DISCOVERING THE GEOLOGY OF THE PYRENEES OF LLEIDA
A STORY THAT BEGAN MORE THAN 550 MILLION YEARS AGO
GEOLOGY: A LOOK AT THE PAST, THE PRESENT AND THE FUTURE OF THE EARTH
The geology is the fascinating science that allows us to travel through the history of life on Earth through reading rocks, fossils and landscape.
We invite you to take a fascinating journey through the ages of the Earth, to observe nature from a different perspective: that of inanimate beings, well known by most of society.
Guided by the eyes of a geologist we will learn to understand how our landscape has been moulded with the passage of millions of years in advance and we will transform the way in the future, because the Earth is alive and constant motion.
THE PYRENEES: A KEY POINT IN THE GEOLOGICAL TRIP
Catalonia is internationally renowned for its fantastic scenery vertical cliffs of the Costa Brava, bathed by the Mediterranean and mountain land to be strongly folded to the Pyrenees mountains, the crossing from east to west which our country making natural border with France, and the mountain ranges of the Litoral coast and Prelitoral, oriented north-south, parallel to the Catalan coast.
We can say, then, that Catalonia is a country made of rock, both having outstanding geological zones such as the Cap de Creus, Montserrat Mountain, the mountain of Transportation and the Pyrenees. But it is in Lleida where there is a geological heritage and a fossil record of the most important internationally, with recent fossil dinosaurs in Europe. In Lleida you can see the Pyrenees Mountains at its best, where the rocks are recorded over 550 million years of history, like the pages of a book.
Through these pages we can see the remains of a mountain above the Pyrenees, when the Earth had a single supercontinent known as Pangaea. We can also observe fossils from the Mesozoic Sea, a tropical sea that occupied the space where today we have mountains over 2000 meters, and follow the traces left by the last dinosaurs that lived in Europe 66 million years ago. Understand how they formed and flung the Pyrenees to finally see the high mountain valleys carved by large glaciers during the last million years ago during the Ice Age, at the end of which, the man began to walk and transform the landscape.
The diversity and geological heritage of Lleida are unique and extraordinary, that make it a destination of geological interest and tourism internationally renowned, all within the incomparable setting of majestic Pyrenees.
Daucat Serveis Turístics de Catalunya, SL organizes experiences for nature lovers, amateurs and professionals in geology in a region full of natural parks and spaces geological unbeatable. A team of geologists tell us that narrate its stones and its surroundings: a different way of understanding the landscape that surrounds us.
- GEOPARK PROJECT CONCA DE TREMP-MONTSEC
- NATIONAL PARK OF AIGÜESTORTES AND ESTANY DE SANT MAURICI
- NATURAL PARK OF THE HIGH PYRENEES
- CADÍ-MOIXERÓ NATURAL PARK
- VAL D'ARAN
GEOPARK PROJECT CONCA DE TREMP-MONTSEC
The Geopark Project Conca de Tremp-Montsec, with its 2000 km2, includes all the Pallars Jussà and the municipalities of Coll de Nargó, Baix Pallars, Àger and Camarasa, forming a geological and paleontological areas of the most important internationally.
The variety of rocks that we find represent a large number of geological recorded over the past 550 million years, in addition to the present tectonic structures, which explain in detail the formation and evolution of the Pyrenees and Pre-Pyrenees.
This wealth or geodiversity make this region a geological laboratory outdoor aroused the interest of the scientific community since the early twentieth century, having become today in the field of learning thousands of professionals who visit the area each year.
This registry of stone has given us a great variety of fossils, making it possible to observe the evolution of life the last 500 million years, which include more than 100 paleontological sites located only in Conca de Tremp, with fossilized remains (footprints, bones and eggs) of the last dinosaurs that inhabited Europe in the Cretaceous, 66 million years ago.
The Geopark Project Conca de Tremp-Montsec is also very rich in spectacular landscapes that have given life of its inhabitants: the Montsec range, carved by Mont-rebei and its walls more than 500 meters tall, reddish cliffs of the Roc de Pessonada (National Hunting Reserve of Boumort), dominated by deer and vultures or shapes such as Geganta Adormida (sleeping Giant), the karst lakes of Basturs and its connection to the planet Mars, the mountain landscapes carved by ice in Vall Fosca where energy sources are… a land where geological geology merged with Life, Tradition, history, food and wine, a territory for lining unique experiences.
NATIONAL PARK OF AIGÜESTORTES AND ESTANY DE SANT MAURICI
Catalonia, with more than 60% of its territory covered by forests and vegetation, is an obligatory stop for naturalists for the existing variety of habitats, ranging from mountains to steppe zones located further to the south. Boasts 18 national parks and protected areas of great interest, among them stands out in particular their only national park, Aigüestortes and the Sant Maurici, in the heart of the Pyrenees mountain summits and deep valleys with haughty 200 glacial lakes spread over an area of just over 40,000 hectares.
The National Park is a representative sample of the intense and impressive geological processes that gave rise to the formation of the Pyrenees. The combination of granite and metamorphic rocks together with water, present throughout its territory, offers visitors a show where these two elements, water and rock, rivalled forming waterfalls, rivers, ravines and a large number of ponds of various shapes and size.
The Sant Maurici is the most popular, but many well-signposted routes that exist in the park provide insight into many other beautiful and colourful. The water colours vary from dark, almost black in deeper, the green and blue of children.
