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Uzonka Educational Trail – Essentials

Type of the trail: The Uzonka Nature Trail is a ring-shaped freely accessible trail arranged with thematic tables of geological-ecological topics. The trail tables provide an advanced knowledge of geology and ecology, thus they do anticipate some basic concepts of the subjects. The trail is promoted with the concept of “Open Air University”. Because of the rich presence of illustrations on tables the trail is also recommended for school groups.

Purpose: While promoting the local geological and ecological values we want to give an outlook to similar natural processes taking place in the world. Putting emphasis on some topics, we want to highlight some recent findings of science and would like to clarify and put forward some exciting scientific relationships. Among the discussed topics, one can find disputable and classic examples as well.

Length: The length of road ring is 8.8km, the walk-branches sum an additional 6km respectively.

Degree of difficulty: The trail is primarily recommended for pedestrians but off-road bike and horse rides can be organized as well, in dry weather off-road driving is an easy task, too. The eastern slope of the trail section (between tables7-8) has a medium difficulty.

Access: Pedestrian tourists arriving by train can get to Ozunca-Băi from the Bixad railway station along the blue dot signed trail. Those arriving by cars or regional bus may use both points 1 and 10 as a starting point.

Meals and lodging: At Ozunca-Băi, dining and accommodation options are currently limited (see map) but the neighboring Tusnad, Bixad settlements possess an excellent infrastructure.

Safety: Public safety descriptions characteristic to the region apply in the same manner to the Uzonka geotrail. However in the locations marked with the red triangle special attention is required because of the dangers associated with an open-pit quarry and shepherd dogs.

Stone gallery, info-point: According to our plans, a stone gallery shall be set up where detailed multilingual tour guiding materials shall be available.

The general geological framework of Szeklerland

The most significant events of the Carpathian geodynamic evolution during the Cretaceous-Miocene period, besides the Maramureș Basin, were recorded and preserved in the richest way by the geology of Szeklerland and its surroundings, so that our region in terms of geology is one of the most diverse natural museums.

By the famous earthquake epicenter found in Vrancea (at about 60 km), our space is also a contemporary laboratory which is the cradle of many scientific models and riddles, in terms of structural geology.
Szeklerland can be proud of the youngest volcanoes of the Carpathians with an age about 30,000 years. The youngest one, the Ciomadu volcano, holds also a volcanic crater captured lake (St. Anne Lake). Similar lakes are found only in the Eifel Mountains (Germany) in Europe.

Along the Racoșul de Jos-Ojdula axis, in the east-west direction, we find many structural provinces of the Carpathian subduction zone. Thrust-sheets of the Carpathian thrust-sheet (nappe) system are younger and younger towards east: while the trust sheets of Eastern Transylvanides have already accumulated during the Early Cretaceous, the Late Miocene sediments of the Carpathian foreland have recorded even the last significant movements of Carpathian orogenesis.

Ophiolites (fragments of oceanic crust) confer not only attraction but also an increasing scientific importance and value for the  Eastern Transylvanid nappes  forming the Perșani Mountains. The Transylvanides hold Earth mantle inclusions (xenolites), as well as the jurassic Ammonites fauna of Racoșul de Jos, described already by Ferencz Herbich, or the basalt columns from Racoșul de Sus, respectively the Orban Balázs Cave from Mereni that deepens into the Late Jurassic shallow marine limestone deposits of the Vârghiș-Gorge.

In the Vârghiș Valley outcrops, we can see a sedimentary succession of the Albian-Cenomanian post-tectonic wildflysch, one can say screened with an artistic ruling, while in Ozunca-Băi can be noticed some relict sediments of the Ceahlău-Severin ocean, rich in calcareous sandstones of the Berriasian-Aptian era. Above Ojdula and within the Buzău Valley, the Cretaceous and Paleogene flysch successions are keeping the secrets of the Carpathian hydrocarbon systems, from source-rocks to reservoirs, from structural elements to petrophysical details.

The Neogene sediments of the Szekler intramontane basin chain opened by the Pliocene-Quaternary strike-slip faults are hiding not only wonderful prehistoric vertebrates, as the Mastodon (Mammoth) Hays bone beds from Racoșul de Sus, but also Pliocene lignite beds.

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