Andesite - a mineral rich alkaline volcanic chemistry arising mainly from submarine vulcanism and hydrothermal reactions


Chumbo - vernacular for the Mexican fig which features prominently in the cape as field boundaries and goat fodder.

Brotherhoods - organisations in parishes which arrange and operate the processions at festivals. They pay for and maintain the rites, giving themselves elaborate names to signify particular patron saints. Fit young men carry the elaborate floats considering it a privilege. None of the Almería brotherhoods is particularly ancient.

Cortijo - specifically an Andalus name for a type of farmhouse developed by the Arabs, retained by Moriscos and the fewer Spanish who took over their lands fter the expulsion. It is basically simple cubic vernacular architecture which bears a marked resemblance to classical Greek houses of the common people with few rooms to accommodate large families.

Cortijada - a cluster of farms traditionally occupied by large extended families, i.e. ‘Tribal’

Calderas - vulcanism is thought to have ceased before this land emerged from the abyss, so caldera floors were originally filled with marine sediment and hydrothermal minerals. However there is some evidence of aerial vulcanism in isolated areas which is interesting. More later.

Alluvia - There is great variety of sediments in this area arising from sequential inundations as well as submarine activity. The large plain from Retamar through Campohermoso has several layers resulting from an enormous inland lake that also laid the areas of gypsum in Murcía as well as sandstones. There are large areas of outwash from Nevada. Where the plain has been cut by ramblas the layers are fully revealed near Retamar. There are also volcanic outflows and areas of washout from local rainfall off the hills.

Clear sea - some coves that only a short time ago always had crystalline water are now subject to almost permanent cloudy sediments, (Cala Carbon), probably as a result of run off from intensive horticulture or sewage pollution. Sewage from Las Negras also contaminates Cala San Pedro due to over-intensification.

Massif (the Spanish) - textbooks say is the old continental core of the peninsula. It is mainly limestone but penetrated here and there by vulcanism due to Alpine collision thrust or raised as in the Picos de Europa in Cantabria. Its edge commences just north of the Cabo de Gata area. Best read about it!

ALBORAN - is the name of a small special island off the coast near Almería and gives its name to the bay it occupies.

LOS GENOVESES - a wide caldera basin well cultivated in which the family of the erstwhile owner of this whole coast have their hacienda. It is named from an historic episode when a Genoese fleet made the bay their base.

Era - the technological heart of the cortijo, its threshing and winnowing floor, circular to allow the perpetual motion of mule or donkey. The diameter of these stone paved features generally indicates the prosperity of the farm.

FERNÁN PÉREZ is the last remaining predominantly agricultural community in the coastal zone of The Cape. There are few touristic incomers but many from eastern Europe who service ‘The Plastic’. Like many villages even in England it seems to have evolved from a Roman villa. Its name suggests an historic feudal past.

LOS FRAILES are two volcanic cones which pierced and rise out of the main andesite mass to a height of ca 500 metres.

MORISCO is the name given to nominally christianised Moors whose province Andalucía was under treaty after the defeat of Granada - until they were expelled about 100 years later for demanding human rights.

CALA SAN PEDRO - the main alternative community in the area, without road access, site of one of the anti-pirate forts. Its cove had the reputation of being a snorkel paradise but reports from the last two years tell of increasing pollution by sewage from Las Negras as development overloads its old system.

NORIA was the name given to a mechanical waterwheel operated by donkey or mule drawing water from a large well. They are numerous in Níjar district but that at Pozo is the best preserved. They are generally situated in RAMBLAS. Between Carboneras and Mojacar is a village known as Las Norias.
Parque Nacional & Parque Natural
There are 2 main Spanish classifications of natural areas of special conservation concern, PARQUE NACIONAL and PARQUE NATURAL. This is hierarchical and the difference in level of protection is considerable. A Parque Natural enjoys minimal legislative control. See Conservation.

Pasos - basically the week of the Passions, in which the stations of the cross are re-enacted with varying degrees of theatricality.

Pyroclasts - Bursts of hot gas and dust (sometimes quite large fragmants) from eruptions.

Geomorphology - the shape given to land by its underlying geology.

ANGLESEY (YNYS MÔN) - an island off the coast of Wales, believed to have been the sacred island of druidic rite before Romanisation. It is a flat peneplane of pre-Cambrian geology with fertile soils, hence its title, Môn Mâm Cymru, Anglesey mother of Wales.

Dehesa - most prominent in the provinces of Extremadura these are in effect large tracts od managed woodland where the trees - olives, oak and cork oak mainly - are well spaced allowing ample grazing. They are not a prominent feature of southern Andalucía but do occur in the north western zone bordering Extremadura.

Bentonite - a white or cream volcanic ooze excavated in the Parque Natural. The El Fraile quarry is now closed but operated very recently. It is a mineral used in a similar manner to kaolin in medicines, plastics and cosmetics. It emerges as a form of soft rock but is easily broken down into slurry or powder. Its surface is slippery when wet and it erodes quickly.

Caldera - the hollow left when a volcano subsides. Those in the Cabo de Gata slumped over millennia on the sea bed resulting in rich mineral synthesis inside high craggy crater walls.