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The landscape and its turistic importance in Lopatari-Berca-Colti area, Buzau county.

The region of Lopatari-Berca-Colti, is situated in the Buzau County and it belongs to the Buzau Sub Carpathian formation. The region is bordered by the Slanic River Valley (East and North-East side), Buzau River Valley (South and West side) and Pintenul Ivanetu Mountain (North and North-West side).

In the vicinity of the mountain range (NW side), the division between Sub Carpathian formation and the mountains themselves, appears as a lower level of about 200 meters, very well marked between Sibiciu and Lopatari.

Tectonically extremely complicated, characteristic for Sub Carpathian curvature, Lopatari-Berca-Colti area is changed by intense processes of alteration, that have generated the formation of important structural elements.

There are three areas within this region, each with its own characteristics (Fig. 1.):

A. the Lopatari-Manzalesti area-with salt;

B. the Berca area-with oil;

C. the Cohi area-with amber


Salt blocks buried in silt appear on the surface of the valleys of the Jgheab, Meledic, Paraul Sarat rivers, as salt diapir structures. Reddish argillite and siltic interbeds can be found as imprinting a parallel lamination-type structure (Fig. 2. and 3.).



The diapirism of Lopatari-Manzalesti area is due to both tectonic and density variation. The blocks of salt, with a clay foundation, developed numerous clints (traces of dissolution). The whiteish colored mountain slope-beautiful flower-shaped salt crystallization-indicates the presence of sodium chlorine springs.

Lopatari-Manzalesti area is mostly characterized by the presence of salt, upon which various geological and geomorphic formations are developed. As part of Lopatari-Manzalesti, on an area of 67.5 ha the Meledic Karstic Plateau is a typical salty karst represented by geomorphic formations such as: caves, sinkholes, polje, clints, avens. Since 1973 the plateau has been declared a geological, speological, zoological and botanical Complex Nature Reserve. The vegetation of the Meledinc Karstic Plateau is characteristic for the salty soil (Fig. 4.).


Lopatari-Manzalesti area is also mentioned for its white-grayish pyramidal formation of dacitic tuffs, shaped by water-wind erosion, known as La Grunj (at Manzalesti, from the bed of the river Slanic) and a geological phenomenon, caused by the natural gas given off by the earth, called The Live Fire (at Terca village) (Fig. 5. and 6.).



Moreover, the Lopatari-Manzalesti area stands out for its distinctive landscape: the wind-shaped sandstone at Bustea Sphynx-and the pine trees and beech woods on Mociarului Lake shore.



The area suffered intense erosion which impacted the geomorphic formations such as: cuestas, ravines, hogbacks, torrent ditches, pyramid-shaped structures. Molded rock structures, presenting frequent changes of layer inclination: tilted layers, folded layers or vertical layers are everywhere you look.

The Berca Area is characterized by the presence of oil which has been exploited for 100 years. The Berca-Arbanasi structure consists of an anticlinal fold, having over 18 km. long, on the N-S direction, longitudinally and transversally tectonized through a fault system which makes that the relation between the structure flanks differs from one zone to another. It represents the most exterior geological structure of the Sub Carpathian Nappe, is situated between Slanic Valley and Saratelului Valley.

The axial zone of the anticlinal fold is represented by Pliocen sedimentary deposits outcrop, arranged almost symmetrically to the axe. Its central part has a lower saddle-like level where only Meotian marls appear.

The longitudinal and transversal fault system created pathways of hydrocarbon (especially gas) migration to the surface leading to a spectacular phenomenon: The Muddy Volcanoes. At the intersection of the anticline axis with the crosswise faults there apear the two great areas of mud volcanoes: Paclele Mari (altitude 322 m) and Paclele Mici (altitude 341 m); the first being situated at 2 km south of the second. It is one of the most interesting oil rich regions in the country, trough the fact that inside this territory are enclosed the Muddy Volcanoes Berca-Policiori-Arbanasi (Fig. 9.).


The scientific importance of the region is given not only by the muddy volcanoes, but also by the presence of endemic* shrub (Nitraria schoberi--discovered here by D. Brdndza) and by the halophile plant: Obione verrucifera, Salsola soda.

Other particularities of the zone are the landscape and also the erosion formed on the Berca-Beciu-Arbanasi anticline structure. This area has been included in the list of the protected areas in Romania, like the Geological and Floristic Reservation, since 1924. Initially covering a surface of 5 ha, now this surface extends on aprox. 30 ha. (26 ha as Geo-Eco-Marina no. 14/2008), from the Scortoasa to Berca, being added, in 2007, on the National List proposed for the Nature Sites 2000 (Fig. 10. and 11.).

