- Discharge and Flood Regulation
The name "Loire" comes from Latin Liger, which is itself a transcription of the native Gaulish (Celtic) name of the river. The Gaulish name comes from the Gaulish word liga, which means "silt, sediment, deposit, alluvium", a word that gave French lie, as in sur lie, which in turn gave English lees. Liga comes from the Proto-Indo-European root *legʰ-, meaning "to lie, lay" as in the Welsh word Lleyg, and also which gave many words in English, such as to lie, to lay, ledge, law, etc.
Studies of the palaeo-geography of the region suggest that the palaeo-Loire flowed northward and joined the Seine, while the lower Loire found its source upstream of Orléans in the region of Gien, flowing westward along the present course. At a certain point during the long history of uplift in the Paris Basin, the lower, Atlantic Loire captured the "palaeo-Loire" or Loire séquanaise ("Seine Loire"), producing the present river. The former bed of the Loire séquanaise is occupied by the Loing....
Ancient Rome, Alans and the Vikings
The Romans successfully subdued the Gauls in 52 BC and began developing Cenabum, which they named Aurelianis. They also began building the city of Caesarodunum, now Tours, from AD 1. The Romans used the Loire as far as Roanne, around 150 km (93 mi) downriver from the source. After AD 16, the Loire river valley became part of the Roman province of Aquitania, with its capital at Avaricum.From the 3rd century, Christianity spread through the river basin, and many religious figures began cultivat...
During the Hundred Years' War from 1337 to 1453, the Loire marked the border between the French and the English, who occupied territory to the north. One-third of the inhabitants died in the epidemic of the Black Death of 1348–9. The English defeated the French in 1356 and Aquitaine came under English control in 1360. In 1429, Joan of Arc persuaded Charles VII to drive out the English from the country. Her successful relief of the siege of Orléans, on the Loire, was the turning point of the w...
The source of the river lies in the eastern Massif Central, in springs to the south side of Mont Gerbier de Jonc at WikiMiniAtlas44°50′38″N 4°13′12″E / 44.84389°N 4.22000°E / 44.84389; 4.22000. This lies in the north-eastern part of the southern Cévennes highlands, in the Ardèche commune of Sainte-Eulalie of southeastern France. It is originally a mere trickle of water located at 1,408 m (4,619 ft) above sea-level. The presence of an aquiferunder Mont Gerbier de Jonc gives rise to multiple sources, three of them located at the foot of Mount have been highlighted as river sources. The three streams converge to form the Loire, which descends the valley south of Mount through the village of Sainte-Eulalie itself. The Loire changed its course, due to tectonic deformations, from the original outfall into the English Channel to its new outfall into the Atlantic Ocean thereby forming today's narrow terrain of gorges, the Loire Valley with alluvium formations and the long stretch of beac...
The geological formations in the Loire river basin can be grouped into two sets of formations, namely, the basement domain and the domain of sedimentary formations. The basement domain primarily consists of metamorphic and siliceous fragmented rocks with groundwater occurring in fissures. The sedimentary domain consists of limestone and carbonaceous rocks, that, where saturated, form productive aquifers. Rock outcrops of granite or basalt also are exposed in the river bed in several stretches. The middle stretches of the river have many limestone caves which were inhabited by humans in the prehistoric era; the caves are several types of limestone formations, namely tuffeau (a porous type of chalk, not to be confused with tufa) and Falun(formed 12 million years ago). The coastal zone shows hard dark stones, granite, schist and thick soil mantle.
The river has a discharge rate of 863 m3/s (30,500 cu ft/s), which is an average over the period 1967–2008.The discharge rate varies strongly along the river, with roughly 350 m3/s (12,000 cu ft/s) at Orléans and 900 m3/s (32,000 cu ft/s) at the mouth. It also depends strongly on the season, and the flow of only 10 m3/s (350 cu ft/s) is not uncommon in August–September near Orléans. During floods, which usually occur in February and March but also in other periods, the flow sometimes exceeds 2,000 m3/s (71,000 cu ft/s) for the Upper Loire and 8,000 m3/s (280,000 cu ft/s) in the Lower Loire. The most serious floods occurred in 1856, 1866 and 1911. Unlike most other rivers in western Europe, there are very few dams or locks creating obstacles to its natural flow. The flow is no longer partly regulated by three dams: Grangent Dam and Villerest Dam on the Loire and Naussac Dam on the Allier. The Villerest dam, built in 1985 a few kilometres (a few miles) south of Roanne, has played a ke...
