Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory located at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula. It is bordered to the north by Spain; the landscape is dominated by the Rock of Gibraltar at the foot of, a densely populated town area, home to over 30,000 people Gibraltarians. In 1704, Anglo-Dutch forces captured Gibraltar from Spain during the War of the Spanish Succession on behalf of the Habsburg claim to the Spanish throne; the territory was ceded to Great Britain in perpetuity under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. During World War II it was an important base for the Royal Navy as it controlled the entrance and exit to the Mediterranean Sea, the Strait of Gibraltar, only 8 miles wide at this naval choke point, it remains strategically important. Today Gibraltar's economy is based on tourism, online gambling, financial services and cargo ship refuelling; the sovereignty of Gibraltar is a point of contention in Anglo-Spanish relations because Spain asserts a claim to the territory. Gibraltarians rejected proposals for Spanish sovereignty in a 1967 referendum and, in a 2002 referendum, the idea of shared sovereignty was rejected.
Evidence of Neanderthal habitation in Gibraltar from around 50,000 years ago has been discovered at Gorham's Cave. The caves of Gibraltar continued to be used by Homo sapiens after the final extinction of the Neanderthals. Stone tools, ancient hearths and animal bones dating from around 40,000 years ago to about 5,000 years ago have been found in deposits left in Gorham's Cave. Numerous potsherds dating from the Neolithic period have been found in Gibraltar's caves of types typical of the Almerian culture found elsewhere in Andalusia around the town of Almería, from which it takes its name. There is little evidence of habitation in the Bronze Age, when people had stopped living in caves. During ancient times, Gibraltar was regarded by the peoples of the Mediterranean as a place of religious and symbolic importance; the Phoenicians were present for several centuries since around 950 BC using Gorham's Cave as a shrine to the genius loci, as did the Carthaginians and Romans after them. Gibraltar was known as Mons Calpe, a name of Phoenician origin.
Mons Calpe was considered by the ancient Greeks and Romans as one of the Pillars of Hercules, after the Greek legend of the creation of the Strait of Gibraltar by Heracles. There is no known archaeological evidence of permanent settlements from the ancient period, they settled at the head of the bay in. The town of Carteia, near the location of the modern Spanish town of San Roque, was founded by the Phoenicians around 950 BC on the site of an early settlement of the native Turdetani people. After the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, Gibraltar came under the control of the Vandals, who crossed into Africa at the invitation of Boniface, the Count of the territory; the area formed part of the Visigothic Kingdom of Hispania for 300 years, from 414 until 711 AD. Following a raid in 710, a predominantly Berber army under the command of Tariq ibn Ziyad crossed from North Africa in April 711 and landed somewhere in the vicinity of Gibraltar. Tariq's expedition led to the Islamic conquest of most of the Iberian peninsula.
Mons Calpe was renamed the Mount of Tariq, subsequently corrupted into Gibraltar. In 1160 the Almohad Sultan Abd al-Mu'min ordered that a permanent settlement, including a castle, be built, it received the name of Medinat al-Fath. The Tower of Homage of the Moorish Castle remains standing today. From 1274 onwards, the town was fought over and captured by the Nasrids of Granada, the Marinids of Morocco and the kings of Castile. In 1462 Gibraltar was captured by 1st Duke of Medina Sidonia. After the conquest, Henry IV of Castile assumed the additional title of King of Gibraltar, establishing it as part of the comarca of the Campo Llano de Gibraltar. Six years Gibraltar was restored to the Duke of Medina Sidonia, who sold it in 1474 to a group of 4350 conversos from Cordova and Seville and in exchange for maintaining the garrison of the town for two years, after which time they were expelled, returning to their home towns or moving on to other parts of Spain. In 1501 Gibraltar passed back to the Spanish Crown, Isabella I of Castile issued a Royal Warrant granting Gibraltar the coat of arms that it still uses.
