Cabo de Gata constitutes a small exposed part of an extensive volcanic chain, between 6 and 15 million years old. It is located between Spain and North Africa and currently appears submerged almost in its entirety, emerging only in Cabo de Gata and on Alboran Island.
One of the main characteristics of this volcanic chain is that its formation took place due to underwater processes of magma emissions, up to where the coast ended in the current Sierra Alhamilla.
The coastline was then located near the Sierra de Filabres, and the sea inundated the current depressions of Vera, Tabernas, Sorbas, Nijar and Almeria.
This peculiar geological configuration has enabled the formation of one of the most unique fossil volcanic complexes in Europe. It is a geological landscape of capricious shapes with a particular color, in which red, ochre and black tones predominate, and which shows a wide range of volcanic rocks with different types of composition, textures and structures. Domes, volcanic lava flows, chimneys, boilers and pyroclastic rocks are found in all their splendor in Cabo de Gata.
It is worth mentioning the following examples of volcanism that we can find in Cabo de Gata:
- Volcanic craters: the best example is the current Rodalquilar Valley.
- Oolithic fossil dunes: the best examples are Los Escullos Beach, Los Genoveses Beach and El Playazo Beach in Rodalquilar.
- Fossilized lava tongues: the best example is Monsul Cove.
- Volcanic domes: the best example is Mesa Roldan.
- Volcanic chimneys: the most beautiful examples are found in the Sirens Reef.
To know more about the volcanic origin of Cabo de Gata you can visit the House of the volcanoes in Rodalquilar, or the Las Amoladeras Visitors Center.