In 1700 the port of Nantes numbered more inland waterway craft than any other port in France, testifying to the historic importance of navigation on France’s longest river. Shallow-draught gabares and other river craft continued to transport goods into the industrial era, including coal from Saint-Étienne loaded on to barges in Orléans. However, the hazardous free-flow navigation and limited tonnages meant that railways rapidly killed off the surviving traffic from the 1850s. In 1894 a company was set up to promote improvements to the navigation from Nantes to Briare. The works were authorised in 1904 and carried out in two phases from Angers to the limit of tides at Oudon. These works, with groynes and submersible embankments, survive and contribute to the limited navigability under present-day conditions. A dam across the Loire at Saint-Léger-des-Vignes provides navigable conditions to cross from the Canal du Nivernais to the Canal latéral à la Loire. As of 2017[update], the follo...
The French language adjective ligérien is derived from the name of the Loire, as in le climat ligérien ("the climate of the Loire Valley"). The climate is considered the most pleasant of northern France, with warmer winters and, more generally, fewer extremes in temperatures, rarely exceeding 38 °C (100 °F). It is identified as temperate maritime climate, and is characterised by the lack of dry seasons and by heavy rains and snowfall in winter, especially in the upper streams.The number of sunny hours per year varies between 1400 and 2200 and increases from northwest to southeast. The Loire Valley, in particular, enjoys a pleasant temperate climate. The region experiences a rainfall of 690 mm (27.2 in) along the coast and 648 mm (25.5 in) inland.
The Centre region of the Loire river valley accounts for the largest forest in France, the forest of Orléans (French: Forêt d'Orléans), covering an area of 38,234 hectares (94,480 acres), and the 5,440-hectare (13,400-acre) forested park known as the "Foret de Chambord". Other vegetation in the valley, mostly under private control, consists of tree species of oak, beech and pine. In the marshy lands, ash, alder and willows are grown with duckweed providing the needed natural fertilizing effect. The Atlantic coast is home to several aquatic herbs, the important species is Salicornia, which is used as a culinary ingredient on account of its diuretic value. Greeks introduced vines. Romans introduced melons, apples, cherries, quinces and pears during the Middle Ages, apart from extracting saffron from purple crocus species in the Orléans. Reine claude (Prunus domestica italica) tree species was planted in the gardens of the Château. Asparaguswas also brought from northwestern France.
The river flows through the continental ecoregions of Massif central and Bassin Parisien south and in its Lower course partly through South Atlantic and Brittany.
The Loire has been described as "constantly under threat of losing its status as the last wild river in France". The reason for this is its sheer length and possibility of extensive navigation, which severely limits the scope of river conservation. The Federation, a member of the IUCNsince 1970, has been very important in the campaign to save the Loire river system from development. In 1986, the French government, the Loire-Brittany Water Agency and the EPALA settled an agreement on flood prevention and waterstorage programme in the basin, involving construction of four large dams, one on the Loire itself and three on the Allier and Cher. The French government proposed a construction of a dam at Serre de la Fare on the upper Loire which would have been an environmental catastrophe, as it would have inundated some 20 km (12 mi) of pristine gorges. As a result, the WWF and other NGOs established the Loire Vivante (Living Loire) network in 1988 to oppose this and arranged an initial me...
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The area is saturated with unexploded shells (including many gas shells), grenades, and rusty ammunition. Soils were heavily polluted by lead, mercury, chlorine, arsenic, various dangerous gases, acids, and human and animal remains.The area was also littered with ammunition depots and chemical plants. Each year, dozens of tons of unexploded shells are recovered. According to the Sécurité Civile agency in charge, at the current rate 300to 700 more years will be needed to clean the area completely. Some experiments conducted in 2005–06 discovered up to 300 shells per hectare (120 per acre) in the top 15 cm (6 inches) of soil in the worst areas. Some areas where 99% of all plants still die remain off limits (for example, two small pieces of land close to Ypres and Woëvre), as arsenic constitutes up to 175,907 mg/kg of soil samples.Smith, Corinna Haven & Hill, Caroline R. Rising Above the Ruins in France: An Account of the Progress Made Since the Armistice in the Devastated Regions in Re-establishing Industrial Activities and...De Sousa David, La Reconstruction et sa Mémoire dans les villages de la Somme 1918–1932, Editions La vague verte, 2002, 212 pagesBonnard Jean-Yves, La reconstitution des terres de l'Oise après la Grande Guerre: les bases d'une nouvelle géographie du foncier, in Annales Historiques Compiégnoises 113–114, pp. 25–36, 2009.Parent G.-H., 2004. Trois études sur la Zone Rouge de Verdun, une zone totalement sinistréeI.L'herpétofaune – II.La diversité floristique – III.Les sites d'intérêt botanique et zoologique à protége...
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