In 1704, during the War of the Spanish Succession, a combined Anglo-Dutch fleet, representing the Grand Alliance, captured the town of Gibraltar on behalf of the Archduke Charles of Austria in his campaign to become King of Spain. Subsequently most of the population left the town with many settling nearby; as the Alliance's campaign faltered, the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht was negotiated, which ceded control of Gibraltar to Britain to secure Britain's withdrawal from the war. Unsuccessful attempts by Spanish monarchs to regain Gibraltar were made with the siege of 1727 and again with the Great Siege of Gibraltar, during the American War of Independence. Gibraltar became a key base for the Royal Navy and played an important role prior to the Battle of Trafalgar and during the Crimean War of 1854–56, because of its strategic location. In the 18th century, the peacetime military garrison fluctuated in numbers from a minimum of 1,100 to a maximum of 5,000; the first half of the 19th century saw a significant increase of population to more t
Catalan Bay is a small bay and fishing village in Gibraltar, on the eastern side of The Rock away from the main city. Although the origin of Catalan Bay's name is documented, a couple of theories co-exist. Documentary evidence suggests that the bay is named after a group of around 350 Catalan servicemen believed to have settled there after having assisted the Anglo-Dutch forces who captured Gibraltar during the War of Spanish Succession on 4 August 1704. Evidence supports the theory that Catalans settled in Catalan Bay giving rise to the above etymological definition; the name La Caleta pre-dates that of Catalan Bay. The fishing villages of La Atunara and La Caleta are mentioned in a Royal Dispatch of 6 March 1634, being under the jurisdiction of the "Tercio del Mar de Marbella y Estepona" in the Kingdom of Granada. Since it has been called La Caleta for much longer than it has been called Catalan Bay; the first mention of Catalan Bay was at least, in the mid-eighteenth century, between the second and third siege of Gibraltar.
It appeared on William Faden's map, or in John Cheevers's map. Before that, it was named "Catalan Battery", "Catalan Beach" or "Playa de los Catalanes". In 1704, during the capture of Gibraltar by an Anglo-Dutch combined operation, an expedition landed there of around 350 Catalans followers of Charles of Austria and commanded by Prince Georg von Hessen Darmstadt and general Joan Baptista Basset, they most came to Gibraltar in at least five ships, as among the lists of Catalan expeditionaries there are five vessel owners. The Catalans formed two companies, an artillery company and an infantry company of mountain fusiliers. Both protected the isthmus of Gibraltar and attacked mountain areas of the Rock against Spanish grenadiers; some of the surnames of the Catalans who participated in the conquest are: Andreu, Auger, Bertran, Boix, Bosch, Canovas, Carreras, Castells, Clavell, Corrons, Cortès, Estanyol, Esteve, Ferrer, Fonollós, Freixes, Frutó, Goy, Llopis, Martí, Matalonga, Navarro, Oliver, Pausà, Pi, Pujol, Ribas, Rossell, Rovira, Salvat, Sanromà, Siurana, Trebó, Trullàs, Virolà, Viudes.
Subsequently, the conquest, some of these Catalan soldiers settled in Gibraltar, after the departure of the majority of troops used in the conquest, helped establish the first military checkpoint of Gibraltar. The Catalan Alfons de la Capella, lawyer of the Royal Council of Catalonia, became a judge in Gibraltar; the Catalan Josep Corrons was appointed Alcaide of the Sea and was appointed Sergeant Major of Gibraltar. The Catalan Andreu Martí was responsible for directing the work of the prisoners after the conquest; the Catalan Jeroni Fàbregas was responsible for the distribution of ammunition. In the 1705 siege, the Catalan soldiers fought again in defence of Gibraltar in an area called "Catalan Guard" or "Catalan Post" in Wolf's Leap. In 1709, Catalan Josep Valls, a Gibraltar resident, collaborating with Catalan traders Salvador Feliu de la Penya, Joan Verivol, Josep Grasses, Josep Boigues, created a commercial company called "Companyia Nova de Gibraltar", in order to replace the monopoly of Cádiz in ocean trade, that would endure until 1723.
