August 7, 2010
Torcal De Antequera
Torcal de Antequera is a limestone plateau in the mountains about 20 miles north of the port city of Malaga (Spain) on the mediterranean sea. All across the surface of the plateau, strangely eroded rock formations suggest the ruins of an ancient city. Oddly realistic sculptural forms and huge bastions that resemble ruins are seperated by labyrinths of alleys and rubble-strewn trenches.
No city ever rose on this site, however the ruins, in fact are the typical remnants of erosion in a limestone landscape. The limestone here, more than 2000 feet thick, was long ago broken up by vertical and horizontal fractures. At a time when the water table was high, the underground streams coursed through the fractures. The water dissolved the limestone and gradually enlarged the openings into a maze of galleries and chambers. Eventually the roofs of the tunnels caved in, forming the trenches - the streets and plazas of the ruined city. Ever since they were exposed, the rocky bastions that were left standing between the trenches have been attacked by wind and weather, which have gradually softened and reshaped their contours.
Meanwhile the water continues to work its way through the limestone that makes up the Plateau. Seeping through fractures at lower levels beneath the eroded surface, it is carving out new networks of channels, chasms, and caves. In time the ceilings may once again collapse, thereby revealing another, presently hidden underground landscape.