Tuesday August 29th, 2017

Stage 10Caravaca Año Jubilar 2017 / ElPozo Alimentación

Start 13h20 (Local time)
  • Fernando Escartín commentary

    Flat. Transition stage that will end with a climb up the Collado Bermejo. Favourable for breakaways, although the last climb may see a large group fighting for victory. That same mountain pass will result in the sprinters being less active.

Geodiversity

Travelling across murcian geology: from the cretaceous to the paleogene period

Oblique view of the Guadalentín valley and the Sierra de la Muela © Francisco Molina

Caravaca / El Pozo

The geological structures of the Baetic Mountain Range are oriented North-East to South-West and create a series of mountain ridges. From these, the Espuña Mountain Range stands out, formed by marble and ancient gneiss rocks (550-250 million years ago, brownish-green in the diagram).

Near Caravaca, geologists have found one of the very few traces of the phenomenon that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. It is referred to as the “Capa Negra de Aravaca”, and consists of sediment that formed right between the Cretaceous and Paleogene periods (65 million years ago). This layer is found in very few places in the world and allowed the meteoric impact that caused one of the largest mass extinctions in geological history to be identified in 1980. For this reason, it is one of the most visited Sites of Geological Interest in the world. 

This stage is dominated by the existence of large faults that cut right through the Earth's crust. Some of these faults are active and are capable of causing earthquakes. The route crosses several of them, highlights including the faults of Crevillente (that cross the Province of Murcia and Alicante until reaching the locality of the same name) and the Alhama de Murcia fault, that caused the Lorca earthquake in 2011.

The Alhama fault was responsible for the earthquake but it is also responsible for the formation of the Guadalentín depression over the last 3 million years, and for the rising of the reliefs located in the North-East (Las Estancias Mountain Range, La Tercia, La Muela, etc.).

The other side of the faults, which we must never forget, is that they make the landscape what it is. In the faults, earthquakes generate small shifts from millimetres to centimetres that, over millions of years, cause horizontal and vertical movements over hundreds of metres or even kilometres. If it weren't for the faults, and even for earthquakes, the fertile lands of the Guadalentín Valley and the beautiful North-Western mountain ranges would not exist.

In the last 30km of the route, we go up the Espuña Mountain Range (Bermejo Hill), formed by large masses of rocks that piled up during the Alpine Orogeny (geologists call this “overthrust formations”). Afterwards, the route descends towards Alhama de Murcia and the finish-line at El Pozo Industries, surrounding the Muela Mountain Range, raised by the activity of the Alhama de Murcia fault.

Stage Term: Tectonic

Part of geology that studies the deformation of rocks (folds, faults, etc), the forces that produce them, and the formation of mountains and the large units of the Earth's crust.

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