Another theory suggests that the latter could be an English mispronunciation of Caleta. Catalan Bay had been populated by Genoese fishermen who were part of a much larger settlement pattern along the eastern coast of The Rock during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In the eighteenth century Genoese was so spoken in Gibraltar that government notices were published in this language. Genoese was spoken in La Caleta well into the nineteenth century, dying out in the early decades of the twentieth. There has been some discussion about the possibility that the British may have mixed up Catalans with Genoese but, according to some opinions, it is by no means clear why they would suffer such a confusion since there is other evidence which demonstrates that the British were aware that the residents of La Caleta were Genoese: the orders for the siege of 1727 refer to this bay as the Genoese Cove and the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century censuses record large numbers of people born in Genoa, not in Catalonia.
However, the seventeenth-century French map "Plan de Catalan Bay ou la Caleta", which showed houses and lists of the inhabitants living in Catalan Bay before the village was built, shows various Catalan surnames among its inhabitants though they were not a majority compared to Genoese surnames. Therefore, there is documentary evidence that among the first inhabitants of Catalan Bay there were Catalans, despite the fact that they were few in number compared to the Genoese. There is considerable evidence that during the seventeenth century Catalan fishermen tra
Gibraltar Botanic Gardens
The Gibraltar Botanic Gardens or La Alameda Gardens are a botanical garden in Gibraltar, spanning around 6 hectares. The Rock Hotel lies above the park. In 1816 the gardens were commissioned by the British Governor of Gibraltar General George Don, it was his intention that the soldiers stationed in the fortress would have a pleasant recreational area to enjoy when off duty, so inhabitants could enjoy the air protected from the extreme heat of the sun. The gardens were resurrected in 1991 by an external company when it was realised that since the 1970s they had fallen into a poor state. Three years the gardens had the addition of a zoo: the Alameda Wildlife Conservation Park. In 2001 a bronze sculpture of James Joyce's Molly Bloom was installed in the gardens; this running figure was commissioned from Jon Searle to celebrate the bicentenary of the Gibraltar Chronicle in 2001. General Don had commissioned a memorial of George Augustus Eliott, 1st Baron Heathfield in 1815, which did not materialise in the form requested.
A colossal statue of General Eliot, carved from the bowsprit of the Spanish ship San Juan Nepomuceno, taken at the Battle of Trafalgar was first created. That statue was taken to the Governor's residence, The Convent, where it stands today, being replaced by the present bronze bust in 1858; this statue is guarded for four 18th-century howitzers. The plants of the Alameda Gardens are a combination of native species and others brought in from abroad: Dracaena draco, a subtropical Dragon Tree native to the Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Madeira and locally in western Morocco; the oldest dragon tree in the gardens is about 300 years old. Stone pine, a species of pine native of southern Europe the Iberian Peninsula. Wild Olive, a species of small tree in the family Oleaceae. Celtis australis, a deciduous tree that can be among 20 to 25 metres of height. Grevillea robusta, the largest species in the genus Grevillea. There is only one specimen of this tree in the gardens. Canary Island Date Palm, a large palm native to the Canary Islands off the Atlantic coast of north Africa.
Washingtonia filifera, a palm native to the desert oases of Central and southwestern Arizona, southern Nevada, extreme northwest Mexico and inland deserts of southern California. Howea forsteriana, endemic to Lord Howe Island. Solitaire Palm Ptychosperma elegans an evergreen shrub native to East Asia. Bougainvillea, a genus of flowering plants native to South America from Brazil west to Peru and south to southern Argentina. Asteraceae, the second largest family of flowering plants. Pelargonium, a genus of flowering plants. Succulent plant, water-retaining plants adapted to arid soil conditions; the Alameda Open Air Theatre was inaugurated once again on 12 April 1996 at four o'clock with three bands of music playing - the same number of bands as had attended 180 years before to the hour at the opening of the Alameda Gardens in 1816. In order to extend its use from just theatre to general use, a number of new features were introduced, like the waterfall and lake - the largest area of open fresh water on the Rock, with Koi Carp and a collection of exotic lilies.
