Rio Tinto River
Oh, Rio Tinto, once its surroundings were famous for rich deposits of precious metals, but time has spared nothing.
Nowadays, the river is famous for its unusual blood-red color and the surrounding landscape, so similar to that of Mars.
A little history of the Rio Tinto
The Rio Tinto is located in the province of Andalusia in southern Spain. It takes its source from the shores of Huelva and flows into the Atlantic Ocean.
Rio Tinto is famous for its blood-red colored waters. You may ask, why is it this color? Let’s delve a little bit into history. Since ancient times, the inhabitants of the surrounding areas have learned that the area adjacent to the river is rich in minerals, precious and semi-precious metals: ore, copper, silver, gold, iron. Thousands of years ago, the Iberians began mining precious resources there. They were succeeded by other peoples. Everything depended on who owned the territories at the time. But the development of the quarries never stopped for a moment.
If the resources were endless, and their extraction was not harmful to the environment, it is possible that mining would continue to this day. But things do not last forever, the reserves are gradually depleted and the Rio Tinto River has become “dead. Its waters are completely unfit for living organisms. First of all, because the acidity of the river (pH) varies from 1.7 to 2, 5.
If you compare it to the pH of concentrated lemon juice, Rio Tinto wins. Only one living organism has been able to survive in such conditions. It is the “extreme” bacteria that live in colonies. They eat copper oxide and absorb sulfur. Surprisingly, they feel quite comfortable. Here we come to the color scheme of the river. It has acquired a crimson color from iron salts, arriving in large quantities from neighboring industry. At present there is no mining, the deposits are fully developed, but mines, excavations and quarries remain.
Many famous scientists in the field of physics, astronomy and chemistry have become interested in the river. The point is that the conditions of life in the river are similar to those on other planets. It has long been proven that there was water on Mars, and, accordingly, life It can be concluded that there may be living organisms on this planet, similar to the aerobic extremophilic bacteria living in Rio Tinto. The outer landscape can also be called “Martian.” The bizarre meandering of the river, abandoned mines, rocks of various shades. Of course, the color of the river is of more interest. Walking along the river, it is impossible not to notice the change in colors and shades from deep red to emerald green. Presented almost the entire color spectrum you can imagine. Mesmerizing spectacle.
The area of the Crimson River is very similar to the Martian. This made it possible to conduct tests of Mars rovers, new modifications of the space suits. Recently a rare mineral called jarosite was found near the river, which can be formed only in such an acidic environment. It was found during one of the tests rover “Opprtuniti”, which belongs to NASA. Fans of extreme sports will also find something to occupy themselves with.
Despite the fact that Rio Tinto has become a very dangerous place, almost all year round it is visited by tourists and locals. The area has been landscaped and excursions have been created. If you want to get to the river on your own, the main reference point is the town of Nerva. Not far from it there is a tourist office, from which two times a day by train you can take a tour along the river. In addition to the river itself, you will see the largest quarry and the blood lake formed in one of the quarries, and visit the local museum. It contains mining tools as well as minerals found at different times.
Response: Rio Tinto River (Spain, Huelva) – Martian scenery! You will be amazed of how wonderful it is.
Hello friends and guests to my page. Today I want to tell you about an extraordinary place which we have in Andalusia (Spain). It is the Red River – “Rio Tinto”.
It is located in the north of the province of Huelva. It is 350 km away from my home in Estepona. I have read a lot about it, seen many pictures and I wanted to visit it for a long time.
To begin with, I was looking for a place where we could stay. In such places, which are associated with nature, I prefer to rent houses rather than hotels. After reviewing a lot of information about renting houses in those parts, I found what I liked best. “La Caldera Vieja. To be honest, I find it hard to say in Russian what it is. We call it “finca” here, but in Russian it would probably be more understandable to call it a “fazenda”. It is only 6km from the Red River and a couple of kilometers from the small town of “Zalamea la Real”. I booked the house on the phone with the owner. As far as I understood, the owners rented two houses and a few separate rooms in another large house, where they live themselves.
We rented this two-story house.
On the first floor there is a living room, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom, and on the second floor is a bedroom with two beds of 90 cm.
And this is the area of the farmhouse. Everything around is well maintained, beautiful, made with great love and care.
The owners of this farmstead-family couple Silvia and Antonio. Very nice, friendly and helpful people.
Beside our house was a table with chairs where my husband and I in the evenings, wrapped in blankets and drinking “Rioja” with jamon, enjoyed the country air and silence. And in the early morning the roosters would wake us up! How I’m tired of it! The village at my grandmother’s house came to mind.
Every morning, for her guests, Sylvia served breakfast in the dining room of her big house.
