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The Rock of Gibraltar, (Latin: Mons Calpe Arabic: جبل طَارِق‎, translit. Jabal Ṭāriq, lit. 'Tariq's Mountain'[3]) is a monolithic limestone promontory located in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, near the southwestern tip of Europe
Europe
on the Iberian Peninsula.[4] It is 426 m (1,398 ft) high. The Rock is Crown property of the United Kingdom, and borders Spain. Most of the Rock's upper area is covered by a nature reserve, which is home to around 300 Barbary macaques. These macaques, as well as a labyrinthine network of tunnels, attract a large number of tourists each year. The Rock of Gibraltar
Gibraltar
was one of the Pillars of Hercules
Pillars of Hercules
and was known to the Romans as Mons Calpe, the other pillar being Mons Abyla or Jebel Musa on the African side of the Strait. In ancient times, the two points marked the limit to the known world, a myth originally fostered by the Greeks
Greeks
and the Phoenicians.[4][5] Gibraltar
Gibraltar
is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
and has no contact with the Atlantic Ocean.

Contents

1 Geology 2 Fortification

2.1 Moorish
Moorish
Castle 2.2 Galleries 2.3 Second World War onwards 2.4 Sayings

3 Nature Reserve

3.1 Flora and fauna

3.1.1 Birds

4 See also 5 References

Geology[edit]

Levant cloud forming against the eastern cliffs of the Rock of Gibraltar.

The Rock of Gibraltar
Gibraltar
is a monolithic promontory. The Main Ridge has a sharp crest with peaks over 400 m above sea level, formed by Early Jurassic
Jurassic
limestones and dolomites.[6] It is a deeply eroded and highly faulted limb of an overturned fold. The sedimentary strata composing the Rock of Gibraltar
Gibraltar
are overturned, with the oldest strata overlying the youngest strata. These strata are the Catalan Bay
Catalan Bay
Shale
Shale
Formation (youngest), Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Limestone, Little Bay Shale
Shale
Formation (oldest), and Dockyard Shale
Shale
Formation (age unknown). These strata are noticeably faulted and deformed.[7] Predominantly of shale, the Catalan Bay
Catalan Bay
Shale
Shale
Formation also contains thick units composed of either brown calcareous sandstone, soft shaly sandstone interbedded with bluish-black limestone, and interlayered greenish-gray marls and dark gray cherts. The Catalan Bay
Catalan Bay
Shale Formation contains unidentifiable echinoid spines and belemnite fragments and infrequent Early Jurassic
Jurassic
(Middle Lias) ammonites.[7] The Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Limestone
Limestone
consists of greyish-white or pale-gray compact, and sometime finely crystalline, medium to thick bedded limestones and dolomites that locally contain chert seams. This formation comprises about three quarters of the Rock of Gibraltar. Geologists have found various poorly preserved and badly eroded and rolled marine fossils within it. The fossils found in the Gibraltar Limestone
Limestone
include various brachiopods, corals, echinoid fragments, gastropods, pelecypods, and stromatolites. These fossils indicate an Early Jurassic
Jurassic
age (Lower Lias) for the deposition of the Gibraltar Limestone.[7] The Little Bay and Dockyard shale formations form a very minor part of the Rock of Gibraltar. The Little Bay Shale
Shale
Formation consists of dark bluish-gray, unfossiliferous shale, which is interbedded with thin layers of grit, mudstone, and limestone. It predates the Gibraltar Limestone. The Dockyard Shale
Shale
Formation is an undescribed variegated shale of unknown age that lies buried beneath the Gibraltar's dockyard and coastal protection structures.[7] Although these geological formations were deposited during the early part of the Jurassic
Jurassic
Period some 175-200 million years ago, their current appearance is due to far more recent events of about 5 million years ago. When the African tectonic plate collided tightly with the Eurasian plate, the Mediterranean became a lake that, over the course of time, dried up during the Messinian salinity crisis. The Atlantic Ocean then broke through the Strait of Gibraltar, and the resultant flooding created the Mediterranean Sea. The Rock forms part of the Betic Cordillera, a mountain range that dominates south-eastern Iberia.[7]