Since its opening, this venue has been used for a variety of purposes, from beauty contests to band concerts weddings, dinner dances and variety shows. It is the main venue for the GIB Fringe; the theater is available for hire and all proceeds will go directly into continued improvements in the theatre and in the rest of Gibraltar's historic and improving Alameda Gardens. Useful information about the theater and its facilities: Seating Capacity: 435 Stage Area: 120 m2 Lighting Equipment: 34 Wide and Beams with colored filters if required. 3 stage and 3 public entrances. Bar, changing rooms and toilet facilities. Seating with table maximum capacity: 300 List of plants in the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens Gibraltar candytuft Alameda Wildlife Conservation Park Grove Poplar avenue "Gibraltar Botanical Gardens "The Alameda"". Government of Gibraltar. Retrieved 2007-11-27. Official website Alameda Gardens in the site of the Government of Gibraltar
Geology of the Iberian Peninsula
The geology of the Iberian Peninsula consists of the study of the rock formations on the Iberian Peninsula, which includes Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar. The peninsula contains rocks from every geological period from Ediacaran to Holocene, many types of rock are represented. World-class mineral deposits are found there; the core of the Iberian Peninsula consists of a Hercynian cratonic block known as the Iberian Massif. On the northeast this is bounded by The Pyrenean fold belt, on the southeast it is bounded by the Betic Foldchain; these twofold chains are part of the Alpine belt. To the west, the peninsula is delimited by the continental boundary formed by the opening of the Atlantic Ocean; the Hercynian Foldbelt is buried by Mesozoic and Cenozoic cover rocks to the east, but outcrops through the Iberian Chain and the Catalan Coastal Ranges. The Iberian Massif consists of rocks from the Paleozoic Era, it was assembled about 310 Ma. Several zones occur in the Iberian Massif; these were the pieces.
On the north coast of Spain occurs the Cantabrian Zone. To the west and in the Iberian Chain and Catalan Coastal Ranges is the West Asturian-Leonese Zone; the Central Iberian Zone appears near A Coruña, through the north of Portugal, through the middle of Spain, including the Montes de Toledo. The Ossa-Morena Zone outcrops out to the east of Lisbon; this includes some Precambrian rocks. The furthest south part is the South-Portuguese Zone; the Variscan Orogeny occurred as the European Hunic Terrane and Laurentia-Baltica continents collided. In Iberia this occurred in pre-Stephanian Carboniferous; the external part of the orogeny was the Cantabrian Zone. This was deformed in the upper crustal layers; the West Asturian Leonese Zone and Central Iberian Zone are the external parts of the orogeny and are more deformed and metamorphosed, intruded. These three zones are part of one terrane; the Ossa-Morena Zone and South Portuguese Zone are two different terranes. In the Mesozoic this was covered with other sediments, which have since eroded.
The Cantabrian Zone consists of older Paleozoic unmetamorphosed rocks. It is bounded on the west and south-west sides by a concave arc of Precambrian rocks called the Narcea window, the Villabandin window in the Narcea antiform; the Herreria Formation from the Lower Cambrian consists of shale and feldspathic sandstone alternating, with some conglomerate. These have a thickness of 1 to 1.5 km. The Lancara Formation consists of a couple of hundred metres of limestone; the lower part was formed in peritidal zones in the Lower Cambrian, the upper member from the Middle Cambrian contains fossils and is red or green glauconictic and nodular limestone. The Oville Formation from Middle to Upper Cambrian contains alternating sandstone. Trilobite fossils are common in the shale; the Barrios Formation is Arenigian and up to 500 metres thick. It consists of a white massive quartzite; the Penas and Vidrias area, close to the western boundary of the Cantabrian zone has a complete succession of Ordovician deposits.
