The Volcano Learning Museum, in the old smelting house at Rodalquilar in the Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park, is the first Centre for Geotourism and Geodiversity of Andalucia. It offers an exceptional geological tour to explore and interpret the landscapes of the Cabo de Gata Geoparque in relation to the whole of the province. The mind-boggling concepts involved with pondering lengths of time of dozens, sometimes hundreds of millions of years and the slow processes that take place over those periods are demystified. This is definitely the place to go to begin to understand the landscapes of Andalucia.
The Andalucia Hall illustrates the most characteristic and valuable geological landscapes of Andalucia. You are taken from the marshes of the Atlantic coast to the deserts and volcanoes of Almeria, from the beaches and cliffs at Cadiz to the glacier-carved peaks of Sierra Nevada, from the karst landscape of the Mediterranean Subbetic mountains to the rolling hills of the Guadalquivir valley. Associated with each of the thirteen distinctive geological regions, is a sample of the rock types most representative of the landscape, a small ‘rock library’.
Moving into the Cabo de Gata Hall, the displays concentrate on this one area. They explain the geological history of the Geopark, the origin end evolution of the volcanic complex of Cabo de Gata and the events that occurred during the Quaternary (the latest geological period that we are still in today that started 2.6 million years ago) period that shaped the coastal plain to what we see today. Another ‘rock library’ has the most characteristic rocks found in the Cabo de Gata. There is also a fascinating display of the minerals found in the area.
The next hall brings things even closer to home. This is the Rodaquilar Hall. The first displays show historical aspects of the importance of the mining industry in the Cabo de Gata as a whole from the 16th century mining of alunite, to the lead and silver mining of the 19th century up to the last and more modern metal mining processes developed in the Denver Plant at Rodalquilar, for gold extraction. Special attention is drawn to the mining history of Rodalquilar.
Finally, to tie it all together, there is an Audiovisual Hall in which you can view a 20 minute video called ‘Reading in the Stones’. It shows the scientific and cultural richness of Andalucian geodiversity and the role it has to play in the strategies of tourism development.
Most displays have information in English alongside the Spanish and the video can be watched in either language.
10am - 2pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday
Free to enter
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Nick has lived and worked in Andalucia for over 20 years. He and his partner, Julie Evans, have travelled extensively and dug deep into the history and culture, producing authoritative articles on all aspects of the region. Nick has written four books about Andalucia and writes articles for other websites and blogs.
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