DIVISIONS DE LA CHAÎNE ALPINE
Revisione critica delle partizioni del Sistema alpino occidentale

Revisione critica delle partizioni del Sistema alpino occidentale -
ANTONIO RENATO TONIOLO
1924

DIVISIONS DES ALPES OCClDENTALES.

TONIOLO (A.-H.).

Revisione critica delle partizioni deI Sistema alpino occidentale. Firenze, Pubblicazione dell'lstituto Geografico Militare, 1925, in-8°, 169 p., 1 mappa 1/1.000.000.

Révision critique des partitions du système alpin occidental


Renato Antonio Toniolo, géographe italien, né à Pise le 7 avril 1881, mort le 9 mai 1955 à Bologne, professeur à Pise et Bologne et secrétaire général du « comité national pour la géographie » en Italie.

Criteri di divisione

É inutile ripetere quanto ormai a sazietà sostennero lo Studer*, il von SonkIar*, il MarineIIi G.*, il Porena*, sui caratteri prevalentemente « geografici » e quindi « esteriori » che deve avere una divisione orografica, a confronto del criterio « intrinseco » proprio della scienza « geologica ».

Che se noi consideriamo un complesso montuoso come un sistema, la sua limitazione in parti distinte non può avvenire che per depressioni, le quali rappresentano una vera discontinuità , fra una parte e l' altra del sistema stesso; criterio estrinseco questo, non « empirico », ma altrettanto « scientifico » quanto l'altro basato sulla natura dei terreni o sulla struttura tectonica; e che anzi, dal punto di vista geografico, può dirsi più « naturale » di qualsiasi altro.

Infatti l'individualità orografica è appunto e solamente data dalle depressioni vallive e dai valichi; cosi come in un corpo organico la divisione estrinseca in parti ha un valore morfologico maggiore, di quello che non abbia una classificazione intrinseca per tessuti ed organi, corrispondenti alle formazioni litologiche e ai plessi tectonici di un individuo orografico.

Nè a questo chiaro criterio geografico, può essere contrapposto quello fisiognomico, proposto dal von Böhm*, tentato di applicare dall' Haug*, ed augurato anche recentemente giacché la fisionomia dì una regione montuosa non presenta caratteri distintivi talmente chiari, da caratterizzare un gruppo a differenza di un altro, e con limiti cosi netti, da assumere un valore superiore a quelli idrografici, come si richiedono in una classificazione, anche se in parte convenzionale.

Critères de division

Il est inutile de répéter ce que soutinrent désormais amplement B. Studer*, U. Von SonkIar*, G. MarineIIi*, F. Porena* sur les caractères principalement « géographiques » et par conséquent « externes » que doit avoir une division orographique, par rapport au critère « intrinsèque » propre à la science « géologique ».

Si nous considérons une chaîne de montagnes comme un système, sa délimitation en sections distinctes ne peut se traduire que par des dépressions, lesquelles représentent une véritable discontinuité, entre une partie et l'autre du système même ; critère extrinsèque que celui-ci, non pas « empirique », mais tout aussi « scientifique » que l'autre basé sur la nature du terrain ou sur la tectonique, et qui au contraire, du point de vue géographique, peut être considéré comme plus « naturel » que tout autre.

En effet, l'individualité orographique est précisément et uniquement donnée par les dépressions des vallées et par les cols de montagne ; ainsi comme dans un corps organique, la division extrinsèque en plusieurs parties a une valeur morphologique supérieure à celui qui n'a pas une classification intrinsèque par tissus et organes, correspondant aux formations lithologiques et aux complexes tectoniques d'un individu orographique.

Au critère géographique évident, ne peut être opposé celui physiognomonique (connaissance de l'homme intérieur par l'observation de l'homme extérieur), proposé par von Böhm*, qu'a tenté d'appliquer É. Haug*, exprimant ainsi récemment que la physionomie d'une région montagneuse ne présente pas de caractères distinctifs tellement clairs, permettant de caractériser un massif par opposition à un autre, et avec des limites aussi nettes, susceptible de présenter une valeur supérieure aux critères hydrographiques, qui sont nécessaires dans une classification, même en partie conventionnelle.

Division Criteria

It is useless to repeat what supported amply now B. Studer*, U. Von SonkIar*, G. MarineIIi*, F. Porena*, on primarily geographical characters and therefore external that should have an orographic division, in comparison with the intrinsic character peculiar to geological science.