Black shales from Llanvirnian times are found in the Central Coal Basin eastern side. But in the Ordovician Period, this zone was above water and eroding; the Formigoso Formation dates from Middle Llandovery time in the Silurian. It is up to 150 m thick; the San Pedro and Furada Formations are up to 300 metres thick and consists of shale and iron bearing sandstone interbedded, These are from Wenlock Ludlow and Lower Gedinian times. In the Devonian Period deposition occurred on the western side, with dolomite, argillaceous limestone and shale from the Raneces Complex or La Vid Formation, it is 600 metres thick and Gedinian to Emsian in age. The Santa Lucia Formation is of limestone, it contains coral near the Narcea Antiform in the west and has peritidal facies in the east near the Central Coal Basin. The Huergas Formation alternates between red sandstone and shale and is of Couvinian to Givetian age; the Portilla formation is of coralline limestone of Givetian to Frasnian age. This is topped off by sandstone layers up to 500 m thick from the Frasnian to Fammenian age.
Devonian sediments are not found to the east of the central coal basin, are thickest in the west. A pelagic facies comes from the Pisuerga-Carrion province. In Carboniferous times deposition started with black shales and cherts from the Tournaisian age, red limestone, red shale and radiolarites were formed in the Visean age. Mountain Limestone is a thick black lifeless limestone of Serpukhovian age. Turbidites with olistoliths appear in the Serpukhovian, indicating the first sign of the Hercynian tectonic events; these first events happened in the Pisuerga-Carrion province. Variscan compression lifted the west side. Over time the compressed zone moved towards the east. In the Namurian A stage, the Olleros formation was byukt from turbidites in a trough in front of the orgen, the Barcallente formation was a carbonate platform further off shore. In the Namurian B stage the trough was forming San Emillano Formation, the Valdeteja Formation was offshore, but in deeper marine conditions. During Westphalian A time the trough was filled and deposits of terrestrial material formed the San Emiliano Formation and Sama Group and the Lena group being thickest in the Central Coal Basin Unit.
Further east in the Picos de Europa it remained covered in shallow water with continuous formation of a carbonate platform. The Westphalian age is represented by 5000 m of the Central Coal Basin, which as the name su
MV Aurora (2000)
MV Aurora is a cruise ship of the P&O Cruises fleet. The ship was built by Meyer Werft at their shipyard in Germany. At over 76,000 tonnes, Aurora is the sixth largest of seven ships in service with P&O Cruises, she entered service with the company in April 2000 and was named by Anne, Princess Royal in Southampton, United Kingdom. Aurora was refitted in 2014, during which the ship is the first of P&O's ships to receive an updated British Union flag design on her bow and her funnel repainted from yellow to blue. Aurora is a mid-sized cruise ship, with an overall length of 270.0 metres, moulded beam of 32.2 metres and draught of 7.90 metres. Her gross tonnage is 76,152 and her deadweight tonnage is 8,486 tonnes; the ship can accommodate up to 1,878 passengers in 939 cabins, with a maximum crew complement of 936. Aurora is powered by four MAN B&W 14V48/60 medium-speed diesel engines with a total power output of 58,800 kilowatts; these engines provide power for two STN AEG propulsion motors. The propulsion motors drive two propellers.
For manoeuvring, the ship has a stern thruster. The ship's service speed is 24 knots, though during sea trials she reached a maximum speed of 29 knots. Aurora was designed to appeal to the British market, was built as an extended and improved version of P&O Cruises' Oriana; the ship's hull and superstructure were designed to be attractive to this market with features similar to more traditional ocean liners, such as her raked, tiered stern. Aurora was built by Meyer Werft in Germany, her keel was laid in December 1998 and she was launched in January 2000. She was delivered to P&O Cruises in April 2000.. The ship was christened on 27 April 2000, by HRH Princess Anne; the champagne bottle did not shatter when it fell unopened into the sea. This type of occurrence is considered a bad omen among seafarers, this incident has been blamed for the numerous setbacks that Aurora has encountered throughout her career. Aurora departed on her maiden voyage on 1 May 2000—a 14-night cruise to various Mediterranean destinations.
