This small butte is one of only a handful of outliers of a higher plateau, now almost completely eroded. From its “summit”, you can contemplate more than 60 million years of geological history!

Accessible on foot from the village, from the car park across from the convent (follow the arrows): 44° 20’ 17” N 1° 38’ 37” E.

Free access to the public.


An “outlier”

In geology, an “outlier” is an isolated residual fragment of an eroded geological layer. At its base, it is surrounded by older geological outcrops, exposed by the erosion of the more recent layers topping them.


Butte de Vaylats

The butte is a rare outlier of marl and white limestone, deposited some 20 million years ago, at a time when the entire sector was covered with lakes and marshes. On the Causse de Limogne, nearly all of that layer of marl and white limestone has now been stripped by erosion, causing much older limestone (by 160 million years) to reappear.


Water and farming

Humans have been able to turn the unique features of this site to their advantage:

  •   By cultivating the loamy soil at the foot of the butte, far superior to the limestone on the causse;
  •    By digging numerous wells in the sector to collect the run-off water retained by the clay of the butte before it disappeared into the fissures and leaks in the limestone;
  •    And lastly by using the relief of the butte to build a windmill (which no longer exists).
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