Thursday, December 4, 2014

Dinosaur Footprints from the "Plaza del castillo" of Pamplona ... in Madrid?

Carmen U. Godzillin paleontology blog, sent me a link to his article published in April 2009 entitled "huellas con historia",(footprints with history), which sheds light about the plate that at present is showing in Madrid:

According to local news from the National Museum of environmental science:

Was in 1876 when  Alfonso de Aretillo y Larrinaga found in the old floor of "plaza del castillo" the plate with the dinosaur footprints,and chose among others, to be  investigated in Madrid. The cityhall of Pamplona in that time finally gave the piece for the museum of Madrid.
So, although the events of "plaza del castillo" were as I told you in the previous article, this piece is not for those events.

Before publishing the news, I had looking in google search engine introducing the words dinosaur, arqueosaurio, Plaza del castillo, Pamplona, .. but  nothing found. As on the short museum  information card dont appeared more details than you saw, and taking into account the history of concealment of the excavations of  "plaza del castillo" from Pamplona, it seemed clear the conclusion ..but no. I was wrong and I apologize because all information that I previously published is contrasted and this is the reason that I usually put all the links that I can about it. If this new had it been what seemed , nor I could have found references online.

Now, the question would be: what happened with the rest of plates with dinosaur traces that speaking in the article, and where they came from.?  Because in Pamplona, there is no middle Triassic. By the time of formation of these plaques, and that in the nineteenth century would not carried  stones for paving a square outside the province.
It seems that the oldest rocks in the area of Pamplona is precisely from this time, located in the valley of Ollo and cendea  of Iza. However, they are not  mostly limestone, but gypsum and ophites, as you can see here in Euskomedia:

La historia de los materiales geológicos que aparecen en las Cuencas, puede remontarse
hasta el Triásico Medio, cuando el territorio queda cubierto por un lago salino, en cuyo
fondo empiezan a depositarse arcillas con algún nivel de caliza, yesos y sales (Keuper). Al final
del Triásico y durante el Jurásico, este lago del Keuper se abre al mar, que tendrá pocas
repercusiones para lo que luego serán las Cuencas Prepirenaicas. Durante este largo periodo
que llega hasta el Cretácico Superior, se van depositando en un fondo marino las calizas
y margas que hoy rodean las Cuencas.

The history of geological materials appearing in  the Basins, can be came from
the Middle Triassic, when the territory is covered by a saline lake, in which
background begin depositing clays  with some level of limestone, gypsum and salts (Keuper). 
At the end  of Triassic period and  during the Jurassic, this lake of Keuper opens to the sea, which will have little implications for what will be the Prepirenaicas Basins. During this long period
that reaches until the Upper Cretaceous, are deposited on a dark background limestones

and marls that  today surrounding  the basins.

So if you encourage  to lookin for the quarry from came this  stones, I would start in this area, but if you find something of interest, Warn  to the forest rangers of Navarre!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Dinosaur traces from Madrid?

Image of traces of arqueosaurio from Pamplona/Iruña, in the museum of Madrid

Yes, I was astonished, like the stone slab of the image.
I was in a workshop of tourism in Madrid, and, to take advantage of my free time, I went to the museum of natural sciences. Very interesting all exposures.
In the area dedicated to paleontology, I found this slab looks like limestone, with ictites, or fossil footprints of  animals. I could not believe when I saw where he came from. According to the board, comes from the castle square(Plaza del castillo) of Pamplona / Iruña.
Anyone who knows the plaza del castillo(Gaztelu enparantza in basque) will know that this is one of the oldest sites of Pamplona, where for thousands of years there has always been some kind of construction, so something like dinosaur traces, and from middle Triassic (about 230 million years) is not on the surface. So, how did they find?

