the torcal

El Torcal

El Torcal

T l Torcal of Antequera is a Natural Place located in the municipality of Antequera, in the province of Malaga in Andalusia (Spain), famous for the capricious forms that the various erosive agents have been modeling in its limestone rocks. Its extension is about twenty square kilometers. It represents a sample of the karstic landscape of Europe.



Its origins go back to the Secondary or Mesozoic Era, more concretely to the Jurassic period, that is to say, about 160 million years ago. At that time the area constituted an elongated maritime corridor that communicated, from the Gulf of Cádiz to Alicante, the primitive Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. It was the Alpine Folds, in the Tertiary or Cenozoic Era, that caused the limestone sediments deposited at the bottom of this oceanic arm to emerge, giving rise to mountain ranges, whose summits often adopted the form of "mushroom".


Geological characteristics

El Torcal está constituido por rocas calizas de tres tipos: oolíticas, brechoides y clásticas. Todas ellas tuvieron su origen en el fondo marino durante el periodo Jurásico, en el período comprendido entre 250 y 150 millones de años atrás. Los sedimentos acumulados en el fondo del mar se agregaban mediante la acción cementadora de las sales y precipitados de la disolución marina. Luego estos sedimentos fueron levantados a más de 1.000 metros sobre el nivel del mar por fuerzas tectónicas. Más tarde, una serie de fracturas generaron grietas (diaclasas) y sistemas de fallas que se entrecortan en ángulo recto (orientación NW-SE y NE-SW); la erosión y hundimiento de dichas grietas ha producido lo que llamamos hoy día callejones o «corredores». A partir de este momento el conjunto queda sometido a un proceso de erosión característico, el modelado cárstico.


The gelifracción, or fracture of the rock by the action of wedge that supposes the water that absorbs the rock and freezes by the action of the cold, along with the differential dissolution of the different limestones by the acidic effect of the atmospheric CO2 present in the water of rain, they have modeled a multitude of forms on the rocks. In the first place strata of rock, a fact that is not usual in the mountains with different porosity and capacity of water absorption. This wedge of ice has sculpted rocky singularities, generating a complete collection of natural pieces to which similarities with forms of everyday life can be attributed: the "screw" (symbolized in the logo of the place), the "sombrero", the "Forward", the "coffin", the "binoculars", the "chalice", the "dice", etc. In addition, the dissolution of the rocks at a superficial level gives rise to what is known as lenar or lapiaz, rocky terrains where it is difficult to walk.

Updated (12/9/16)

stack Kairn stones

Stacking Karn Stones

You do not find interesting the similarity with the fashion of the stacking of stones or cairn (carn in Irish, carnedd in Welsh, càrn in Scottish Gaelic, karn in Breton) is a tumulus, usually conical in shape. It is usually found in highlands, in moors, on mountain peaks or near water courses.

They vary from small heaps of loose stones to elaborate engineering works.

In Castilian, especially when the size is not very large, they are called mounds of stones, stone piles or stone cairns.

Source: Wikipedia,  Wikipedia: Kairn
Photos: Panoramio, courtesy of YMB

Originally posted 2012-02-29 20:46:48.

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