ROCKS AND FOSSILS

Malta is entirely composed of sedimentary rocks. The specific area around Marsaxlokk consist of Globigerina Limestone. Globigerina Limestone is a soft stone that is easily eroded. It is full of planktonic fossils and according to what I read this indicates that its deposition was in deep waters below wave action. I have seen this soft Globigerina Limestone around here and have some samples, it is white and fine grained. My interest though, has mainly been in the upper Globigerina Limestone which is harder, coarser, and honey coloured, it is used as a building material, and has been since ancient times in the island, I love its colour and texture, it also makes the villages look bright and full of light. I have walked along the houses of this village and seen the fossils in the walls of the older buildings, fascinating and beautiful! We have also stayed in a Maltese house that is 200 years old, its stone walls bare and hand cut, I did get to thinking one night while I should have been sleeping, about the fact that all that surrounded me was fossilised beings, once alive, now there in another form, amazing to ponder on.  The walls throw out a warmth and a good feeling.

Anyway I am not a geologist, but I have a life-long interest in stones and minerals, and have a huge collection at home, I cannot resist picking up more stones, though these days it is to take photos of them, examine them with a magnifying glass, and ask myself what they could be (luckily for me I have a good Geologist friend). So I am going to post photos of some of the interesting stones I found along the beach at Marsaxlokk, but also some of the fossils I found along the walls of the village houses.

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What a fossil!

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 Tempestite is a storm deposit. Tempestites are rocks which show evidence of a strong storm, which have redeposited pre-existing sediments.  This happens in shallow waters, and it are the waves that redeposit the sediments.  I found this little gem of information on Wikipedia.org

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This is a conglomerate rock type.

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Here I am not sure, but found quite a few of these rocks that had what seemed a layer of fossils or some sort of deposit (the white stuff).

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This on the same rock, a beautifully intricate design (fossil) can be seen here.

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Me examining one of the rocks

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The coarser, honey coloured upper Globigerina Limestone

Two samples, one the chalk, the other I think is more of the upper Globigerina Limestone

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Somewhere I read that the holes could have been made by mollusc boring into the soft material back in time?

Some of the fossils I found in the walls of old houses, I obviously only took photos of them and let them be where they were.  So beautiful, but as far as I believe this house is marked for restoration, I hope they will preserve the fossils.

I have loads more photos of stones, rocks and fossils that I came across here, it has been one of the highlights of my stay in Malta, I hope that some of my dear blogger friends will have enjoyed these wonderful creations as much as I am.   And I would be very pleased and happy to listen to reactions and knowledge from other Rock enthusiasts.

Websites which I have found interesting are:  http://www.sandatlas.org/limestone/#comment-40236 and http://karsteneig.no/2013/11/malta-a-country-shaped-by-limestone-and-a-bit-of-very-old-shit/#comment-15952    and    http://www.maltainsideout.com/11993/living-stones-a-brief-guide-to-maltas-geology/

 

 

 

FISHERMEN AT WORK

Still in Marsaxlokk village,  as I was looking out of the window late one evening, and minding my own thoughts, one of the fishing boats arrived, it was the first time I actually saw more than the boats, the men, and the nets, I was already wondering when I would see the fish being brought to shore, and I was a bit curious about that.

Locally I have seen no butcher shops in this village, and that suits me fine, moreover there are several very successful fish shops that sell a whole range of fish and shellfish. Anyway to go back to my story, the boat arrived, and already the little refrigerated van was standing ready on the pier, door open.
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Next was all hands on deck, even the driver of the little van is helping, the fish had been kept cool in the bottom of the boat, in a special compartment closed off from the rest of the boat, I see the men loading the fish and handing the plastic containers to be stacked into the little van.  It did not take them long, in fact there seemed very little fish to be brought ashore.

It’s incredible how hard these fishermen work and how much time they put into mending and untangling their nets, this alone is a time consuming job and you always see the men doing so.  In fact though I have also seen some women at this work here in the village.