From 2001 to 2003 the Plaza del castillo was destroyed to make an underground parking. During the works that could see heavy machinery in an area of very high archaeological value, it came to the light the largest Muslim cemetery of the north of the Iberian peninsula, a convent of the tenth century, the remains of two castles, the Louis Hutin`s one , and later one of the invader Fernando Catholic (which it did with previous stones to preventing that the Navarre king will return to retrieve Pamplona), a large piece of a huge Roman wall of the  high empire with the base of the towers, (and now we can see into the parking cuted like cheese for the cars), Roman baths, and an unknown menhir, funds of prehistoric huts, etc ..
Most of these things ended up as rubble under the new houses Lezkairu.
Due to political affairs, stubbornness and absolute contempt for the history of our people, was destroyed what could have been an open-air museum revenue generator for the city, and a golden opportunity to know thousands, now with dinosaur footprints, million years of history of the city.

But was unknown  that after razing the human historical part, They kept digging and found this, they took him to Madrid, and exhibited there. Who was the paleontologist that researched it ? Where is the rest of the plate?
The archeology team that was sent to disassemble the Roman baths, asked how he had to dismount Roman baths, because nowhere in the world is dismounted, but are conserved. As they could not make it morally, resigned, and hired other people able to look away.
I put some very interesting link, especially the first three, because they are more precise, for you would want to deepen you may do so.
I beg you to spread  this, to let people know what politicals did and not happening again, and if possible, all remaints are brought to light, and returned to their place of origin.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Autum is coming! Colours mushrooms and gastronomy. Last photos

12 september 2014 Aribe ( Aezkoa valley)
 The arrival of autumn is anticipated by migratory birds, many of which have already taken their way  to the south to warmer climates with more food than there is for them in this land for the next months. It is  for common house Martins (Delichon urbicum) that meet every year at a certain point, in every town, and decide to start the long trip to sub-Saharan Africa.

And by the way I will comment that this painted wall corresponds to Trigolimpio, an association of  local farmers dedicated to market their organic meat of pony, beef and lamb from our Pyrenean valleys who lives in fabulous condition which we can see if we go to the higlands of Irati, and the sale reverts entirely in them, without intermediaries, enabling the survival of the livestock on these lands. I encourage you to taste it.

As you can see in the following photo, the colors of Irati take to come yet, and as usual, about 1 month, which is not to say that the forest is not pretty.
The warm temperatures, lack of consistent rain, the subsequent lack of wind, and it's still early, makes the leaf fall does not arrive.

Irati near from  Orbaizeta old munition factory , 26  september 2014

Orbaizeta 12 october:

I  add you some photos to look the colour of the forest. They already have more color, but there are still lots of green. My forecast is still for the last week of October, first of November.

 Aezkoa valley, from Orbaizeta,  1km to Irati

View of the Ori  mountain (Salazar valley,) from Orbaizeta (Irati south west)

Beeches and Scotch brooms (Cytisus scoparia)

Hygroscopic earthstarAstraeus higrométricus)

5  november

The rain and cold, and because we are in the middle of the autum, they are favoring the final color changement. On the summits from 1200 meters,we can begin seeing the snow, and the color of the forest has increased very much. In the valleys we have still up to 40% green.
If you come this weekend, you will find it quite nice, and probably will not last much longer.

Olaldea /Garralda Oak forest, few kilometres to the south of Irati
The mountains further south, riches in different  species of trees have started earlier with the change of the colour that we expected in the beech forest.

 Arpea Cave ( Garazi/ Cize Valley)
This year the highlands of Irati are not so dry as is usual in other years , and they has continuously been sprouting grass. we can see in the photo the  Arpea cave, that looking the green hues (I have not retouched the photo ) seems spring.

Mushrooms have been a shy presence due to the high temperatures and lack of moisture, butspecies like the  Amanitas  seems get very well.

Fly amanita (Amanita Muscaria)
A mushroom consumed in Navarra, but not for all people, is the Galanperna or parasol mushroom, which has sprout abundant in meadows and beech forests, but in drier places did not be in existence for long before  dry as cardboard.

You can see the size of this item, it´s big like a hat:

Parasol mushroom  (Macrolepiota procera)
 I told you...

As big as a hut..

With the rut this year we had something similar; although normal in other years was to start around 15 September, this year has been delayed a lot, and it was not until earlier this week, on Monday 20, Tuesday 21, which has not begun to hear and low intensity and duration.

