Wednesday, June 26, 2013

DINGLI CLIFFS—MALTA


The Dingli Cliffs are the highest landmass in Malta. The massive rock faces are located on the western side of the island, just west of Dingli village. When faults caused uplift of the rocks, the land became slanted from southwest to northeast, making the Dingli Cliffs the highest structures on the islands. They reach a height of 200 to 250 meters (approximately 721 feet) above sea level and extend down into the Mediterranean Sea. In certain areas, the rocks plunge vertically, and in some, the land gently slopes down into the sea. They extend for a few kilometers across. In certain sections of the segments, one can see many of the layers of sedimentary rock that have been deposited over time in the region. There are caverns scattered throughout these limestone rock faces.

Agriculture has thrived in this area for centuries through terrace farming. Farmers practice terrace farming by cutting flat sections into hilly or steep areas in order to plant crops. This type of agriculture prevents water from rolling down vertical rock faces so that crops can be grown in an otherwise severe and steep environment. This growing technique helped the people of Malta to grow their food throughout history. However, when pirates threatened the area, the farming would cease; the caverns in the sides of the rock faces would then serve as hiding places for the farmers. They would climb into the caves via ladders and would then pull the ladders into the caves so that they were safe from any outside threats. The farmers would then barricade themselves into the caves with boulders and would be completely hidden.

Misrah Ghar il-Kbir (known as Clapham Junction) is near the Dingli Cliffs. This feature of “cart ruts” is a network of tracks in the rock faces. The age and function of these depressions is unknown.


Photo courtesy of Alecastorina93 via Wikimedia Commons.

References:
http://www.visitmalta.com/en/info/dinglicliffs

http://www.dingli.gov.mt/default.aspx?MDIS=743

http://www.topsightseeing.com/malta/malta/beachesandscenic/dinglicliffs.htm

http://www.howtomalta.com/2012/05/dingli-cliffs.html

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/Farming-Like-the-Incas.html

http://www.culturalheritage.gov.mt/page.asp?p=3106&l=1

http://www.emwis-mt.org/documentation/context/physical%20factors_files/Geomorphology.htm

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