The Muddy Volcanoes represent the surface exit points of the natural gases (methane) trough out the dislocation lines. Along their way to the surface, the gas raise the water from the groundwater which mixes with the material it meets on the way up (clay, gyps, marl, oil) forming the mud that comes out at the surface. The mud accumulates forming numerous cones of different dimensions, from small cones that barely rise above ground level, to cones that are 7-8 meters in height, or it flows in slow rivers, which add to the deposit already set. The aspect of the muddy plains is particular due to its total absence of vegetation, of the whitish yellow and violet color of the dried mud, of the polygonal forms of the cracks, but foremost of the cones that dominate the plains and from which the rhythmic dripping of mud brought on by the "eruptions" that are accompanied by noises and babbling. In the drier summer the volcanoes activity is weaker and the mud is thicker; in the rainy periods their activity intensifies. In the muddy plains, the torrential erosion has created a chaotic landscape with increase, ravines, ogase, meandering courses and rounded grits, a landscape likened to the one from the moon.



Not far from Berca, on the valley of the Buzau river, between Parscov and Badila, there can be found two monuments of nature of geologic and paleontological interest: "The Salt of Buzau" (0.8 ha.) and the Limestone Blocks from Badila (1.5 ha.) (Fig. 12).


The Limestone Blocks, over 40 in number, can be seen in the riverbed and on the lower level of the river, and are curiosity for this region since there is not any calcareous massif in this area.

The place known as "The Salt of Buzau," represents a slope of the Buzau valley with springs and saline efflorescence, a tectonic window, also is of geological and botanical interest. Of the forest species, only the Sea Buckthorn shrub (Hippophare rhamnoides), vegetates on the saline excess and on the excessive mineral soil.

The Cohi Area-is highlighted by the existence of the most important amber deposit from our country.

The Colti amber is a distinctive variety, named rumanit, since 1891 by the geologist Oscar Helm, who, thus, showed the differences between the Romanian variety and the Baltic one, which he named succinit. It has been declared monument of nature of geologic and paleontological interest that extends on a 2.5 ha surface. It represents a fossil resin that came from some pine tree species (Pinus succinifera). In the resin of these trees there were often caught and perfectly preserved insects and other tiny animals from the Oligocene period. The characteristic color is honey yellow or a wax, yet having a color palette which varies from brown-red to green black. The local inhabitants of Colti have named it "The Flower of Colti" (Fig. 13. and 14.).



The amber collection, the only one of its kind in the country, is found in a country style house specific to the area. Next to the beautiful jewelry and unprocessed amber resin exhibits, the museum hosts as well a collection of ethnographic objects: towels, pillows, hemp and wool processing objects, wooden household items (flasks, spoons, scissors, bells).


At the Amber Museum from Colti, you can see a nugget that weighs 1785 grams.

The Rupestrial Complex Alunis--Nucu--Fisici. The cave settlements, skits and churches from the Nucu--Fisici--Ruginoasa --Alunis area, represent the biggest concentration of skits and monarchal housing in the Romanian land. Situated at altitudes between 650 m and 1100 m, in the area of the municipalities mentioned above, they are well hidden in the woods, being had to reach (Fig. 15).

From the Amber Museum following the valley of the Colti creek, before the road ends we cross to the Rupestrial Alunis Complex, situated at about 665 m altitude, it includes the church and the three skits dug in stone (sandstone). Through the spruce forest, a small church can be seen, made out of wood, painted blue, and it hides the entrance to the skit carved in sandstone around the year 1274, by two shepherds, Vlad and Simon. Attested in 1351, the Alunis Church, has functioned as a skit for monks, having its cells dug into stone, till 1871, since then, it has been the village church.

The Lopatari--Berca--Colti area has an important touristic potential, due to the richness of its landscapes and the variety of its geological sites, unfortunately, not sufficiently capitalized.

The poor management of the reservations and of the monuments of nature (with the exception of the Muddy Volcanoes) but also the poor condition of the roads, determines a weak touristic interest in this area.


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*** (2009), Colecfia muzeala Colfi-folder, Buzau County Museum





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Author:Petre, Florina; Serban, Catalina
Publication:Geopolitics, History, and International Relations
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:4EXRO
Date:Jul 1, 2012
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