section of Lysec.

Bralná Fatra is in sharp contrast with the upland relief because it consists of massive complexes of hard rocks in the Choč nappe (mainly lime stones and dolomites) with the cliff relief prevailing and rock faces, steps, rocky hillsides, towers, rocky windows, narrow passages and canyon-like valleys. In the western part of Veľká Fatra, impressive sceneries were created by weathering and erosion on the slopes of the Gaderská, Blatnická or Belianská dolina valleys with their carst phenomena, crack caves, crack-erosion or horizontal river caves, overhang caves or overhangs of rocks. There are several tens of cave systems with the most important caves being Mažarná, Piesková, Hubná, Guľôčková and in the Beliansky kras carst the longest cave is the Suchá cave. In some canyon-like valleys, there are bigger or smaller waterfalls mostly of occasional, seasonal nature.

On the northern and eastern part of the mountain range, there are vast calcareous sinter deposits. The most important localities are situated between Ružomberok and Podsuchá. The line of deep faults runs through the area, which together with favourable structural and geological conditions caused the welling up of springs and one of the biggest calcareous sinter sedimentation in our country. There are recent calcareous tufas and old interglacial calcareous sinters as well. There were surface and underground carst phenomena created - waterfalls, terrace steps, heaps and caves. Several of them are protected by law and declared to be natural monuments: Bukovinka NM and Jazierske travertíny NM. Interesting formations are located also in the area of Rojkov and Stankovany where a little lake and travertine heap declared the nature reserve were created.

Veľká Fatra relief is considerably dissected with a high altitude span and it belongs to high highlands. The territory is susceptible to erosion, which is supported by building roads to make forests available, logging, cattle grazing above the timber line and tourism in addition to slope inclination level and original properties.

The Turčianska kotlina basin is a type of the deep, compact tectonic depression having the nature of the rift valley filled mostly with quaternary deposits. Smoothly formed, mostly flat to mildly undulated relief with terraces and alluvial cones in the submountain of the Mošovská pahorkatina upland gives the country a look of aesthetically balanced and landscaped area used for agricultural purposes.

Climate and waters

In terms of climate, the territory belongs to mildly warm and cold mountain area with significant geographical altitudinal levels; the highest parts of Veľká Fatra belong to the cold to very cold climatic area. The territory has a mountainous precipitation regime with amount of precipitation between 800 to 1,200mm. The whole territory is rich in surface and ground water concentrated mostly in calcareous rocks and numerous springs are used to supply drinking water to the population. In 1987, Veľká Fatra was declared a protected zone of the natural water accumulation.