The most demanding naturalist will enjoy the observation of a flora and fauna adapted to the special climatic conditions of the park, while the most curious visitors can discover ancient legends that try to explain the capricious ways of reaching many peaks as history of chamois hunters turned into stone statues of the legendary Encantats.
Ridges, edges, needles, blades or bullets, some with more than three thousand meters, witness the intense tectonic forces that actually occurred between 85 and 20 million years, when the collision plate Iberian and European originated the current range of the Pyrenees. Granitic and metamorphic rocks have remained as witnesses of that geological phenomenon. Were folded and fractured forming so-called high axial Pyrenees, true heart of the Pyrenees National Park which belongs to. A geological wonder and a unique landscape in Europe.
NATURAL PARK OF THE HIGH PYRENEES
The Natural Park of the High Pyrenees, with more than 70.000 ha, is the largest natural park in Catalonia and is divided between the regions of Pallars Sobirà and Alt Urgell. In addition to collecting an important reserve of flora and fauna of medium and high mountains, the park is an interesting example of coexistence between man and nature, and their involvement in shaping the landscape since 6.000 years, with traditional activities still preserves today as part of their heritage.
The geology of the Natural Park High Pyrenees is essential for understanding the formation and evolution of the Pyrenees in the junction between the Iberian and European tectonic plate, and also allows us to see the remains of the Hercynian folding of the ridge, 200 million older than the Pyrenees. Llavorsí rocks, the Dom de l’Orri or the Dom de la Pallaresa are one of many witnesses recorded in the rocks.
At the same time, in the spectacular U-shaped valleys of this nature reserve, we find traces which left us large glaciers that shape the Pyrenees, which had reached a thickness of ice more than 400 meters and excavated more 140 glacial lakes, among them the largest of its kind Catalonia, the Certascan Tin. For the Àneu Valleys it circulated the longest and deepest Glacier of the Pyrenees and the bucket of Esterri d’Àneu was about 10.000 years ago become the largest lake that has never existed in the Pyrenees.
In addition, within the territory of the Park itself, many remains have been found such as fossilized footprints of former archosaurs in the Triassic and Permià del Port del Cantó outcrops.
The mineral resources present in the area of the Natural Park of the High Pyrenees, including deposits of copper and iron, were already known and exploited by man in ancient times, as you can catch some of their names, like Vallferrera, making a stroll through the forest of Virós. Here we find traces of the old galleries excavated and the remains of coal, some of which date from the second century AD, in Roman times, and come to the passage of visitors as authentic traces of the past and witnessed the relationship between man and the environment, one of the most beautiful places in Catalonia.
CADÍ-MOIXERÓ NATURAL PARK
The vertical walls over 500 meters decline and intense reddish folds of calcareous shape the Cadí-Moixeró Natural Park is especially known for the peculiar crested the spectacular Pedraforca massif. In Cadí-Moixeró we can observe the work of unstoppable erosion and telluric forces, as the culmination of the process of formation of the Central Pyrenees, being the mantle of Cadi shift of the main structure of the eastern foothills . The impressive relief of Pedraforca earned him also the declaration of Natural Area of National Interest.
The spine is the natural ridge oriented from west to east which follows the mountain ranges of Cadi, Moixeró, Tosa and Puigllançada between the coll de Bancs, west, and Creueta in the east. The set is composed of a number of structural units and mantles landslide displaced several kilometers to the south during the Alpine orogeny, simultaneously with the lifting of the Pyrenees.
The coll del Pendís, in the middle of the ridge, separates the Cadi Eocene structures from the Paleozoic (Devonian mainly) from the set Moixeró-Tosa-Puigllançada. The whole, however, is part of the mantle of Cadi landslide, which is the main structure of the eastern foothills. The other major structural relief of the park is the Pedraforca Massif, located south of the Cadí and literally perched on its mantle by another landslide.
The mineral wealth in the Park production is evident with the intense extraction of coal and oil was in the twentieth century searches for vestiges of an important mining activity that took place in the region, which originated 200 years ago. Visiting its Mining Museum as the man we know these minerals extracted to generate energy. Conveniently located close to area of Fumanya we find the old coal mine, where you will discover more than 3,000 footprints or tracks of a large 15-meter dinosaur that lived 71 million years, Titanosaur, being the most important site from this period in Europe.
The Val d’Aran is the north side of the Catalan Pyrenees, where rocks of Paleozoic age outcropped, prior to the formation of the Pyrenees, and therefore the oldest in Catalonia. This valley is also a clear example of the driving force of the glaciers of the Quaternary, with spectacular examples like Ruda Valley, where the ice tongue got to reach the 800 meters thick, just on the site where today stands the popular ski resort of Baqueira.
The Circus of Colomèrs, within the territory of the National Park of Aigüestortes and Sant Maurici, with more than 30 lakes, is the largest of the glacial cirques of the Pyrenees. In the Port of Vielha you can see the point of confluence of the granite mass of the axial Pyrenees calcareous taking relief and increases their domains to the Aneto, the Maladeta and Ordesa.
The proximity of these masses of limestone and Aneto, with one of the last Pyrenean glaciers have left the Val d’Aran places of great beauty as Artiga de Lin. There you will find a unique karst phenomena such as upwelling of Uelhs deth Joeu, which sprout from the bowels of the ground water from the glacier of the Aneto, after rushing to the sink of Forau of Aigualluts and travel more 4 kms away underground.
In Val d’Aran we can also find traces of ancient mining of metals, as in other parts of the Pyrenees, among which are the mines of Montoliu de Liat and Victoria mines, which operated mainly lead and zinc.