UNESCO Global Geopark Sobrarbe-Prineos
The Space of the Sobrarbe Geopark
THE SPACE OF THE SOBRARBE-PIRINEOS GEOPARK
img src="http://www.turismosobrarbe.com/fotosmem/th_150.jpg" class="foto">
Near the medieval village of Aínsa, the battlements of the Castle no longer house archers. The entire grounds have been converted into a leisure and culture centre, but the Southwest Tower still retains some of its magic. Its main purpose is to welcome and reveal some of its secrets to those visitors who are interested in our geological park in the Pyrenees, which has been recognised by the UNESCO.
Inside, time passes in a different way: 550 million years soar through the four floors of this Space of the Geopark.
Room 1 1st Floor The World of Geoparks
A Geopark is a territory with an exceptional geological heritage due to its scientific, educational and aesthetic value and that has a strategy for its sustainable local development. The Global Geoparks Network is made up of an association of territories assisted by UNESCO that shares a commitment to promoting and caring for the natural (especially geological) and cultural heritage.
Including the European Geoparks Network, UNESCO has recognised more than 50 territories throughout the word.
Room 2 2nd Floor SOBRARBE before the PYRENEES
In the Palaeozoic Era, the Sobrarbe territory was closer to the South Pole and the position of the continents was generally very different from what we know today. When the continents formed a single supercontinent (Pangaea), the Sobrarbe territory was covered by a mountain range- the Hercynian orogeny- larger than the Pyrenees are now, which was completely destroyed at the end of the Era.
Having come from Palaeozoic rocks, the iron, silver and lead ores in the north of Sobrarbe have known since pre-historic times.
Room 3 3nd Floor THE PYRENEES RISE UP FROM THE SEA
Before the Pyrenees were formed, the sea repeatedly invaded the area, where great amounts of sediment accumulated, leaving environments that were alternately marine, coastal and continental. All of these were full of life and well represented in Sobrarbe. The deep sea rocks, related to the oil systems’ geology, are worth mentioning for their educational value.
The Pyrenees are the result of the collision of the Iberian plate with the Eurasian plate. As a result of this collision, the continental lithospheres converged and began a fan-like system of overthrusts and folds. Due to this, we can observe the older rocks that are above other, more modern rocks, forming spectacular thrust sheets.
Room 4 4nd FloorThe Ice Age
Many phases of glacial advancing and retreating have occurred in the Pyrenees. During the late glacial age, 60,000 years ago, the temperature was 6-7oC lower than it is currently and the glaciers descended quickly- for the last time- into the Cinca, Cinqueta and Ara valleys.
A visit to this space, which remains quite apart from the normal daily stresses, allows us to get a glimpse of what awaits us when we leave. We can see where the answers to some of the questions about the pre-history of the Pyrenees are hidden.
Questions such as:
- Why the Sobrarbe lands were close to the South Pole before the first forests covered the earth.
- Where the sharks, turtles and crocodiles swam in the Tertiary sea.
- When the first peaks of the Pyrenees arose from the water.
- The point where the glaciers reached in Sobrarbe.
- How the first inhabitants of Sobrarbe lived, more than 10,000 years ago.
If you come with the right attitude, you could fill your rucksack with questions and answers that will allow you to enjoy the history of the land written on the rocks in the county of Sobrarbe.
The feast for the senses that the Geopark offers begins when you leave the Castle and extends outwards to all the spectacular spaces of Sobrarbe.