The sheer east side of the Rock of Gibraltar

Today, the Rock of Gibraltar
Gibraltar
forms a peninsula jutting out into the Strait of Gibraltar
Gibraltar
from the southern coast of Spain. The promontory is linked to the continent by means of a sandy tombolo with a maximum elevation of 3 m (9.8 ft).[8] To the north, the Rock rises vertically from sea level up to 411.5 m (1,350 ft) at Rock Gun Battery. The Rock's highest point stands 426 m (1,398 ft) near the south end above the strait at O'Hara's Battery. The Rock's central peak, Signal Hill and the top station of the Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Cable Car, stands at an elevation of 387 m (1,270 ft). The near-cliffs along the eastern side of the Rock drop down to a series of wind-blown sand slopes that date to the glaciations when sea levels were lower than today, and a sandy plain extended east from the base of the Rock. The western face, where the City of Gibraltar
Gibraltar
is located, is comparatively less steep. Calcite, the mineral that makes up limestone, dissolves slowly in rainwater. Over time, this process can form caves. For this reason the Rock of Gibraltar
Gibraltar
contains over 100 caves. St. Michael's Cave, located halfway up the western slope of the Rock, is the most prominent and is a popular tourist attraction. Fossils of Neanderthals have been found at several sites in Gibraltar. In 1848, a Neanderthal woman's skull was found at Forbes' Quarry, located on the north face of the Rock. However, its significance was not recognized until after the 1856 discovery of the type specimen in the Neander Valley. Excavations in Gorham's Cave, located near sea level on the eastern side of the Rock, found evidence it was used by Neanderthals, and plant and animal remains in the cave gave evidence of Neanderthals' highly varied diet.[9] Fortification[edit]

The Moorish
Moorish
Castle.

Moorish
Moorish
Castle[edit] Main article: Moorish
Moorish
Castle The Moorish Castle
Moorish Castle
is a relic of Moorish
Moorish
rule over Gibraltar, which lasted for 710 years. It was built in the year A.D. 711, when the Berber chieftain Tariq ibn-Ziyad
Tariq ibn-Ziyad
first landed on the rock that still bears his name. The 17th-century Muslim historian Al-Maqqari wrote that upon landing, Tariq burned his ships. The principal building that remains is the Tower of Homage, a massive building of brick and very hard concrete called tapia. The upper part of the tower housed the former occupants' living apartments and Moorish
Moorish
bath.

The Rock of Gibraltar's North Front cliff face from Bayside (c.1810) showing the embrasures in the Rock.

Prudential Financial
Prudential Financial
logo of the Rock in 1948

Galleries[edit] A unique feature of the Rock is its system of underground passages, known as the Galleries or the Great Siege
Siege
Tunnels. The first of these was dug towards the end of the Great Siege
Siege
of Gibraltar, which lasted from 1779 to 1783. General Elliot, afterwards Lord Heathfield, who commanded the garrison throughout the siege, was anxious to bring flanking fire on the Spanish batteries in the plain below the North face of the Rock. On the suggestion of Sergeant-Major Henry Ince
Henry Ince
of the Royal Engineers, he had a tunnel bored from a point above Willis's Battery to communicate with the Notch, a natural projection from the North face. The plan was to mount a battery there. There was no intention at first of making embrasures in this tunnel, but an opening was found necessary for ventilation; as soon as it had been made a gun was mounted in it. By the end of the siege, the British had constructed six such embrasures, and mounted four guns. The Galleries, which tourists may visit, were a later development of the same idea and were finished in 1797. They consist of a whole system of halls, embrasures, and passages, of a total length of nearly 304 m (997 ft). From them, one may see a series of unique views of the Bay of Gibraltar, the isthmus, and Spain. Second World War onwards[edit] Main article: Military history of Gibraltar
Gibraltar
during World War II When World War II
World War II
broke out in 1939, the authorities evacuated the civilian population to Morocco, the United Kingdom, Jamaica, and Madeira
Madeira
so that the military could fortify Gibraltar
Gibraltar
against a possible German attack. By 1942 there were over 30,000 British soldiers, sailors, and airmen on the Rock. They expanded the tunnel system and made the Rock a keystone in the defence of shipping routes to the Mediterranean. In February 1997, it was revealed the British had a secret plan called Operation Tracer to conceal service men in tunnels beneath the Rock in case the Germans captured it. The team in the rock would have radio equipment with which to report enemy movements. A six-man team waited under cover at Gibraltar
Gibraltar
for two and half years. The Germans never got close to capturing the rock and so the men were never sealed inside. The team was disbanded to resume civilian life when the war ended. Sayings[edit] The saying "solid as the Rock of Gibraltar" is used to describe an entity that is very safe or firm.[10] The motto of the Royal Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Regiment and Gibraltar
Gibraltar
itself is Nulli Expugnabilis Hosti ( Latin
Latin
for "No Enemy Shall Expel Us"). Nature Reserve[edit]

Female Barbary macaque
Barbary macaque
feeding her young at Mediterranean Steps, on the Rock of Gibraltar.