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Finally they are unloading some of the nets and putting them on the pier, and they left again, not sure if it was to catch more fish or what.  The woman and the little van also drove off.  You see these little white refrigerated vans all over the place around here.

Fishing nets are here drying in the sun, and also being unravelled.  And the man is mending nets, I’ve seen more of them do this, they hold the net with their feet and using a large needle-like implement they sew and repair the nets.

Thanks to the fishermen for letting me photograph them, much appreciated.  It’s great to see something of the local activity, this is a fishing village after all.

 

HAGAR QIM TEMPLES

Well worth to go see, and very interesting during a visit to Malta are the Hagar Qim temples in the SW of the island. It is a well worked archaeological site, some of the features are copies and the originals can be found in the archaeological museum in Valetta.

I always try and get the ‘feel’ of the place when visiting an ancient site, but here I felt nothing special.  The site is very close to the sea, and very windy . There is a lot to learn about these megalithic temples, the site consists of a group of monumental megalithic buildings dating back to the late Neolithic period around 5,000 years ago. As stated in a leaflet available at the visitor centre, there is little know about these buildings. I for one wonder why there were altars, what were they used for? Another question is whether the courts had corbelled roofs, which many think, it is suggested that they were made of successive rings of megaliths the way that the roof of the New-Grange passage grave was built back in Ireland. There must be a connection between all these ancient sites.  It is so interesting, there is so much to learn about the past!  We visited the Mnajdra Temples after this one, but that is for another blog write-up.

'Porthole' doorway
‘Porthole’ doorway

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Two mushroom shaped altars, and the other a carved altar

On this slab on the photo to the right, the outline of two pairs of legs can be seen, belonging it seems to some obese figures it is thought, perhaps some goddesses?

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Spiral motifs
Spiral motifs

 

PAINTING WITH A CAMERA

In fact I took these photos with my mobile phone, I was not expecting to take any photos while walking along the shore with Ian this evening, but glad that I did.

The day was beautiful, the sea very calm, there was a peacefulness about the place here as shops and many businesses closed after lunch because of the Good Friday church services,  many locals were around in their Sunday best, and yet there was a lot of activity among the fishermen, they were sorting their nets, some little boats left the harbour and others arrived with their catch, nets were spread out to dry on the concrete, and as the evening approached I saw the fishermen sitting together talking and enjoying the rest. There were fewer tourist around today, especially this evening it became very quiet. We had a restful day ourselves, it was good to reflect after the huge amount of images we took in yesterday. One of these days soon we will go to visit Gozo the little island off Malta.
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This photo reminds me of the painting of the Angelus by Jean-Francois Millet-but don’t ask me why!

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Lacy parasols for sale

 

 

 

 

 

 

MARSAXLOKK IN BLACK AND WHITE

During last night and today there was a strong wind blowing here, I believe it is called the ‘Sirocco’ a Mediterranean wind that brings fine brown dust from the Sahara sands, everything was covered this morning in this brown stuff and I felt it during the night, could smell it actually and my eyes were stinging a little. The wind blew strongly but was warm, it was pleasant to walk out in it. This afternoon when more storm clouds gathered I got to sort my recent photos of this village and came across some that looked better in black and white, so here goes I am posting some of them.
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DELICATE FLOWERS OF MALTA

Today I will just post some of the flowers that I have come across so far, and I’m in a village, I have not been out in the country yet, so I know there is much more to explore when it comes to Malta’s flora yet. I have taken these photo mainly while walking around the village, some in the wild, some in the front gardens of the people, all are equally beautiful and interesting. I hope you enjoy as much as I do.  Names I do not know but some of the flowers I recognise from India, Greece, or Mauritius.  Thanks to my friend, Mary, she identified the delicate blue flower as Plumbago – a native of South Africa.
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Sicilian Marigold – Calendula Sicula

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Blossom of the lemon tree
Blossom of the lemon tree