Tufière de Rolampont

Cascade de la Tuffière - source pétrifiante de la Tufière


Useful Information

Location: At Rolampont , 11 km north of Langres. From Rolampont follow Avenue du Verdun/D254 north, across D619, after after 1.3 km turn left. Single lane gravel road 100 m to the parking lot. From here its a 400m/10 min walk to the top of the Tuffière.
Open: no restriction.
[2020]
Fee: free.
[2020]
Classification: KarstKarst Spring KarstTufa Deposits Speleothemrimstone pools
Light: n/a
Dimension: L=200 m, VR=20 m, Ar=12.6 ha.
Guided tours: self guided, D=1 h.
Office National des Forêts offers 90 min guided tours after appointment.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Patrice Lanfant (2008): La bryoflore de la tufière de Rolanpont, du Val Vaubrien et de sa périphérie Bulletin de la Société de sciences naturelles et d'archéologie de la Haute-Marne, 2008, n° 7, p. 39-48.
Address: Tufière de Rolampont, 52260 Rolampont, Tel: +33-325-88-28-80.
Office de Tourisme du Pays de Langres, Square Olivier Lahalle, BP16, 52201 Langres cedex, Tel: +33-325-87-67-67. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

19th cty tufa exploited in quarries.
1972-73 area developed with stairs, fences, wooden railings and bridges and benches.
23-JUL-1982 declared a natural monument.

Description

The Tufière de Rolampont (Rolampont tufa) is the largest example of a tufa deposit in the Haute-Marne. Many springs in this area contain a lot of limestone and often it is deposited close to the spring. Rolampont is the biggest tufa deposit, but not the most popular one, which is the nearby Cascade d’Étufs. It is located in the communal forest of Rolampont and so access is possible. The site is managed by the Office National des Forêts (National Forest Office) since 1972. There are some trails and wooden railings, please don't leave the trails. The newest addition are QR codes which you can use with a smartphone app to get audio explanations for 29 locations. They are available in French, English and Netherlands. The site is also called source pétrifiante (petrifying well) because items like pottery or wood are encrusted by limestone during months or weeks.

The main site looks like a huge cake or hill. At a closer look you can see that it is actually full of water, there are hundreds of rimstone pools and the water from the spring diverts into the pools and flows downhill from pool to pool. Finally at the bottom all the water flows into the same riverbed of Vaubrien river, which is a tributary of the Marne.

The location is in the middle of the forest, but the rimstone pools are free of trees. Trees are overgrown by the tufa and die, mostly because the roots have no access to water after they are overgrown by tufa. But the rock is covered by a thick layer of moss, which helps removing the CO2 from the water and courses the precipitation of the limestone. The mosses are mostly Palustriella commutata, Eucladium verticillatum and Gymnostomum calcareum. So they are currently covered by limestone and the next moss grows on top of the limestone again. The rotting plants leave holes and pores in the rock, which is pretty porous.

In its natural state the tufa is rather soft, and it is possible to saw it easily. When it is dried afterwards it becomes hard and is a good rock for building houses. The rock is light, hard and a good insulator. So it was a popular rock for many purposes and was quarried during the 19th century. The remains of such quarries can be seen beneath the current water flow. Straight walls and huge steps are a result of the quarrying.