Gibraltar Rock Facts
- First of all, the term Gibraltar Rock serves as one of the alternate names for the world renowned formation known as the Rock of Gibraltar. However, by whatever name one calls it, this marvel of Nature holds a particularly impressive distinction. That’s because this massive outcropping remains one of the best known natural formations on the planet.
- In addition, this stunning example of the works of Nature also holds a special importance for another reason. That holds true due to the fact that a significant portion of the upper area of the feature also forms a special Nature Reserve. This beautiful small Reserve, along with the indigenous flora, fauna, and geology of the region remain enormous tourist favorites even today.
- Furthermore, the mighty Gibraltar Rock held roles of importance even in ancient times. This held true for several reasons. Firstly, ancient Phoenician and Greek sailors named it one of the Pillars of Hercules, and believed it to mark the end of the known world. Secondly, the Romans later knew of the astonishingly impressive natural site, and called it Mons Calpe.
Gibraltar Rock Physical Description
The quite remarkable formation known to many as the Gibraltar Rock represents a fascinating study in geology, for those of a scientific mindset. Further, in purely technical terms, the incredible site qualifies as what geologists call a monolithic promontory. That’s because this awesome location constitutes a raised mass of land that projects into a lowland or a body of water.
Only enhancing its aura of majesty, the truly impressive Gibraltar Rock has an amazing physical nature. First of all, the gargantuan rock has a highly sharpened crest with points standing as much as 1,398 ft (426 m) in height. However, the main prominence measures 1,388 ft (423 m). In addition, its basic structure consists primarily of greatly eroded dolomites and ancient limestone.
Gibraltar Rock Location, Formation, and Nature Reserve
The massively impressive Gibraltar Rock sits in a unique position. This statement holds true for several reasons. Firstly, the magnificent structure formed in what now constitutes the British Territory of Gibraltar, situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Secondly, as part of the United Kingdom, this marvel lies on the southwestern tip of Europe. Thirdly, it forms part of the border with Spain.
It also forms a large peninsula that projects out into the Strait of Gibraltar. Mostly composed of limestone, parts of the massive monolith slowly dissolved over time due to the actions of the water. This natural process also often forms caves. In the case of this site, more than 100 caves exist. St. Michael’s Cave remains the best known of these, and also forms the largest tourist attraction.
Additionally, as of 1993, the Nature Reserve located here forms roughly 40% of the total area of Gibraltar Rock. Furthermore, much of the flora and fauna found there continue to be of importance to conservationists. The best known of these remain the Barbary Macaques, with roughly 300 individuals located within the Reserve. This comprises the only known wild monkey population in Europe.
But its natural wonder does not end there. That’s because other endemic species of prominent interest also inhabit the area. In fact, of ecological importance equal the Barbary Partridges, plant species such as the Gibraltar Candytuft appear here, and nowhere else in Europe. Finally, the stunning site also serves as a major resting point for large populations of migratory birds.