Jurassic Route


Explanatory panel: On the surface of a loose block of red sandstone there are two protuberances that correspond to counter-molds of a hand print and a foot print of quadruped dinosaurs, oriented in opposite directions. Continuing along the same edge of the cliff for another 150 m, we reach a sandstone stratum gently sloping towards the sea whose surface is crossed by diaclases (cracks of tectonic origin) in several directions. Less than a metre above it, a grey limestone appears containing tiny gastropod fossils and several large (up to 1.30 m in diameter) and more or less rounded depressions showing a bulging peripheral rim. These are ichnites of large quadruped dinosaurs (sauropods) that moved over a coastal lagoon. Due to their dimensions, they can be considered among the largest in the world; their poor conservation makes it difficult to observe them in detail. Apart from these, there is a trail formed by 6 footprints that also correspond to a sauropod, although smaller than the previous one. Laterally and on the same surface other ichnites appear, in this case tridactyls, some forming a trail, belonging to biped dinosaurs, although they are more difficult to identify. The distance between the explanatory panel and the end of the route is approximately 600 meters.


Vega Beach. The access from the coastal road N-632 is in the surroundings of the town of Torre, about 6 km to the west of Ribadesella. From there, a 1.8 km asphalt road leads to Vega beach itself. A few metres from the eastern end of the car park of this beach, we can see the limestones and dolomites of the Gijón Formation, to which a rhythmic succession of limestones and dark grey marls (Rodiles Formation) is superimposed. The latter, arranged in strata inclined towards the east, contains abundant marine fossils. Above this rhythmic series, there is a 1 m thick conglomerate layer of siliceous rocks and then alternating grey sandstones and red shales belonging to the Vega Formation of fluvial origin. Approximately 8 m above the conglomerate layer, a sandstone stratum can be seen inclined about 50º towards the northwest, at the base of which several tridactyl traces of bipedal dinosaurs can be observed.

Cliffs of Tereñes. To start this route, take the road to Tereñes until you reach a stop where it makes a sharp turn to the left, at a crossroads. From here, where the explanatory panel is located, take a narrow road that descends slightly for 200 m, from where a path on the right leads to the cliff. Once on this cliff, the route begins from right to left (towards the west). There you can see several dinosaur icons, among which three traces stand out, two of bipedal and tridactyl dinosaurs and another very spectacular one of quadrupeds, in which hand and footprints are represented. In a small inlet located about 90 m southwest of the Peñón del Forno, there is a block of red sandstone that has fallen at the foot of the cliff, on whose stratification plane, now vertical, there are several small tridactile tracks created by bipedal dinosaurs. The total route at the base of the cliff, which contains the main ichnites, as well as several very striking examples of Jurassic drying cracks, is about 400 m.

Ribadesella beach. It begins on the promenade at the western end of Santa Marina beach, where there is an explanatory panel. Looking to the south you can see some grey limestone from the Carboniferous that stands out in the relief forming a vertical wall. The latter coincides with an important fracture, called the Ribadesella Fault, which crosses the town centre. Along the promenade there is a rhythmic alternation of thin layers of limestone and grey marl with many fossils. This succession, which then continues along the cliff towards the west, shows various levels rich in very small lamelibranchs, as well as drying cracks and frequent dinosaur icons. The latter appear on the surface of the strata as oval-shaped depressions (footprints of quadruped dinosaurs) or as tridactyl shaped depressions (footprints of bipedal dinosaurs). Some of these footprints can be seen on the same descent to the cliff from the viewpoint at the end of the walk. From here and following about 150 m to the west at the base of the cliff, there is a large sandy limestone slab sloping towards the sea at about 80º which shows diffuse undulations due to the waves of the time. Above it, several footprints of quadruped dinosaurs can be seen.

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