If we consider a chain of mountains as a system, its delimitation into distinct sections can result only in depressions, which represent a genuine discontinuity, between a party and the other of the system itself; extrinsic criterion than this, not empirical, but also scientific than the other based on the nature of the terrain or on the tectonic, and that on the contrary, from the geographical point of view, can be considered more natural than any other.

Indeed, orographic individuality is precisely and only given by the depressions of the valleys and mountain passes; thus, as in an organic body, extrinsic division into several parts has a morphological value greater than one who does not have a classification intrinsic through tissues and organs, corresponding to the lithological formations and tectonic complexes of an orographic individual.

The obvious geographical criterion cannot be opposite that physiognomonic (knowledge of the inner man by the observation of the outer man), proposed by von Böhm*, tried to apply E. Haug*, expressing so recently that the physiognomy of a mountainous region does not present sharp distinctive properties, to characterise a massive as opposed to another, and with as clear limits likely to have a value greater than the hydrographic criteria, which are necessary in a classification, even partly conventional.

* Notes bibliographiques :

Studer B. : Orographie der Schweizer Alpen, « Peterm. Mitt.»: Bd. XV, Gotha 1869, pag. 241.
Von SonkIar U. : Bemerkungen zum Aufsatz des Hern Dr. Edmond von Mojsisovics über die Grenze zwichen den Ost- und Westalpen, in « Zeit. Deut. Oesterr. Alpenver. », Bd. VI, Munchen, 1875, pag. 236 e seg.
MarineIIi G. : Sui criteri da seguirsi per la ripartizione dei sistemi montuosi nella Geografia in generale e nella Geografia didattica in particolare (1892), in «Scritti Minori di Giovanni Marinelli », voI. II, Firenze, 1920, pag. 365 e seg.
Porena P. : A quali distinzioni e individuazioni sistematiche debbano sottoporsi dalla Geografia le montague della Penisola Italiana, in base alle raggioni scientifiche combinate colle opportunita didattiche, e quali siano più accetabili nelle loro esteriori divisioni, in « Atti II Congresso Geogr. ItaL del 1895 », Roma, 1896, pag. 483 e seg.
Von Böhm A. : Die Eintheilung der Ostalpen, in « Geogr. Abhandl. »: Bd. I. Wien: 1887, pag. 331.
Haug É. : Les régions naturelles des Alpes, in « Annales de Geographie », T. III: Paris, 1894, pag. 150 e seg.

Compte rendu critique de Raoul Blanchard

Schema di partizione delle Alpi Occidentali

Divisione : ALPI OCCIDENTALI (Di Saluzzo)
Alpes occidentales (Lavallée), Westalpen (v. Buch), Western Alps (Ball)
Zone (n. 2)
Sezioni (n. 6)
Gruppi (n. 13)
Sottogruppi (n. 37)

A ) ALPI PIEMONTESI (Omboni)
     Alpes Piémontaises (Falsan)
     Piemontesische Alpen (Fischer)
     Piedmontese Alps (n. n.)

I. ALPI MARITTlME (Balbi)
   Alpes Maritimes (Pinkerton)
   Seealpen (Desor)
   Maritime Alps (Ball)

a) Alpi Liguri (Pozzi e Garollo)
    Alpes Liguriennes (Levasseur)
    Ligurische Alpen (Studer)
    Ligurian Alps (Keit Johnston)

1) Gruppo del Settepani
2) Gruppo del Saccarello
3) Catena del Mongiòje

b) Alpes du Var (Shrader)
    Alpi del Varo (Vaccarone)
    Varo AIpen (Stieler)
    Var Alps (n. n.)

1) Groupe du Mt Clapier
2) Groupe de l'Enchastraye
3) Groupe du Pelat

II. ALPI CÒZIE (Balbi)
    Alpeş Cottiennes (Bruiguière)
    Cottische Alpen (v. Roon)
    Cottlan Alps (Bali)

a) Gruppo del Monviso (n. n.)
     Groupe de Mont-Viso (Levasseur)
     Monte-Viso Gruppe (v. Haardt)
     Viso Alps (Ball)

1) Catene del Monviso
2) Chalne du Parpaillon

b) Alpi del Monginevra (n. n.)
     Alpes du Mont-Genèvre (Levasseur)
     Mont-Genèvre Alpen (Umlauft)
     Genèvre Alps (Ball)

