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The Museum of Science shows the geological and paleontological wealth of the Jurassic rocks (16/04/2019)

The Councilor for Economic Promotion, Culture and European Programs, Jesús Pacheco, has attended the opening of the exhibition 'The coast of the dinosaurs and the Jurassic in Murcia', accompanied by the researcher and curator of the Asturias Jurassic Museum Laura Piñero, who has made a guided tour.

The new exhibition of the Museum of Science and Water, which can be visited until September 22, is produced by the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Principality of Asturias and the Jurassic Museum of Asturias, and expanded with several exhibition areas by the Museum of Science and Water.

In this exhibition, and according to Pacheco's words, "visitors will enjoy the great geological and paleontological richness of the Jurassic rocks".

The so-called 'coast of the Dinosaurs' of the Asturian coast is an important territory where the traces and bone remains of dinosaurs and other reptiles of the Jurassic abound, which is why, together with the seabeds of the territory of Murcia submerged at that time, designed an interesting sample of the Jurassic geological heritage.

Through illustrations, photographs and reproductions of scale and original fossils, aspects related to the rich paleontological heritage are addressed, in addition to providing detailed information on the paleogeography, the landscape and the predominant ecosystems at that time of the geological history of our planet, dominated by the dinosaurs and other reptiles.

The exhibition is completed by an exhibition area dedicated to the Murcian Jurassic and the seabed of the Murcian territory submerged at that time, a section dedicated to the paleontologist in Murcia Daniel Jiménez Cisneros, as well as a didactic area for children that will allow the most small family play with interactive, touch drawers, quizzes, puzzles ... all resources that invite you to investigate and learn more about life in the Jurassic.

The visit to the exhibition is included in the general admission price of the Museum (€ 1.50 / € 1 under 16 / free for retirees).

Exhibition modules

The exhibition is made up of the following ten modules:

1. The world in the Jurassic

The Jurassic period, with an age between 201 and 145 million years, is the middle part of the Mesozoic or Era of the dinosaurs that begins in the Triassic and ends in the Cretaceous.

The climate at that time was more humid than that of the Triassic and the polar areas were practically free of ice.

In addition, the continental masses began to separate and the opening of the Atlantic begins.

Dinosaurs roamed the land, some of which, like the sauropods, would reach gigantic proportions.

The Jurassic seas were somewhat warmer than now, a circumstance that favored the development of an abundant and diverse invertebrate fauna in which some varieties of molluscs such as ammonites and belemnites stood out.

As far as vertebrates are concerned, the undisputed kings were reptiles such as ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs.

2. Cliff rocks

The cliffs of the existing coastal strip between Gijón and Ribadesella keep the vestiges of extinct beings that populated the region during the Jurassic.

This coastal area, consisting essentially of rocks of this period, is called the Coast of the Dinosaurs.

The meticulous study of its rocks and fossils has allowed a reconstruction of the landscape of that time, very different from the current one.

At that time, the grass had not yet appeared, nor the plants with flowers.

The mountainous reliefs had not yet been formed.

Murcia was closer to the equator, at a latitude of around 33º N.

3. Life in the Jurassic seas

In Jurassic seas there are two very different stages that represent different environmental and palaeographic situations.

During the first half of this period the sea was open and with depths that did not exceed 100 m.

In it lived an abundant and varied fauna characteristic of these marine environments.

In the second half the panorama changed completely.

The Asturian coast became more heterogeneous with sandy beaches where deltas and mud flats emptied into adjacent areas.

An inner sea of ​​calm waters lay ahead.

4. A terrestrial ecosystem with dinosaurs

In the second half of the Jurassic, the tectonic activity that took place in Asturias caused an elevation and emersion of the territory.

In these terrestrial and coastal environments, for the first time in the region, a rich ecosystem dominated by dinosaurs and other contemporary reptiles was developed, of which bones and teeth, as well as numerous traces of footprints, are fossilized.

5. Modeling water on mud and sand

The rocks of the Jurassic Asturian cliffs and especially those of siliceous composition (sandstones) show incomparable examples of the modeling of water on soft substrates, such as sandbanks or coastal and marine sludge.

The detailed study of these geometric figures provides geologists with valuable data for the reconstruction of the Jurassic landscape, for example the direction of currents and waves of that time.

6. Resources of economic interest in Jurassic rocks

In addition to its obvious interest for the reconstruction of our geological history, Jurassic rocks are of great importance as an economic resource.

For example, a key piece in traditional Asturian culture is jet, a variety of fossil coal that has been widely used in jewelry.

Many varieties of Jurassic limestones and sandstones have been used over the last ten centuries as ashlars in the construction of buildings.

In addition, some gray marls of marine origin, rich in organic matter, are the mother rock of hydrocarbons, although not in sufficient quantity to be exploited, for the time being.

Finally, the permeability of calcareous and siliceous substrates gives rise to excellent aquifers, freshwater reservoirs of strategic importance.

7. The sites of ichnites on the coast of the Dinosaurs

The Coast of the Dinosaurs, which includes a wide sector of cliffs in the central-eastern area of ​​Asturias, is almost exclusively constituted by Jurassic rocks.

No other Spanish coast has so many paleontological evidences of the passage of dinosaurs and other reptiles like crocodiles, turtles and pterosaurs (flying reptiles).

This coastal sector was declared a Natural Monument in 2001 and, at present, there are nine marked deposits to which the visitor can access.

8. Hard work on the cliff deposits

While periods of intense rainfall favor the collapse of blocks of rock from the top of the cliff, the action of the waves, wears and fragments the rocks that accumulate at the foot of it.

The location, study and extraction of fossil deposits represents an arduous task for researchers who reconstruct the Jurassic puzzle of Asturias.

9. The Murcian Jurassic.

Life under the sea

During the Jurassic the territory that today occupies Murcia was under the sea.

The rocks of that period that today form a good part of the mountains of the northwest and center of the Region were formed in high marine bottoms far from the coast, where very few sediments arrived.

It is fine-grained and lumpy-looking limestones known as ammonite rosso for two reasons: its reddish color and the abundance of ammonites it contains.

The outcrops of Fortuna and Cehegín are some of the most important Jurassic sites in the Iberian Peninsula, with fossils of great scientific interest that offer us a unique window into the past.

10. Daniel Jiménez de Cisneros: pioneer of paleontology in Murcia

Considered one of the eminent Spanish naturalists of the first half of the twentieth century, the Murcian Daniel Jimenez de Cisneros (Caravaca, 1863 -Alicante, 1941) was the discoverer of most of the paleontological sites of the Jurassic and Cretaceous marine of southeast Spain.

His tireless pursuit of geological research led him throughout his life to tour the mountains of the provinces of Murcia and Alicante in innumerable field trips, many of them accompanied by his students from the latter's institute, where he served as Professor of Natural History for almost thirty years.

The result of all this work is the large number of scientific publications that left us in monographs and specialized journals, as well as its important collection of fossils that is still preserved today.

Source: Ayuntamiento de Murcia

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