The ship's crew identified a major technical problem, the cruise was abandoned after 16 hours at sea. The cause was a propeller shaft bearing, damaged by overheating and required urgent repair while the ship was out of service. On 3 May 2000, the ship returned to Southampton. Passengers expressed disappointment about the incident but reported that they were satisfied with P&O Cruises' response to the situation. P&O Cruises offered all passengers a full refund and compensation package, worth about GBP£6 million. Aurora sailed to Blohm + Voss in Germany; the ship returned to service on 15 May 2000, to undertake her second scheduled cruise to the Canary Islands. In March 2001, Aurora was sailing through the Taiwan Strait on her first world cruise when she was called to assist Pamela Dream, a Cambodian registered ship crewed by Russian officers and crew which had capsized in rough seas. Aurora launched her fast rescue boats to retrieve survivors from the water; the crew were able to retrieve three survivors.
A crewmember described the sea state as "very rough, with waves of about 5 m". One of Aurora's propellers was damaged by flotsam, an inspection of the propeller was carried out in Singapore where it was polished by divers; the damaged propeller was replaced in dry dock in Southampton in December 2002. On the morning of 11 September 2001, Aurora was positioned 80 miles south of New York City and 20 miles east of Atlantic City, New Jersey while a conference of IT executives and vendors was occurring on board; the ship had embarked from Pier 88 in New York City on the evening of 9 September. Following the attacks on the World Trade Center that morning, there were concerns for the safety of the British-owned ship. U. S. Coast Guard helicopters and vessels protected the Aurora until it was determined that the vessel was not in danger; the ship was planned to return to Manhattan on 12 September but due to the closure of New York Harbour the ship instead travelled at full speed to Boston to disembark its passengers before the Port of Boston shut also.
The U. S. Coast Guard requested that Aurora left US waters, with so many New York citizens aboard special dispensation was made to allow the ship into Boston to disembark US passengers. Many of the executives on board were from the banking and financial services industries, it was estimated that as many as 50 executives worked in Tower 1 and Tower 2 of the World Trade Center and adjacent buildings. Reports from conference attendees were that several executives on board were in communication via cell phones with their staffs in both Towers 1 and 2 who perished in the collapse of those buildings. During a cruise around the eastern Mediterranean in October 2003, over 500 passengers suffered stomach infections caused by the contagious Norovirus. During the outbreak, the ship's passengers were denied the right to land at Piraeus, Greece, as the ship was held in quarantine. Aurora departed from Piraeus on 31 October having loaded medical supplies. On arrival in Dubrovnik, Croatia, a health inspector boarded the vessel and ordered the sick passengers to remain in their cabins "as a precautionary measure".
Those unaffected by the virus were allowed to leave the ship. There was uncertainty as to whether the ship would be allowed to dock in Gibraltar, the next scheduled port. Aurora was allowed to dock in Gibraltar on 3 November. A small number of passengers who were still recovering were required to stay o
Bay of Gibraltar
The Bay of Gibraltar is a bay at the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula. It is around 10 km long by 8 km wide, covering an area of some 75 km2, with a depth of up to 400 m in the centre of the bay, it opens to the south into the Strait of the Mediterranean Sea. The shoreline is densely settled. From west to east, the shore is divided between the Spanish municipalities of Algeciras, Los Barrios, San Roque, La Línea de la Concepción and the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar; the larger part of the shoreline is Spanish territory, with part of the eastern half of the bay belonging to Gibraltar. The east and west entrances to the bay are marked by the Europa Point Lighthouse at Europa Point and the Punta Carnero lighthouse to the west of Algeciras; the area around the Bay of Gibraltar has been inhabited for millennia and the bay itself has been used by merchant shipping for at least 3,000 years. The Phoenicians are believed to have had a settlement near Gibraltar and the Romans established the town of Portus Alba on the site of modern Algeciras.
