On the eastern coast of Asturias every day that passes more fossils and traces of a fertile colonization of dinosaurs. The coastal strip that extends from Bowls (Villaviciosa) to Camangu (Ribadesella) is a getaway of low cliffs where the dinosaurs left their heavy footprint. A few years ago there is no truce in this research, and experts from the country come to this coast to check on the ground the real importance of the findings.
There are companies that guide you to the main deposits of Jurassic traces on the east coast.
What footprints will we find?
The natural archive of the Jurassic age in this area is available in a good series of gigantic slices that make up what geographers call statigmatic formations. The secondary age occupies a substantial part in the materials of these layers. Traces of gilliopods, saudopods, theropods and others, both bipedal and quadruped, carnivores or vegetarians, are the most abundant data, with measurements ranging from the foot of a pigeon to that of an elephant multiplied by ten. But in this privileged plot of the peninsular coast there are also remains of turtles, crocodiles and marine reptiles, fish, vegetables, trunks, small organisms, traces of jurassic waves, stream marks of that time, and countless other traces.
It is known that in the Upper Jurassic Asturias had an extremely arid climate, and its coasts were low, without the presence of cliffs initially. There was a time when the distribution of seas and lands was radically different from what we know today. A single "megacontinent" was divided in two due to the appearance of the Atlantic Ocean and the geological play of the tectonic plates. A large part of Asturias, during the Lower Jurassic, was submerged under the waters. A later withdrawal of these left the littoral turned into a huge marsh in which the minor and major traces of all the organisms that survived in that environment were inscribed. The dinosaurs, specific, found in this mud, seat at the same time of numerous fluvial deltas, an ideal place to satisfy your survival patterns.
The investigations are being carried out by the professor of Geology of the University of Oviedo, José Carlos García Ramos.
Although there are different privileged places for the discovery of the Asturian Jurassic, such as the Beach of the Greek in Colunga, and dozens of coastal points of Villaviciosa and Ribadesella, we propose here the low coast of Tereñes, in Ribadesella, as much for the relevance of the findings as for the landscape impression of the place.
The pedral of Tereñes
We go down a steep path to Pedral de Tereñes and we run into a thousand, large and small rocks, through which one passes awkwardly. Once down we walk to our right, towards the eastern slopes of the pedrero.
The largest concentration of footprints found here are located on a flat, sloping rock, as is customary in these cases. The first scientific tasting of these tracks concluded with "dinoturbation", that is, a mass of arbitrary footprints, due to a massive appointment of dinosaurs of all conditions, in the same place. However, the theory has changed recently. And is that if you analyze the length of the step, the size of them, and the orientation on an axis, is discovered, surprisingly (and this is a finding of great relevance in the continental Europe of the dinosaurs), that the traces they are parallel to each other, with an astounding symmetry that tells us that those "monsters" were walking in a pack around that place, taking a leisurely walk and bringing out his gregarious behavior. Most of the tracks correspond to biped herbivores, although it is shocking to see how at the top of the rock another different trail moves perpendicularly towards the first ones. They have sharper fingers, they are carnivorous bipedal, which commonly swallowed the first.
The prints proliferate everywhere. In addition to the classic depressions on the rocks, there are also the "countermolds", very abundant. These are obvious traces that appear upwards, due to a subsequent sedimentation in the time that covered them.
On your visit to this coast you will notice the abundance of dark and tiny notches enriched by phosphate, black spots on the skin of the rock. Well, they are not anything. They all have a past, it's basically about Jurassic fish scales y fossils of marine and terrestrial plants.
But there are more discoveries, there is also the earth itself, the Jurassic soil and subsoil that emerges in the pedral with desiccation cracks and flows immortalized in the current, broken and scattered soil. Its hard composition has also served as a quarry for the illustrious walls of human buildings. This is observed in some of the medieval houses of the region and also in a good number of buildings for public use, such as town halls.
The Jurassic has formed homes and sheltered ideas and social debates. But despite its importance, the broken floor of the pedral usually goes unnoticed to their hosts, many of them accustomed to contemplating their forms with some purely pragmatic purpose: to look for something firm to lie down, to capture lamps, winkles, octopuses, to fish to cane on some of its rocks, to find a deep well to bathe, some submarine channel to dive, or just fondle soft stones to relax. All the corners of the Pedral, or a good part in their defect, are, nevertheless, Jurassic. For more information about the Jurassic in Asturias www.museojurasico.comText: © Ramón Molleda for desdeasturias.com