Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Field trip to Montserrat

As part of the conference I went on one of the field trips to the famous jagged and "mystical" mountain of Montserrat, just north of Barcelona. It was great to get out in to the countryside and see a bit of the local area other than the towns and cities.The area is also well known for rock climbing and more recently for base jumping.... there is a very recent youtube video of a guy in a flying suit going through the small hole on the left of Montserrat - check it out and see if you believe it is real...

The field trip participants looking for coral and foram fossils

Mighty Montserrat - can you spot the small hole on the left (<5m p="" wide="">

Montserrat is famous for its monastery, perched precariously on the side of the steep mountain, but we were there to look at the rocks and learn about the geological history of the area. Montserrat is an old, eroded delta conglomerate and soil sequence, with the spectacular spires formed due to perpendicular faults and weathering.

Our geology guides - Mark and Alberto and their handy white board

the conglomerate overlying the red soil layers... washed smooth by water

We also had a traditional late, long, spanish lunch - so I had to keep snacking on the wild blackberries and figs that I found at some of the sites to keep me going until 2pm...

In the afternoon we walked a little way up Montserrat and went into the caves - formed because the rock is cemented by calcite.. but the clay in the rock makes all the speleothems (stalagmites and stalagtites) red, rather than their normal white. 
Red speleothems

Hopefully I will get back here some day and climb and explore some more... it is a spectacular place.

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