This tour will provide you with the chance to explore the geological heritage and history of Madeira Island, through the local geodiversity.
Madeira is an oceanic island with over six million years which evolution and present landscape had been and is still being stamped by two enormous forces: volcanism and erosion.
The visit starts in south coast of the island in a point of view where we will explore the geological landscape over the capital city of Madeira: Funchal. Still following the beautifull and unique island south coast, you will learn and discover more about the volcanic rocks of Madeira.
The next few stops of the tour are in the northern coastline where the erosive forces of rain, wind and sea are still acting and outlining the morphology of the island. You'll be able to witness some of these elements such as river valleys, erosion of steep cliffs and rock beaches.
Did you know that because of the action of erosive forces, the submerged part of the volcanic edifice Madeira/Desertas represents only 4,2% of its total volume.
In north of the Island you will visit the river mouth of Faial and Porto da Cruz where besides sedimentary formations there are also several structures showing the volcanic origin of the island, such us basaltic columnar jointing, intrusions and flows of several types of volcanic rocks.
We finish our tour in the extreme side of the island at Madeira's most incredible Peninsula - Ponta de São Lourenço. Here we will observe changed geological elements with thousands of years, resulting from climatic variations.
In contrast to the rest of the island, this peninsula has a unique and dry landscape composed by volcanic-sedimentary rocks.
Its low altitude and smooth relief are shaped intensively by the wind and marine erosion. Here the basalt bedrock is generally covered by clayey silt with very good exemplars of spheroid disjunction or “onion skin” resulting from the weathering of basalt.
The general coast consists of a rocky cliff being very high and inaccessible, especially in northern side. In these cliffs, the landscape is fantastic, with different coloured lithologies (pyroclastic and lava rocks) and structures - dyke swarms and eroded islets.
In this area we will do some short walks and visit view points to explore this geodiversity, don’t missing one of the most valuable sedimentary formations present - the quaternary aeolian sands with about 300.000 years.
In these sand dunes are preserved fossils of land snails of that period, many of them yet extinct and also fossilized roots of the vegetation of that period.
This tour can be adjustable and personalized according to the groups specific interests.
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