Der Säntis. Foto/Photo: TES.

The Säntis massif

Around 850, A monk of St. Gall mentioned the Säntis in a letter. The Benedictine monk Desiderius Wetter (1702-1751) reported in his chronicle that on 14 November 1680, two clergymen and a naturalist from Zurich climbed the Säntis with a guide from Appenzell Innerrhoden.

Today, the Säntis is a touristic hotspot, easily reachable by cable car,  a meteorological institute and a esearch center.

The mighty, stratified rocky landscape of the Säntis massif (canton Appenzell Ausserrhoden) forms the northern edge of the Alps both geographically and geologically and rises steeply above the foreland.

The rocks reveal significant differences. There are light and dark, hard and soft, vegetation-free and vegetation-covered rock layers. They were all deposited in the Cretaceous period, around 142 to 87 million years ago, under constantly changing environmental influences in a sea which forms the European continent nowadays.

The sea level was considerably higher in the Cretaceous than today, and the climate was much warmer. Each layer corresponds to a specific period. The virtual journey through time in the Steinpark starts 142 million years ago and ends 11 million years ago. The rocks tell about coral reefs in a tropical sea, about high and low tides, rivers and dramatic environmental changes.

(Source: Martin Wyss, Hans Aeschlimann, Luzi Matille, Säntis Steinpark).