The Geology Of The Massif Montgris Essay
This report entitled "The Geology of the Massif Montgris" was composed by me and
is based in my own work. Where the work of others has been used, it is fully
acknowledged in the text and in captions to tables and illustrations.
This is a study of the Massif Montgris, it is based on evidence gathered in the
field over 21 days of field work. To supplement this data I have looked at
papers and works by previous visitors to the Montgris. The units within the
area are from the Upper Cretaceous the Tertiary and the Quaternary. I aim to
give an overall guide to the geology on a smaller scale than has previously been
accomplished. This study is mainly aimed at correctly dating the units of
limestone using micropalaeontological data.
The micropalaeontological data has
also given light into the palaeoenvironment/geography during deposition.
Between the 24th of June and the 24th of July 1995 Glen Burnham and I ventured
to Catalunya. More precisely to Torroella de Montgris. Torroella is in the
North East of Spain, just inland of the Mediterranean sea.
This remarkable old
town lies at the foot of the rather imposing Massif Montgris.
Locally known as "El Montgris" (literally the grey Mountain) the massif rises up
over the town and dominates the skyline. Torroella sits on quaternary
conglomerate deposits. These are easily eroded, hence the valley between Pals
(10Km to the south) and Torroella is extremely flat. The valley is bisected by
the river El Ter, which flows at a leisurely pace from the foothills of the
Pyrenees. The river flows to the south of Torroella and winds it’s way to its
conclusion in the Playa de Pals (6Km east of Torroella).
El Montgris has been known to humans since prehistoric times. It has some large
caves on its slopes that served as a shelter to prehistoric man. The area was
very popular with the Romans who cultivated the local area, built roads and
towns (many of which still stand to this day) such as Peretelada to the south
adjacent to Pals.
Since the time of the Romans Torroella has grown into a thriving market town.
It has always had close links with the Montgris which until recently still
served a purpose as a shelter, not , however, against the elements but against
Pirates and marauders from the sea. In fact, on top of the Muntanya Santa
Catherina stands the remains of a thirteenth century castle (the last castle
ever built in Spain).
El Montgris has provided for the local commerce since it was first settled.
The local people value the Mountains greatly and still use them today. The rock
from which our dwelling was made was quarried from the mountain, the castle rock
was quarried on the mountain.
2.0.2 Aims of Study.
When I first considered the Montgris as a project area I realised that
information would be sparse and that the project would be more complicated than
a similar project in the U.K because the environment is so very different and
resources would be a great deal more difficult to access (due to the language
barrier). I also realised the project would probably be very different to the
Before Glen and I left England we attempted to research the Massif Montgris
through the usual channels in order to get an idea of what we would be facing.
The research lead to a few vague leads, we new the rock was sedimentary and most
likely limestone. Having visited the area previously I could recall a little
about the rocks but was certain of their sedimentary nature.
Our first lead came from an unexpected source. My parents had vacationed in the
area and upon my request had asked locally about any information pertaining to
the Geology. The result was that they brought back a research map that dated
the Massif as Cretaceous but suggested it was composed of 1 massive bed. We
loosely agreed our study areas and arranged our projects accordingly. The local
guide books and map had supplied us with information about the palaeontology
(macro fossils) which suggested the rock was full of bivalves, brachiopods,
corals and belemnites.
Before leaving we were unable to unearth much more information BUT seemingly at
the last minute we were able to make contact with Dr.
David Brusi from the
Universidad de Gerona(departament del geophysica) who reassured us that upon our
arrival in Spain he would brief us on geology of El Montgris.
Therefore, with very .