Peoples, notably the Moors and the Spanish established settlements on the shoreline during the Middle Ages and early modern period, including the fortified and strategic port at Gibraltar, which fell to England in 1704. The bay's strategic position at the mouth of the Mediterranean has made it a much-contested body of water over the centuries, it has been the site of several major sea battles, notably the Battle of Gibraltar and the Battle of Algeciras bay. During the Second World War, Italy launched human torpedoes from Algeciras on several occasions in attempts to sink British ships moored in the Gibraltar harbour, with mixed success due to the work of Commander Crabbe. More there has been a persistent dispute between Spain and Gibraltar over British sovereignty in the Bay of Gibraltar. Spain claims not to recognise British sovereignty in the area save for a small portion around the Port of Gibraltar, but the UK has asserts a normal 3 nmi limit around Gibraltar, with a demarcation in the middle of the bay.
This claim contradicts, according to the Spanish government, the treaty of Utrecht of 1713, by which Spain ceded to Great Britain the city and port of Gibraltar and the internal waters of that port, without granting any territoriality over the surrounding waters in the Bay of Algeciras. This has caused tensions between the two sides over the issue of Spanish fishermen operating in British Gibraltar territorial waters. Both have signed, are bound, by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea which specifies territorial waters. After the arrest of a Spanish fishing vessel by the Royal Gibraltar Police in 1998, the problem subsided. An incident in the area in 2007 concerning the Odyssey Marine Exploration was resolved in court cases by 2012 with Spain being awarded the ownership of the treasure-trove; the bay is a breeding area for several dolphin species, notably the Common Dolphin, Striped Dolphin and Bottlenose Dolphin, is visited by migratory whales. It is a popular destination for tourist whale-watching trips from Gibraltar.
The other major draw for tourists is scuba diving: the area is rich with wrecks and historical artifacts such as crashed Avro Shackleton aircraft and Sherman tanks from the Second World War, ancient anchors from Phoenician and Roman ships. To encourage marine diversity an artificial reef was constructed in the bay at the end of the runway; the area around the bay in Spain is industrialised with extensive petrochemical installations near San Roque and working ports in both Algeciras and Gibraltar. The bay's waters are used by a considerable number of large and medium-sized ships, notably oil tankers and freighters. Oil bunkering activities are heavily carried out; the CEPSA Gibraltar-San Roque Refinery, located in Spain, occupies 1.5m m² and employs 1,000. In 2015 the refinery produced 13.8m tons of fuel, 260,000 tons of purified Terephthalic acid, 170,700 tons of purified Isophthalic acid and 157,300 tons of Polyethylene terephthalate. In 2007 a serious sulphur incident happened as well as intermittent flaring episodes.
The impacts of such upsets on surrounding neighbourhoods had provoked outrage and public protest which led to the Consejería de Medio Ambiente of the Junta de Andalucía to order an independent audit aimed at investigating such incidents. The refinery continues to cause concern with close co-operation between various groups monitoring its activities. Fuel tanks on ships are known as bunkers, the process of fueling termed bunkering. Due to its geographical position on a major shipping route, Gibraltar is one of the largest bunkering ports in the Mediterranean, followed by neighbour Algeciras in Spain; the ports in the Straits — Algeciras and Gibraltar — are the second bunker market in Europe, behind the so-called Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp area. In Gibraltar 4,300,000 t of bunker fuel were delivered in 2007 compared with just 840,000 t in 1990 and bunkering is now the main activity within the Port of Gibraltar. Of a total of 8,351 deep-sea vessels which called at Gibraltar in 2007, 5,640 were supplied with fuel.
