Geo landscapes in Gata cape
Geology in Gata Cape (Cabo de Gata) as a different way to understand landscape
Cabo de Gata mountains are built-up with very peculiar materials; mainly there can be found magmatic rocks coming from very ancient volcanic activity. It is something very different to that happened in the mountains bordering this are, that are named Baetic Ranges (sierras Béticas) and are mainly metamorphic; also these magmatic materials are very different to those others in the nearby coastal depressions, that are mainly compounds of seaside shores and shallow-water sedimentary rocks, where can be found fossil shells of Strombus bubonius… a big sea-snail that lived here 200.000 years ago (actually can be found in tropical areas as Senegal coast).
The volcanic condition of Gata Geopark rocks is due to its intense and active geological past, starting aproximately 15 millions of years ago, just when the magamatic flows started to arise up to the surface of the sea in the not faraway area of Alboran Sea (Alboran island is actually part of Almeria province, offshore). Indeed these Gata rocks are part of this huge magmatic area, just emerged from the sea at this point and in the named Alboran island. The last Gata Geopark active volcanoes were extinguished around 7,5 million years ago.
Just at Gata Cape there can be recognized unique massive emergent volcanic rocks, that have been identified by geologists as volcanic domes. A volcanic dome is an elevation in the land (can be up to 500 metres altitude) shaped as a coliflower or dome, that is the solidification result of very dense lava; this density avoid that lava mass move away by gravity as a fluid, and become solid very nearby to the place where it came up to the surface. Sometimes pressure generate lava explosions, generating a new class of rocks called Piroclastics or Ignimbrites (literally fire-rocks).
Between two different geological moments, lava density can be changed and become less dense… and flow then as a lava river. These three different density moments can be perfectly spotted in some areas at Gata GeoPark.
The hexagonal structures that can be seen in some of the places are generated by lava retraction after have being cooled, generating one of the most amazing Geo landscapes in the world.
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