If you know Algarve you may wonder why the earth around Silves is so reddish. You may ask about Rocha da Pena, a huge rock in a plain area. You may have heard about the remains of a dinosaur-like animal found here newly.
Think 350million years ago, at the bottom of the Rheic ocean that separated two continents, Euramérica and Gondwana. Along the Carboniferous era (360-300million years), the sediments gave rise to the clayey shales and greywackes. They are in Portugal and outcrop in Serra Algarvia.
Deformation, folds and faults that affect the metamorphic rocks are evidence of the compressive tectonic forces plus the union of the two supercontinents and the consequent closing of the ancient ocean.
This ocean vanished and the collision of the two continents formed a mountain, the Variscan. This supercontinent stretched from pole to pole: Pangea. There emerged the first species of many groups of animals.
In the lakes and rivers on the eastern margin of Pangeia, the reddish sandstones and claystones, typical of the Algarve's Beira-Serra, known as “Grés de Silves” (Geosítio Vale Fuseiros), sediments resulting from the gradual erosion that devastated the chain were deposited.
Close to Soalheira, by Loule, you find strange totem-like stones which are 22million years old. Some people go there to pray or simple get the inspiration, in mid of an oustanding environment. On top of gorgeous views.
This is an “other Algarve”, quite different from sun-sea-golf, which could bring millions of “other tourists”. Have you been there?