Oh, my God! There was so much to see and do! The table was bursting with a variety of dishes! My husband still raves about Sylvia’s breakfasts.
We ate so much breakfast that we were too lazy to go on a tour of Rio Tinto
The cabin we rented is 75 euros/night for two, and 95 euros/night for four. If you are interested in this place, you can find it online or I can give you the landlady’s phone number. I recommend it 100%.
So, after a delicious and hearty breakfast we headed to Rio Tinto.
First, I’ll tell a little history to make it clear. As far back as 3,000 B.C., iron, copper, silver, and gold were mined in this area. They were first mined by the people of ancient Iberia, then by the Phoenicians, the Greeks, and the Moors. The largest extraction of ore in these places was set up in 1930 by Great Britain. They got so involved in the process that the level of acidity in the river increased greatly and began to threaten the environment. After this mining was reduced, but the quarries and mines remained, from which the metals continued to flow into the river. Today, the quarries are no longer in operation, and the acidity of the river is 1.7-2.5 Ph. This is higher than concentrated lemon juice or vinegar. The dark red color of the river is due to the presence of many heavy metals. For these reasons, there are no fish in the river and no animals come here to drink.
Until the 20th century it was assumed that there was absolutely no life in the river, but modern research has revealed that this is not the case. There was a large-scale study by astrobiologists NASA, who found in it thousands of varieties of fungi and bacteria. Also here was found the mineral Jarosite, which is formed only in an acidic environment. A similar mineral was found on Mars.
First we visited the Corta Atalaya quarry.
It is the largest quarry in Europe, where mainly copper was mined. Its dimensions are 1200m long, 900m wide and 350m deep. The quarry was in operation until 1994. To see it, you have to drive to a small town “Minas de Rio Tinto”, park the car on the road, near “Casa 21” and walk about half a kilometer through the forest. I don’t remember there being any signs. We asked the locals for directions.
After visiting this quarry, we returned to the car and drove to the center of the town to the museum “Museo de Minas de Rio Tinto”. There at the ticket office we bought tickets to the museum and a steam train tour on the Red River. The museum provided many exhibits of what was mined in these places…
And you could buy a bottle of water from the Red River.
It looked like red wine :)) After visiting the museum, we (with our car) and about 15 other cars, followed the guide car. We were brought to the quarry “Penia de Hierro”.
Here we were given helmets and led through the mine to the quarry, where the guide told us the whole story of the place.
And then we got back in the car and followed the tour guide car onward. We were brought to the station and put into an old steam train, which took us along the Red River.
The main thing is to hurry up and “score” seats in the train, which are on the left side of the movement :)), as the most beautiful views will be on the left. Before our departure, a photographer came on the train and without special permission began to take pictures of everyone. He said that on the way back we can get ready pictures. To be honest, I didn’t like this prank of the photographer and I wasn’t going to buy the pictures. All the way around Rio Tinto, the tour guide girl told us a bunch of interesting and funny stories about these places. I remember she joked, saying that the waters of the Red River is very good for body depilation, took a dip in the river, and the hair is like never before)).
Throughout the route we saw landscapes of extraordinary beauty.
It feels like you’re not on planet Earth, but on Mars! Really Martian scenery. Finally, the train arrived at its destination. A stop was made here and everyone went for a walk to the river. My God! It’s so beautiful! It is something unbelievable. The water in the river is like red wine.
My husband couldn’t resist and decided to try the acidity of the river on his “skin”.
My skin did not break out:))
After a short walk along the Red River we were called back to the train. On the way back I got on the other side to take pictures of the scenery from the other side.
When the tour was over and we got off the locomotive, we walked past the photographer. As I said before, I didn’t want to buy pictures, but what I saw changed my mind radically. One of our photos was A4 size and made in the style as if we appeared in a newspaper summary in the column “Rio Tinto”, as well as 2 keychains in the form of a steam train with our picture inside. In general, we did not hesitate to buy everything (even today I still have this keychain on my keys :)).
The way back by car, everyone did it on their own, without a guide car.
We visited the other quarry “Cerro Colorado”, which was not part of the tour program.
What a beauty! Truly Martian scenery!
Tours are held every day at 1:30 pm (you must arrive at least an hour and a half in advance). The price of the excursion, which includes a museum, a quarry and a steam engine: the adult ticket – 19 euro child ticket (from 4 to 12 years) – 15 euro child ticket (up to 3 years) – 3 euro
By the way, the most beautiful quarries -Corta Atalaya and Cerro Colorado are not included in the excursion program. You have to get to them by yourself.
Well, what do I want to say-I liked it all! And Rio Tinto with its landscapes, and the quarries, and the house that we rented for the period of stay. Everything is great. I recommend it 100%.