Cagliari has a fossil beach, too!
Would you ever have said that Cagliari has a fossil beach? But you know, Sardinia is a continuous surprise!
The fossil beach of Cagliari, named also “Is Arenas”, is a sort of continuation of the platform-sediment where the Poetto and the Molentargius Park are located on, until the slopes of Cagliari city.
What is a fossil beach?
“Sandy sediments more or less coarse, mixed with shells and fossilized microorganismsvdated back to a period ranged between five hundred thousand to twelve thousand years ago”, so, we’re going deep in the Pleistocene era! No dubt, it’s a geological matter!
This area was discovered in the 1950s thanks to the mining (quarry) action in the area which then became the Molentargius and Saline natural Park, an extraordinary humid resource of European importance.
Where is it located?
“Is Arenas” (the sands in sardu language) are a substantial part of the Molentargius park, located at about 100mts far from the “Idrovora del Rollone (water-scooping system), which is still in service, it guarantees the vital water exchange for the conservation of the Molentargius salt pans.
The path is well signposted among the many fossil beaches, with useful well-placed explanatory signs.
An extraordinary point of view on the history of the Mediterranean sea when, the level was about fifteen, twenty meters higher.
So from Ca ‘del Sol in the center of Cagliari, just a nice walk or bike ride of about six kms. Here is the map:
How is the fossil beach of Cagliari composed?
We took some pictures for you, as you can see below, the fossil sand is constituted by thousands of petrified micro shells which are easy identifiable.
If you remember the geography lessons at school, Pangaea will be close to you: Is Arenas belongs in the deeper and cemented strata, defined like: Tirrenian Bench. So, we’re meaning about at 1.8 million years ago!
A good video about Is Arenas by Thesilentube83 Sardegna – Roberto Bodano:
Is Arenas, priceless treasure fossil beach, also the phoenicians knew that!
Did you ever, visited the archaeological site of Nora, the ancient important city situated at just 45km far away from Cagliari? Did you observed which blocks of stone it is built with?
Did them remind you anything? Yeah, you got it!
These blocks had quarried from a fossil beach, probably located nearby and them had also used for the construction of Bithia old vanished town. Nora and Bithia were connected by the ancient Roman road that started right from Cagliari.
The nuragics, punics and romans knew perfectly this material, which in thousands of years had become as solid as concrete!
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If you’re planning to organize an excursion in the Molentargius Park, it can be useful to know that it is an environment of great wildlife interest, with many birds nesting there, like the famous Pink Flamingos.
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Texts and photos by © 2020/2023 Daniela and Michele for CadelSol.net
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