But what most people are waiting for is the begining of mushroom season. 
The boletus edulis, or Porcini, onddo beltza called here, have not yet come out in significant number, but  many months we started harvesting other types of mushrooms, such as Sweet tooth  or Tripaki  (Hydnum repadnum), the horn of plenty (Cratarellus cornucopioides), or  the  Zizahori or Chanterelle,(cantharellus cibarius), among others.

Obviously, there are also toxics, mortals and indigestibles, and that makes (and they do well) that many people  they dont catch species  unknowns.
What is best in my opinion, is to go slowly, expanding knowledge and continue to consume only those which are safe, but now some of them more.

 Therefore, every Saturday afternoon in October, we offer guided tours to the mountains, where we will see many things as usual, but also we will pick,mushrooms, goods and not edible specimens, later to classify them according to some simple keys  of  GARRAPO,company, and then have dinner every Saturday at a different restaurant in the valley, prepared differently, and all for a fixed price of € 40 + VAT. 

They will be small groups of no more than 10 people, because is a lot of work to clean and cook the mushrooms almost the same time that we  give they.
 Places are still available for the 4 Saturdays, so I encourage you!


v  4 october PARDIX Restaurant  (Orbaizeta) 948 76 60 01

v  11 october  ARIBE Hotel Restaurant (Aribe) 948 76 44 66

v  18 october  HERRIKO OSTATUA Bar (Garralda) 618 10 73 79

v  25 october   SARIGARRI inn (Abaurrepea) 948 76 90 61

The company GARRAPO are friends and managers of the mycological Ultzama Park whose magnificent web I recommend you,  ,

With them I did last year a training course to complete the knowledge I already had beforehand, because when I was  I went going with my family  in many times to take  mushrooms.

 Finally, I will commentyou something about the fascinating world of fungi;
The photo  that you have below is the Armillaria ostoyae, somewhat old. It is a fungus that can be  a pest because  rot the healthy wood ,It is edible, although here there are no custom of eating.
The amazing thing about this fungus, and probably many others, is that in Oregon (USA), there is a clonal colony of this fungus, and at the moment, is the largest known organism with more than 890 hectares and 2400 years old. 
Do not imagin a typical mushroom out ground.Is the mycelium, like the roots, going underground among the roots of trees.

Armillaria ostoyae in Irati

Lactarius piperatus

The strange mushroom ( Phragmobasidiomicetes?)

Charcoal burner or Gibelurdina (Russula Cyanoxantha)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Cleaning in community work the Orbaizeta old munition factory

Cleaning the old workshop of examination of the ammunition 

In June during days 18 and 25, members of the tourism sector Valley Aezkoa who wanted do things despite the cuts and the lack of grants administration, met in the munition factory for Orbaizeta to improve accessibility and provide a more appropriate image as it is one of the main attractions of the Aezkoa valley.
With the approval of the council of Aezkoa Valley, owner of the ruins, we organized an auzolan or community work with the first goal of cutting the grass, cleaning trash, shut off the most dangerous areas and create on the slope some steps to the river Legartza, and people can admire the 21 stone arches that separate the coal from the rest of the factory.
But undoubtedly the most important goal of all was to start doing things like tourist sector of our valley,and begin to believe by working together, it is possible to do things if we unite wills.

Making steps down
To make the descent to the river was necessary  make a channel for a small but steady trickle of water that made the descent a something dangerous  for the constant mud that formed there, chiseling the steps with a hoe, and make a handrail which eliminate the danger of the side more height.

The posters were also being cleaned, by the time had gone dark with algae, which looks like this kind of material.

Cleanliness posters
Cut, collect, carry.
The amount of grass and brambles to grow over time did take us all day, and that we were about 8 people.
Taking the grass with the "sarde"
Cleaning the patio of carpentry workshops (right) and locksmith (left)

The "hamaiketako"

Around 11 am we stopped for brunch all, what is here called Hamaiketako, which in Basque means literally "the eleven´s one". The council of Aezkoa Valley paid the lunch, besides petrol to brushcutters,  and a accident insurance for the whole day
Garbage accumulated mainly in the Bokarte

In bokarte area, a large stone arch in the middle of the factory, we collected a lot  of garbage accumulated during many years  being used  the factory as a dump . The typical attitude of "if you do not see it, does not exist and is not my problem." We could find plastics in perfect condition as if they had thrown yesterday, and some much older things like shoe soles or bits of leather, certainly with many years but were decomposing smoothly.
The next day at work we find much more trash under a mixture of soil, leaves and stones.

