Plain and cliff of Roques Albes (Fucimanya, Sallent)


The cliff or plain of Roques Albes (= white rocks), whether it is seen from below or above, is a magnificent viewpoint of the Plain of Bages that is located in the eastern part of the range of Montcogul (Sallent), near to the ridge and facing south. One 8-10 meter thick, hard and edged layer of limestone from lake origin makes the long and continuous cliff that outstands by its pale colour.
The limestone stratum of Roques Albes is placed above the continental gypsum of La Carrera and it tilts slightly north. Its sedimentation comes from beginning of Oligocene, about 30-35 million years ago. The Roques Albes are very visible from the south; however the stratum does not appear on the northern slope of the range because the fault of Guix stops it.
One set of perpendicular cracks cuts the limestone stratum. As a result of the erosion of the softer rock layer beneath, the hard limestone protrudes as a cornice, until, occasionally, a large block of rock falls downward.
The limestone of Roques Albes displays gray colour and fine and homogeneous deposition. It contains fossils of fragmented though recognizable shells from sweet water snails.
In addition to the limestone making the cliff east of the Montcogul peak, the name of Roques Albes has also been applied, likely wrongly, to the gypsum stratum that outcrops west of the summit of Montcogul and below the limestones, at the level of La Carrera. The gypsum outstands by its light colour in the red mudstones that are characteristic of the Artés geological formation. We allocate the name of Roques Albes just to the limestone that makes the belvedere above the Plain of Bages.
The Cave of Artés produces a wine named Roques Albes in honour of this beautiful geomorphology that is also the point with the largest panoramic view of the vineyards of Artés, from D.O. Pla de Bages. [photos Jordi Badia]