1) Alpi Valdesi
2) Catena dell'Assietta

III. ALPI GRÀIE (Balbi)
     Alpes Grées (Lavallée)
     Grajischen Alpen (v. Roon)
     Grajan Alps (Ball)

a) Alpi del Gran Paradiso (Badia)
     AIpes du Grand Paradis (Vivien de St.Martin)
     Grand Paradis Alpen (v. Sonklar)
     Paradis Alps (Ball)

1) Alpi di Lanzo
2) Massiccio del Gran Paradiso
3) Groupe du Rutor

b) Alpes de Tarentaise (n. n.)
     Alpi della Tarantàsia (n. n.)
     Alpen der Tarentaise (v. Sonklar)
     Tarentaise Alps (Ball)

1) Massif de la Vanoise
2) Mont Bellachat
       

B) ALPES FRANÇAISES (n. n.)
     Alpi Francesi (Fogliani e Roggero)
     Französische Alpen (n. n.)
     French Alps (n. n.)

I. ALPES DE PROVENCE
(Levasseur)
  Alpi di Provenza (Cherubini)
  Provencer Alpen (v. Böhm)
  Provence Alps (n. n.)

a) Petites Alpes de Provence (Levasseur)
    Prealpi di Provenza (Pasanisi)
    Provençalischen Voralpen (Heiderich)
    Provence Little Alps (n. n.)

1) Chaines des Plans
2) Chaines de la Sainte Victoire
3) Chaines de la Sainte Baume
4) Montagnes des Maures
5) Estérel

b) Grandes Alpes de Provence (Levasseur)
    Grandi Alpi di Provenza (Marinelli G.)
    Provençalischen Hochalpen (n. n.)
    Provence Great Alps (n. n.)

1) Groupe de l'Asse
2) Groupe de la Bléone

II. ALPES DU DAUPHINÉ
(Vivien de St.Martin)
    Alpi del Delfinato (Pozzi)
    Dauphiné Alpen (v. Böhm)
    Dauphiné Alps (Ball)

a) Petites Alpes du Dauphiné (Levasseur)
     Prealpl del Delfinato (Agosta)
     Dauphiner Voralpen (Heiderich)
     Dauphiné Little Alps (n. n.)

1) Montagne du Luberon
2) Montagne de Vaucluse
3) Le Devoluy
4) Le Vercors

b) Grandes Alpes du Dauphiné (Levasseur)
    Grandi Alpi del Delfinato (Badia)
    Dauphiner Hochalpen (Heiderich)
    Dauphiné Great Alps (n. n.)

1) Massif du Champsaur
2) Massif du Pelvoux
3) Alpes de Maurienne
4) Catena del Cenisio

III. ALPES DE SAVOIE (Clerc)
     Alpi di Savòia (Fogliani e Roggero)
     Savoyeschen Alpen (v.       Klöden)
     Savoy Alps (Ball)

a) Gruppo del Monte Bianco
    Massif du Mont Blanc (Lavallée)
    Montblanc Gruppe (Studer B.)
    Mont Blanc Group (Ball)

1) Catena del Monte Bianco
2) Massif de Beaufort

b) Alpes du Chablais
    Alpi del Ciablese (Bertacchi)
    Chablais Alpen (Supan)
    Chablais Alps (n. n.)

1) Groupe de la Dent du Midi
2) Monts de la Drance

c) Grandes Alpes de Savoie (Levasseur)
    Prealpi della Savòia (Agosta)
    Savoyeschen Voralpen (n. n.)
    Savoy Little Alps (n, n.)

1) Groupe du Reposoir
2) Massif des Bauges
3) Massif de la Grande-Chartreuse

-

Critical review of Raoul Blanchard

My colleague Toniolo, Professor to University of Pisa, author of interesting work on the limit North of the olive tree, the Upper Adige, Trentino, the Tyrol, and highly qualified then to care for alpine geography recently published under the auspices of the military geographical Institute of Florence, an important study on the regional divisions of the Western Alps. It will allow us to praise here the activity of this Institute, which publishes a good geographical journal, the Universo, and publishes also the monographs.

The Western Alps, such as understood by Mr. Toniolo, begin to Mont Blanc, which seems very justified, and extend to the S.E. until colle di Cadibona, above Savona. I have never walked the mountains to E. of the Roya, it is hard to say for me whether a considerable extension is justified or not. It would be necessary, to indicate a boundary between Alps and Apennines, a set of tectonic, genetic, morphological, and human considerations whose I don't have. But what I do then admit, is that the author arrange in the Alps the Jura mountains on the left bank of the Rhône, and especially the small massive Provencal, Estérel, Maures, Sainte-Victoire, Étoile, Alpilles. It's not there, from any point of view, one of the parts of the Alps.

