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From 130 to 100 million years
ago, this part of the Ardèche region consisted of high sea
bottoms that surrounded the island that is now the Massif Central.
Shell, coral, and other fossil deposits produced very thick layers
that formed a large sedimentary block. Since the Tertiary era, the
Ardèche River has carved this block with several meanders.
The Combe d'Arc is located in the curve of one of these meanders.
The following meander is that of the Pont d'Arc, a geological curiosity
that must have been even more impressive during prehistoric times.
During the Quaternary era (less than 2 million years ago), the water
infiltrated into the block of deposits and formed underground cavities.
Other cavities in close proximity to the Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc cave
were also visited, and sometimes decorated, by prehistoric humans.
climatic conditions during the Aurignacian
period in this region alternated between temperate and cold phases.
Meanwhile, the cold phases dominated, as shown by the formation
of steppe landscapes (vast savannas with thickets of trees in valleys
and on river banks). The animals present at this time are the same
as those represented in the cave. It is probable that there were
also small mammals such as fox, hare
and rabbits, as well as lagopeds