Saturday, June 13, 2009
Today we have been to another volcano. Not quite Vesuvius in full flow, a little less spectacular, but a more pleasant place to be close to, and to wander around. Like the other major and several minor craters in this area it was formed by the explosive boiling of phreatic water on contact with the rising molten magma. Now that is something I would pay to watch, but there's been no activity in millions of years so it looks as though we're fairly safe.
It is known as the Maar de la Hoya del Mortero (for Googling purposes). Maar is a geological term (from a Germanic dialect word going back to Latin mare) for a crater formed in this way, because they are characterized by a large flat bottom and steep sides, with rings of volcanic rock rising up the slopes. It's right beside the railway line to Córdoba, but you can't it from the train as it runs through a gully cut into the hills at that point and all you can see is the earthwork.
Anyhow, rather than hearing me try to describe, look at the photographs. Or better still, go and have a look if you're in the area. We didn't stay long as it was 37º by this time and we were rather keen to get home again. It's a big problem here; from late spring to mid-autumn it's usually too hot for walking except in the early morning, and it doesn't give you time to do much.