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The Sierra del Camorro Fault (Natural Monument in the Province)

Diputación de Málaga
Sierra del Camorro. Cuevas de San Marcos. Sierra Norte de Málaga

The Sierra del Camorro Fault (Natural Monument in the Province)

In the north of the Province of Málaga, in the Town of Cuevas de San Marcos, we can find the Sierra del Camorro Fault, which covers a surface of 1,086,057 m2, and it was declared as a Natural Monument in 1999.

The Camorro Mountains with the highest peak Cuevas Altas of 907 m consist of limestone nodules and marl from the early and middle Jurassic. Weather conditions and chalky rocks weathering formed this incredible landscape with very steep or vertical slopes.


Natural Monuments: Meaning

Natural Monuments are places or parts of nature which are considered to be significantly unique, rare or beautiful, and therefore are to be protected.

Natural monuments can also be geological formations, palaeontological sites and other geological structures that are of special interest for science, culture or landscape. They can be geological, biotic, geographical, eco-cultural and mixed according to the criteria presented in Article 4 of the Government Decree 225/1999 with regulations regarding the arrangement and management of each of them.

The Council of the Regional Government of Andalusia has authority to establish certain spot or part of nature as a Natural Monument.

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The SIerra del Camorro Fault is placed in the massif with the same name in the north of the Province of Málaga, in the Town of Cuevas de San Marcos. It looks like a ship anchored in the sea of olive and pine trees.

Its highest spot is over 900 m at Cuevas Altas Peak, which is made of limestone and marl from the early and middle Jurassic. Weather conditions and chalky rocks weathering formed this fascinating landscape with rugged vertical slopes.

Here, we can find stunning geological formations created by the movement of two blocks of the earth's crust, one of which rose and the other went down. The result of the above process was broken surface with cracks and faults that create rugged terrain. Moreover, chalky white colour is typical for these surroundings. Cracked rocks that went through water and wind erosion, create numerous karst passages and caves.

The most widespread plants are Aleppo pines, gorse, turpentine tree, black hawthorn and orchids. Hundred-year-old oak groves are important too as they are rests of the old oak groves that lived in this area. As for animals, there are foxes, rabbits, hares and partridges, as well as eagle owls, Bonelli's eagles and griffon vultures. However, the fault is, above all, a habitat of an important colony of bats, which commonly shelter in caves and rock holes.

One of these caves is Cueva de Belda, a spectacular 200-metre-long gallery with high domes and huge pillars. A it was continuously flooded, the water was retained in ponds and three easily approachable lakes were formed inside of it. According to a legend, this cave was used as a shelter by a demon that was blamed for devastation in the area. This is what lies behind one of the oldest customs that exist in the village Cuevas de San Marcos, which is celebrated on the day of St Mark.

There are many archaeological sites close to here, such as Medina Balda, founded by Romans and passed to Muslims, which are part of the area's cultural heritage like the natural monument in question. A dramatic scenery that consists of still water in Iznájar Reservoir and the surrounding holm oaks, olives and almond trees, is nearby as well.


Cuevas de San Marcos.


The exceptional features that characterise the geological formation of this fault make it the ideal subject for geological analysis, since it serves as the backbone of the area that surrounds it, its slopes having been home to numerous cavities and population settlements since prehistoric times.

(See the section on CUEVAS: CUEVA DE BELDA)

(See the section on ROUTES: CAMORRO ALTO)

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