In the framework so traced, the author traces the divisions based on extensive bibliography, which includes more than 200 numbers. Then he studied, as well, each of the parties that he has distinguished, using carefully all the appellations of the same order which have been applied to the area in question. Thus, as the title also indicates, the work is of historical nature; It is a critical review of the different divisions proposed by a large number of savants, an attempt to put them in agreement. I confess that I do not accept, from a geographical point of view, such a method to solve the problem. It seems to me that this is not in relying on authors, indeed very respectable, but working at a time where the Alps were very poorly known, that we can distinguish one region to another; It requires accurate knowledge of the territory, and an introduction to the principles of the actual geography. Moreover, we will judge, examining the divisions proposed by Mr. Toniolo, if his view is justified.

The author first distinguishes two major divisions: Piedmont Alps and the French Alps. This is obvious. What is less clear is that the Piedmontese Alps penetrate widely in France: their boundary follows the Isère from Bourg-Saint-Maurice to Aiton, and the Arc from Aiton to Lanslebourg; further, it follows the Durance from Mont-Genèvre at the confluence of Ubaye, goes back the Ubaye and the Bachelard until col d' Allos, down to the Verdon until Castellane, then comes along the Vaïre and Var. A such delineation raises a lot of comments.

The first, which applies to all of the work is that the author use always, like limit of subdivisions, the rivers. The geographical unit in the Alps, it seems to be the massif. This is true for some strong units such as Mont Blanc, the Vercors, but also they are valleys which are unity. But Mr. Toniolo break this unity: the Tarentaise a half of its territory is in the Piedmont Alps, the other in the French Alps. Same for the Maurienne. Briançonnais is similarly torn apart, and also Embrunais, Ubaye. Is there a better cell closed, more homogeneous than that which runs the upper Verdon, upstream of Castellane ? However, Mr. Toniolo put one half, in Piedmont, the other in France. This is not acceptable.

Cutting regions which are real geographical units, Mr. Toniolo assembles other units who are surprised to be coupled. How he want enclose the verdant Basse-Tarentaise, wooded masses of the Grand-Mont and the Grand Arc, with all helvetic aspect, to a division which includes, at the same time, the Embrumais, the Ubaye so dry ravaged by torrents, the Haut-Var, Alps of Liguria almost to Genoa? What these "Alps Tarentaise" dummy unit also need to be attached to the Piedmont, while leaving the French Alps on the left bank of the Maurienne? These are games drawing on maps, but which gives a vivid reality denial. The Piedmontese Alps are for us, those of Padan slope of the Alps, with their crystalline masses, their short and fast valleys, their already abundant moisture, their chestnut forests. If, on the edge of the collar, on the high Varaita, high Cluson, high Dora Riparia, appear already the types of rocks,, of relief, the dry climate, the way of life of Ubaye and of Briançonnais, this it's not a sufficient reason to to arrange these regions, and even less the Tarentaise, in the Alps of Piedmont, the contrary operation would be even arbitrary.

Now let us take the division which the author indicates like the French Alps. There we have sorrow to see reappearing triumphantly the old distinction, which we often tried to exorcise, between the Alps of Savoy, Dauphine and Provence. We have already pointed out many times that it is here that divisions of a historical nature, and that geographical reality is quite different. We have, therefore, in the same boat Massif des Sept-Laux, with its glaciers, lakes, abundant streams, forests, and the Luberon, which is a typical Provencal mountains! In contrast, two twin massif of the Chartreuse and Vercors are allocated one at the Savoy, he other one with the Dauphiné ? The Maurienne of left bank becomes from the Dauphiné! All this is inadmissible. So when we will want to recognize that the great divisions of the French Alps are of longitudinal nature, and at the same time tectonic's distinctions , morphological and especially climatic distinctions irremediably oppose North and the South, generally with a true brutality of contrasts?

Mr. Toniolo is not angry at me to express myself with this franchise: but he has stroked a sensitive nerve. It was very difficult to remove a mistake now classic I try hard for 18 years. However, in this book carefully produced, I see this error reappear with all its litany of Graie Alps, Cozie, Maritimes, Large and Small Savoy Alps, Dauphine, Provence. I then to prevent me from shouting my disowning! with the hope that it is for the last time.

Raoul Blanchard.