Algeciras recorded bunker sales of about 2,400,000 t in 2008. From the 24,535 vessels called at the Port of Algeciras Bay, 2,173 took on fuel. Gibraltar in 2009 supplied over 4,200,000 t of fuel; the local CEPSA refinery produces supplies much of the fuel for bunkering in the bay which it delivers on seven dedicated barge to either
Rock of Gibraltar
The Rock of Gibraltar known as the Rock, is a monolithic limestone promontory located in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, near the southwestern tip of Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. It is 426 m high. Most of the Rock's upper area is covered by a nature reserve, 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 was one of the two 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 fostered by the Greeks and the Phoenicians. Gibraltar is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea; the Rock of Gibraltar is a monolithic promontory. The Main Ridge has a sharp crest with peaks over 400 m above sea level, formed by Early Jurassic limestones and dolomites, it is a eroded and faulted limb of an overturned fold. The sedimentary strata composing the Rock of Gibraltar are overturned, with the oldest strata overlying the youngest strata.
These strata are the Catalan Bay Shale Formation, Gibraltar Limestone, Little Bay Shale Formation, Dockyard Shale Formation. These strata are deformed. Predominantly of shale, the Catalan Bay Shale Formation contains thick units composed of either brown calcareous sandstone, soft shaly sandstone interbedded with bluish-black limestone, interlayered greenish-gray marls and dark gray cherts; the Catalan Bay Shale Formation contains unidentifiable echinoid spines and belemnite fragments and infrequent Early Jurassic ammonites. The Gibraltar limestone consists of greyish-white or pale-gray compact, 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 badly eroded and rolled marine fossils within it; the fossils found in the Gibraltar limestone include various brachiopods, echinoid fragments, gastropods and stromatolites. These fossils indicate an Early Jurassic age for the deposition of the Gibraltar limestone.
The Little Bay and Dockyard shale formations form a minor part of the Rock of Gibraltar. The Little Bay Shale Formation consists of dark bluish-gray, unfossiliferous shale, interbedded with thin layers of grit and limestone, it predates the Gibraltar limestone. The Dockyard Shale Formation is an undescribed variegated shale of unknown age that lies buried beneath the Gibraltar's dockyard and coastal protection structures. Although these geological formations were deposited during the early part of the Jurassic Period some 175-200million years ago, their current appearance is due to far more recent events of about 5 million years ago; when the African tectonic plate collided 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 broke through the Strait of Gibraltar, the resultant flooding created the Mediterranean Sea; the Rock forms part of a mountain range that dominates southeastern Iberia. Today, the Rock of Gibraltar forms a peninsula jutting out into the Strait of 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. To the north, the Rock rises vertically from sea level up to 411.5 m at Rock Gun Battery. The Rock's highest point stands 426 m 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 Cable Car, stands at an elevation of 387 m. 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, a sandy plain extended east from the base of the Rock; the western face, where the City of Gibraltar is located, is comparatively less steep. Calcite, the mineral that makes up limestone, dissolves in rainwater. Over time, this process can form caves. For this reason the Rock of 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, plant and animal remains in the cave gave evidence of Neanderthals' varied diet; the Moorish Castle is a relic of Moorish rule over Gibraltar. It was built in the year A. D. 711, when the Berber chieftain Tariq ibn-Ziyad first landed on the rock that still bears his name. The 17th-century Muslim historian Al-Maqqari wrote that upon landing; the principal building that remains is the Tower of Homage, a massive building of brick and hard concrete called tapia. The upper part of the tower housed Moorish bath. A unique feature of the Rock is its system of underground passages, known as the Galleries or the Great Siege Tunnels.
The first of these was dug towards the end of the Great Siege of Gibraltar, which lasted from 1779 to 1783. General Elliot, afterwards Lord Heathfield, who commanded