THE TECTONIC FAULTLINE AT POU DES LLEÓ by Toby Clarke of Walking Ibiza
This strange, natural creation is roughly 200 million years old and was conceived when Ibiza was first formed. Let’s think of the Mediterranean as it is now, and imagine what it was like back then. The two are hugely different, largely due to tectonic plate movement. A tectonic plate still runs through the Mediterranean, about 100km south of Ibiza, so we’re actually still part of it’s movement today and in another 100 million years the islands of the Mediterranean will probably look very different. Historically, these tectonic plates moved and pushed up what is now the Balearic Islands and also the Sierra Nevada mountains on mainland Spain. And at that time there was no water in the Mediterranean because it was closed off from the ocean by the Straights of Gibraltar. Another tectonic plate movement happened later, which opened up the gap at the Straights of Gibraltar. This caused water to come flooding in and over a few hundred thousand years it flowed into the Mediterranean and created the Mediterranean sea. Another tectonic movement then happened and the gap was closed again. Scientists have proven this by taking cores from the seabed, where they found metres upon metres of salt at the bottom. This suggests that when the Straight of Gibraltar closed, the Mediterranean dried up again and became the largest salt flat in the entire world! Yet another tectonic plate movement happened after this (are you keeping track? Good!), which reopened the gap and, of course, the Mediterranean basin flooded again. So what remains of the crystalline deposit left after the second wave of tectonic shifts now forms the Balearic Islands of Ibiza, Formentera, Mallorca and
Menorca. Suffice to say the region has had an incredibly interesting history! The faultline pictured is an amazing place in Pou des Lleó, in the north of Ibiza. It’s one of the areas of the tectonic plate where, under huge amounts of pressure and millions of degrees of heat, molten lava came through the surface. This is significant because most of the Balearic Islands are just formed by tectonic plate movement and are not volcanic. But on this north-east corner, volcanic movement and molten lava have combined to form the incredible boulders and formations that you see today if you walk from the bay of Pou des Lleó out towards the pirate tower, Torre den Valls. As you’re walking down to the faultline (careful, it’s dangerous as its sharp and jagged), you’re eyes begin to focus on a gap in front of you which opens up on approach. When you get closer you realise it’s huge: roughly 50 metres long, 4 metres wide and 6 metres deep. You can walk into the channel and you will no doubt feel a special energy there. Meditating in the area is something I like to do, and every person I’ve taken to this area has testified to feeling something unique. In the summer, you can pick salt out of the faultline due to the seawater deposits that have been left there after the late winter storms. You can also find a huge variety of fossils in the area – if you know where to look! Walk to the pirate tower, which is one of the remaining nine left on Ibiza and is now in private hands. It’s been beautifully restored. I’ve met the people who own it and tried to get in, but not had any luck yet! From there, you can see Tagomago island in all its splendour, and it’s a perfect place to watch the full moon rise.
Where Donde Pou des Lleó is a ten minute drive from San Carlos. For details of my next walk in the area follow Walking Ibiza on Facebook or call me on +34 608 692 901. // Pou des Lleó está a diez minutos en coche de San Carlos. Para más detalles de mi próxima caminata en la zona sigue Walking Ibiza en Facebook o llámame al +34 608 692 901.
170 THE USHUAÏA MAGAZINE