Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Rock of Gibralta
The Rock of Gibraltar (sometimes by its Latin name, Calpe or its Arabic name, Jabal al Tariq ("Rock of Tariq"), from which it English name is derived) is a monolithic limestone promontory located in Gibraltar, off the southwestern tip of Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. It is 426 metres (1,396 feet) high. The Rock is Crown property of the United Kingdom, and borders Spain. The sovereignty of Gibraltar was transferred to the Kingdom of Great Britain by the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 after the War of the Spanish Succession. Most of the Rock's upper area is covered by a nature reserve, which is home to around 250 Barbary Macaques - the only wild primates found in Europe. These macaques, as well as a labyrinthine network of tunnels, attract a large number of tourists each year.
Europe and Africa are separated by 7.7 nautical miles (14.24 km) of ocean at the strait's narrowest point. The Strait's depth ranges between 300 and 900 metres (980 and 3,000 ft) which possibly interacted with the lower mean sea level of the last major glaciation 20,000 years before present when the level of the sea was believed to be 110 to 120 metres (361 to 394 ft) lower. Ferries cross between the two continents every day in as little as 35 minutes. The Spanish side of the Strait is protected under El Estrecho Natural Park.