Alpine Research Station Furka (ALPFOR)       

Geological setting
The Furka pass, just as the Oberalp-Pass near Andermatt, forms a saddle that interrupts the large East-West tectonic fault north of the main devide of the Alps forming the Inn-Rhine-Rhone transverse. Placed in the granitic and phyllitic (mica sheest) core of the Alps, there is a small strip of metamorphic marl and dolomite (the latter, at places transformed into a smeary, whitish mass), both at the base of the northern flanks of the valey, reaching up to the Furka Pass. These calcareous materials are the likely cause for the existance of the pass, given their erodability.
The intimate neighborhood of calcium rich substrate in a otherwise predominantly siliceous world exlains the biological richness of the region. The pass itself and the summits around, mounting to more than 3000 m elevation, form the watershed between three major Europea river systems: The Rhine (to which the Reuss is a tributary) draining to the North Sea, the Rhone feeding the Mediterranean, and the river Po connecting to the Adriatic sea. A few km to the East is the origin of the river Inn connecting to the anube and the Black Sea. The region reaches a lot of pecipitation (up to 1500-2000 mm) and thus, plays a major role for the hydroelectric industry.
All glaciers around Furka Pass are at a rapid retreat, with permafrost melting and new terrain released from ice, contributing to the attraction of the region for mineral collectors.