Main article: Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Nature Reserve Approximately 40% of Gibraltar's land area was declared a nature reserve in 1993. Flora and fauna[edit] See also: Barbary macaques in Gibraltar, List of mammals in Gibraltar, and List of reptiles and amphibians in Gibraltar The flora and fauna of the Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Nature Reserve are of conservation interest and are protected by law.[11] Within it is a range of animals and plants, but the highlights are the Barbary macaques (the famous Rock apes), the Barbary partridges, and flowers such as Gibraltar's own Chickweed, Thyme
Thyme
and the Gibraltar Candytuft.[citation needed] The Barbary macaques may have originated from an escape of North African animals transported to Spain; it is also possible that the original Gibraltar
Gibraltar
macaques are a remnant of populations that are known to have spread throughout Southern Europe during the Pliocene, up to 5.5 million years ago.[12][13] Some animals of the Rock have been reintroduced by the Alameda Wildlife Conservation Park who have three Barbary macaques. Birds[edit] Main article: List of birds of Gibraltar The Rock of Gibraltar, at the head of the Strait, is a prominent headland, which accumulates migrating birds during the passage periods. The vegetation on the Rock, unique in southern Iberia, provides a temporary home for many species of migratory birds that stop to rest and feed before continuing migration for their crossing over the sea and desert. In spring, they return to replenish before continuing their journeys to Western Europe, journeys which may take them as far as Greenland
Greenland
or Russia.[14] The Rock has been identified as an Important Bird Area
Important Bird Area
by BirdLife International, because it is a migratory bottleneck, or choke point, for an estimated 250,000 raptors that cross the Strait annually, and because it supports breeding populations of Barbary partridges and lesser kestrels.[15] See also[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rock of Gibraltar.

Disputed status of the isthmus between Gibraltar
Gibraltar
and Spain Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Cable Car List of famous rocks

References[edit]

^ Google
Google
(5 March 2018). "Peak: Highest Point" (Map). Google
Google
Maps. Google. Retrieved 5 March 2018.  ^ "Rock of Gibraltar, Gibraltar". Peakbagger.com. Retrieved 2 August 2014.  ^ "Altername Names for Gibraltar". www.geonames.org. Retrieved 2018-02-06.  ^ a b Welcome To The Rock of Gibraltar! by costarsure.com ^ "Pillars of Hercules". The Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Museum. Archived from the original on 20 July 2007. Retrieved 14 January 2008.  ^ Rodríguez Vidal, J.; et al. "Neotectonics and shoreline history of the Rock of Gibraltar, southern Iberia". researchgate.net. Elsevier (2004). Retrieved 23 June 2016.  ^ a b c d e Rose, E. P. F. & M. S. Rosenbaum (1991). A Field Guide to the Geology of Gibraltar. Gibraltar: The Gilbraltar Museum. p. 192.  ^ "1El relieve kárstico de Gibraltar
Gibraltar
como registro morfosedimentario durante el Cuaternario (Mediterráneo occidental)" (PDF). Boletín de la Sociedad Española de Espeleología y Ciencias del Karst (in Spanish): 7. 2002.  ^ Samuels, Kevin (20 April 2004). "Physical Geology 2004: The Rock of Gibraltar
Gibraltar
and Surroundings". Earlham College. Retrieved 5 July 2017.  ^ "the Rock of Gibraltar". Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 28 October 2012.  ^ Charles Perez & Keith Bensusan (2005). "A Guide to The Upper Rock Nature Reserve" (PDF). The Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Ornithologicaland Natural History Society. Retrieved 28 October 2012.  ^ "DNA solves mystery of Gibraltar's macaques". Gibraltar
Gibraltar
News Online. 26 April 2005. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 11 November 2009.  ^ C. Michael Hogan (19 December 2008). "Barbary Macaque: Macaca sylvanus". Globaltwitcher. Archived from the original on 19 April 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2012.  ^ "What to see". www.gibraltar.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 4 November 2011. Retrieved 28 October 2012.  ^ "Important Bird Areas factsheet: Rock of Gibraltar". BirdLife International. 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2012. 

Government of Gibraltar
Gibraltar
(1931). "Gibraltar". Gibraltar: the Travel Key to the Mediterranean: 5–12. 

v t e

Gibraltar
Gibraltar
topics

History

Neanderthals of Gibraltar Timeline (sieges) Pillars of Hercules First Siege
Siege
of Gibraltar Battle of Gibraltar Capture of Gibraltar George Rooke Treaty of Utrecht Thirteenth Siege
Siege
of Gibraltar Great Siege George Augustus Eliott Gibraltar
Gibraltar
real (currency) World War II Nationality Genoese in Gibraltar Maltese in Gibraltar Explosion of the RFA Bedenham Operation Flavius
Operation Flavius
(Death on the Rock) Aurora incident New Flame incident Fedra incident

Geography

General

Climate Geology

Azores– Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Transform Fault Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Arc

Environment

Birds Mammals

Barbary macaques

Reptiles and amphibians Candytuft (Iberis gibraltarica) Botanic Gardens Ornithological & Natural History Society (GONHS) Wildlife Park

Places

Natural

Bay of Gibraltar Catalan Bay Eastern Beach Gorham's Cave Rock of Gibraltar St. Michael's Cave Sandy Bay Strait of Gibraltar Vanguard Cave Windmill Hill

Built

Bristol Hotel City Hall The Convent Garrison Library King George V Hospital Moorish
Moorish
Castle The Rock Hotel St. Bernard's Hospital

Politics

General

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1969 2006

Law

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People

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Black Swan Project
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isthmus

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Sovereignty
referendums

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Gibraltar
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Gibraltar
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Gibraltar
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Gibraltar
Regiment

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Gibraltar
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