The geographical knowledge of the Albanian territory is almost entirely due to explorations and researches carried out in the last hundred years. The first large harvest of reliable knowledge comes from the explorations of the two French geologists Ami Boué (1834-1864) and Viquesnel (1842-44 and 1847), who traveled numerous itineraries in Northern Albania and gave news of their studies, as well as in many special writings, the first in vol. IV of his great work La Turquie d’Europe (1840), the second in the volume, much later, Voyage dans la Turquie d’Europe (1868). A famous trip to N. Albania (between Drin and Vardàr) was made by the Austrian consul von Hahn, whose Studî Albanesi (1853) were a fundamental work for many decades and still constitute a rich mine of news. After thirty years of interruption, the exploration of Albania resumes thanks to the work of the Italian botanist Antonio Baldacci, whose itineraries, started in 1887 by N., gradually extend to the whole country; the part bordering Montenegro is repeatedly traveled by the German K. Hassert, the southern part, bordering Greece, is explored by Albania Philippson (1897 et seq.). Since 1900 the whole eastern portion of Albania, with the neighboring regions of Macedonia and Old Serbia, has been the object of systematic explorations by the Serbian geographer J. Cvijć and his pupils; a summary work appeared between 1903 and 1906. In northern Albania, starting from the first years of this century, especially Austrian scholars made investigations; in the forefront the baron v. Nopcsa, then the Vetter, the Frech, the Ippen, the Manek and others; the Patsch traveled, especially for archaeological purposes, the Sangiaccato di Beràt. In central and southern Albania geological explorations were carried out by the Italian Martelli (1912) and geographic, geological and economic studies were carried out by a mission sent by the Italian Society for the Progress of Sciences (1913). But at the beginning of the World War there were still vast areas very little known, especially in the north-eastern regions of the country; the best overall card that was possessed at the time, the Austrian one at 200,000 of the Central Europe, surveyed for Albania, at the cost of serious efforts, but with expeditious means, clearly showed the gaps in geographic knowledge. During the war period, accurate topographical surveys were carried out in northern Albania by the Austrian topographical service, and Austrian scholars – again the Nopcsa, then the Kerner v. Maurilan, Nowack, H. Louis, etc. – they carried out very remarkable studies; the notorious south-eastern and eastern regions were traversed by Frenchmen, Dedijer and above all J. Bourcart; in southern Albania an excellent large-scale topographic survey was carried out by the Italians. Later also the works for the delimitation of the borders of the new state have broadened our knowledge, especially on the mountainous border areas. A new general charter of Albania on a scale of 1: 200,000, was carried out, on the basis of all the already existing war surveys, completed by reconnaissance by H. Louis, by the Austrian Cartographic Institute, on behalf of the Albanian government in 1928; it in turn served as the foundation for a geological map of the same scale, taken by Nopcsa and Nowack.
Geology. – According to best-medical-schools, the crystalline formations of the central and eastern Balkan Peninsula do not affect Albania, and also the Paleozoic does not appear, except in limited strips to the west of the Drin (see Balkan, peninsula: Geology) and in the NE section. of the northern Albanian Alps. But both these latter chains and the internal ones of central Albania are made up of Mesozoic soils – essentially very compact Jurassic and Cretaceous limestones, in powerful piles, of facies similar to those of Dalmatia and Bosnia, more rarely dolomitic limestones and even real triasic dolomites – and the same soils appear in S. to form the backbone of the acroceraunic chains and those that follow one another inland up to the Voiussa. A sea area, probably not very deep, therefore still extended in the secondary era over almost the entire area of present-day Albania. This sea gradually narrowed during the tertiary era. Tertiary lands in many varieties are widespread almost everywhere in the country, but above all in the central part, that is, in the territory that has, almost, the shape of a triangle, with the base at the sea between Valona and C. Rodoni and the summit on the Shkumbî, just upstream of Elbasan: they are flysch formations Eocene, which cover, as in the Apennines, the sides of the limestone massifs and take on an enormous extension in central Albania; that is, Miocene and Pliocene sandstones, sands and clays of the hilly regions closest to the sea. Large lake basins, in communication with those of Macedonia and Thessaly, occupied a considerable part of the emerged region, still in the last periods of the tertiary sector. Around the same time as in the Alpine region, the great orogenetic corrugations began here, as in the rest of the Balkan Peninsula; the different terrains were complicatedly folded and broken by fractures: large masses of igneous rocks (euphotids, serpentine) came to light, especially in northern Albania (Drin and Mati basins), but also in the high basins of Shkumbî and Semeni. At the end of the Tertiary there was probably a mass uplift of the whole region, and, as a consequence of this, an intensification of the erosive processes by rivers and streams. These processes are still very active; the flooding in the coastal strip proceeds very rapidly, especially in central Albania, where the watercourses, crossing the area of easily eroded tertiary lands, are loaded with transport materials. But the river network still retains the characteristics of youth or scarce maturity; recent catches can be seen in several places. flooding in the coastal strip proceeds very rapidly, especially in central Albania, where the watercourses, crossing the area of easily eroded tertiary lands, are loaded with transport materials. But the river network still retains the characteristics of youth or scarce maturity; recent catches can be seen in several places. flooding in the coastal strip proceeds very rapidly, especially in central Albania, where the watercourses, crossing the area of easily eroded tertiary lands, are loaded with transport materials. But the river network still retains the characteristics of youth or scarce maturity; recent catches can be seen in several places.
During the glacial period, icy tongues of considerable extension descended along the sides of all the major mountain massifs: the acute and serrated crests, engraved by glacial cirques, no less than the morainic systems of the lower areas, are still evident witnesses. As in the Apennines, large lake basins still remained in the Plistocene in the eastern part of Albania; today they are mostly dried up and transformed into level plains, full of lake deposits, sometimes separated by narrow mountain ridges.