The name of the mountain range comes from a shortened form of "cresta de Lac-te-mara" in the local Ladin language, which means something like "mountain ridge over the lake in the Kar (hence Karersee, or Kar lake)". Kar here refers to a semicircular shape. Lactemara developed into Latemar, the modern name first documented in the 12th century.
The Latemar massif is situated in the Dolomites to the south of the Rosengarten. A characteristic of this mountain range is the abrupt change from gently undulating Alpine pastures to sheer peaks of limestone that rise high into the sky. These diverse landscapes came about through strongly structured strata, an alternating lifting and lowering of boulders with different flooding phases and the breaking up of closed formations by different magma flows.
The mountain range consists mainly of sedimentary rock, which shows a typical strata formation. Between these sediments are strata of fossilized coral reefs, which grew in the lowering Tethys Ocean during the Triassic period.
There are also traces of volcanic activities: For example, you can see deep fissures in the main crest of the Latemar. They are not very wide (only a few meters), but up to 200 m deep. At the base of the fissure, you can find dark, rounded lava rock.
The Latemar mountain range has the shape of a horseshoe, which opens to the east. The range is subdivided into two subranges: The northern range reaches from Poppekanzel (2,460 m) to Torre dei Muss (2,402 m). The second range piles up around Monte Agnello (2,358 m). The border between South Tyrol and Trentino in Italy runs along these peaks.