czwartek, 30 września 2021

Azure Window - skalny most, którego już nie ma

Azure Window (Lazurowe Okno) – nieistniejący już most skalny u wybrzeży wyspy Gozo w Republice Malty, położony przy Dwejra na terenie gminy San Lawrenz. Pod formacją przepływała woda morska. Lazurowe okno było jedną z najbardziej znanych atrakcji turystycznych Malty. W pobliżu znajdują się także wewnętrzna zatoka morska Inland Sea oraz skała Fungus Rock, chroniona niegdyś przez Wieżę Dwejra, jedna z tzw. wież Lascarisa.

Z Wikipedii - 

The Azure Window (it-Tieqa Żerqa),  was a 28-metre-tall (92 ft) limestone natural arch on the island of Gozo in Malta. It was located in Dwejra Bay and was one of Malta's major tourist attractions.

The formation of the window was created by the collapse of a sea cave, probably during the 19th century. It consisted of a pillar of rock rising from the sea and joined to the cliff by a horizontal slab. Following decades of natural erosion that caused parts of the arch to fall into the sea, the slab and pillar collapsed completely in stormy weather on 8 March 2017.

The rock itself

Limestone is a sedimentary rock, composed mainly of skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral and molluscs.

The islands around Malta are significant in terms of limestone geology. On Malta you will find  Lower Corralline limestone, made up of carbonate sand and gravel, mixed with shell fossils. The carbonate sediments were originally living organisms, such as coral reefs, shells, or as very fine-grained plankton – probably on what now is Sicily. Then, these rocks were eroded, flushed south to Malta by high-energy waves and currents, and re-deposited as sand and gravel in shallow water.

The Lower Corraline limestone is hard and resistant to wear and tear, and form steep and vertical cliffs along the coast.

The Azure Window

The Azure Window developed through sea and rain erosion of a cliff face, progressing from an initial crack, then to a cave and finally an arch. It is not known exactly when the arch came to being, but the entire process is believed to have taken around 500 years.

Between the 1980s and the 2000s, parts of the top slab of the arch collapsed, significantly widening the arch. A large slab of rock on the outer edge of the cavity collapsed in April 2012, further increasing the size of the window.

In December 2016, an emergency order was published prohibiting people from going on the arch, trespassers facing a fine of €1500. However, this law was not enforced, and visitors were still walking on top of the arch days before it collapsed in March 2017.

The arch collapsed at about 9:40 am on 8 March 2017 after a period of heavy storms, leaving nothing visible above the water.The pillar gave way first, causing the top part of the arch to collapse along with it. The pillar shattered into large chunks of rock as it collapsed.

Koleiny w wapieniu - The cart ruts in Malta and Gozo

This site is one of the Cart Ruts in Gozo (other at Sannat cliffs) and Malta - close to Dingli, Naxxar and San Gwann.

There is not much information of the purpose of these ruts, and nobody knows what period of history they represent, but in any case, they are evidence of intense human activity during a particular era.

I have found three different C.R. in this location. Some of them deep some shallow with average distance between them of 110 to 140 cm.


 "cart ruts", a complex network of tracks carved in the rock. The age and purpose of the tracks is uncertain. In general, most archaeologists presume that the site developed about 2000 BC after new settlers came over from Sicily, starting the Bronze Age in Malta.

It is reported that the "Clapham Junction" nickname was given by an Englishman, who later reported that it reminded him of the busy railway station Clapham Junction in London.

Origin of the tracks

Similar tracks (known and signposted in Malta as Cart Ruts) can be found in a number of sites on both the major islands. Busewdien in St Paul's BayNaxxarSan Gwann and Bidnija are good examples on the main Island. Gozo's best are on the Ta’ Ċenċ plateau, Sannat.

Those at Misraћ Gћar il-Kbir are up to 60 centimetres (24 in) deep and have an average distance between them of 110 to 140 cm (43 to 55 in). Some cross while others form junctions, creating the illusion of a great railway station switching yard.

Research published in 2008 describes them as caused by wooden-wheeled carts eroding soft limestone. An analysis was made of the stresses that would have been caused by a cart which would fit the ruts. Professor Mottershead of Portsmouth University said "The underlying rock in Malta is weak and when it’s wet it loses about 80 per cent of its strength. The carts would have first made tracks in the soil but when that eroded, the cartwheels ran directly on the bedrock, making it easier for other carts to follow the same tracks