The following week we decided to focus our efforts on cleaning the bokarte, where the collapse of a wall had covered much of the stone bath where was a wooden wheel that moved a  machine to crush the slag from the two  furnaces.

The bokarte, before cleaning without water
After the cleanup. Would you want a shower?
As this machinery was moving as all others by the force of water, the water is still falling to the bokarte from the Iturroil brook, channeled for it, and whose entrance I show you below.

A detour causes some of the water can get through a secondary channel and go to bokarte.
Channeling  Iturroil brook.

The  second day team

There is still much work to do, to be able to leave as many years was  after the labor camps developed almost 30 years ago. 
No doubt we will meet again to do all that we can without money , hoping that one day, we can get financing for real consolidation of the ruins, which are falling apart a little more each year. 

I want to thank everyone who worked, and somewhen they will work, their volunteer work, which shows that if not always, sometimes where there is a will, there is a way.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Oaks,firs and beeches for the old boats structures

Pedunculate oak(Quercus robur) in Etxarri Aranaz (Sakana,Navarra)
If you have  been in the Irati forest you maybe watch  that mostly  is a beech forest (Fagus sylvatica) , and  in a part of the Salazar / Zaraitzu valley,and inSoule / Xiberua valley ,we have also white fir (Abies alba), in the southwestern limit distribution of Europe.
What fewer people know is that until the nineteenth century , much of the south sides of the mountains , were mainly groves of pedunculate oak (Quercus humilis), and in acid soils of  Aezkoa valley,sessile oak (Quercus petraea ), and often hybrids of both species.
Nearby from Orreaga / Roncesvalles , we have some specimens of  pedunculate oak (Quercus robur ) more adaptated to oceanic climate .

Why were substituted for the beech ?

The economic value of oak has always been higher than the beech . With oak  timber, is posible to do all the things that we can do  with the beech , but  for its high strength and durability, is used for the construction of wooden structures too, while with the beech , as the Spanish proverb say : " Use beech when to dont have another thing" y is usually used as a cheap alternative , and never for structures , at least traditionally .
Beech  was used to make wood tiles , called in these valleys , in basque" oholak ", but when they could , oak was used, as the old roof of the old church of Orbaizeta, until it was replaced by zinc tiles .
Oaks growth  slower than  beeches , and if we also add that oaks have been cut whitout the minimum conditions for their good regeneration , we have that pioneer species, as  the pine(Pinus sylvestris), or the beech in our area, have replaced the old inhabitants.

 Centennial oak in  Irati forest( Mendilatz mountain,  Aezkoa valley)
Quercus petraea inTxangoa(west side of Irati)
In the history of the weapons factory of Orbaizeta(XVIII century) one of the biggest of Europe,  appear the complaint that the spanish soldiers of this factory put to two neighbors of Orbaizeta,whe they were cutting an oak on Mount Mozolotxiki , located beside the Irabia reservoir water.
Today is a magnificent beech , with a few oak trees on its southern slope .
The residents to the Aezkoa valley had  forbidden for the Spanish crown  cut wood from their own forests , due to a document signed between the  Aezkoa  valley and theSpanish crown , which in the late eighteenth century yielded the forests to produce coal for the owens of the munitions factory .
The Aezkoan people , who did not understand spanish ,because their language was basque, apparently they trusted  in a priest and a teacher to sign the document , clearly better to the crown, and ruinous to Their.

Have been also used in the Irati forest the beeches to make oars to the navy. Until the twentieth century was a oars workshop inOtsagabia (Salazar/Zaraitzu valley) , and white firs were  used for masts of ships, due to  his great righteousness .

White firs(Abies alba) in Irati forest of Salazar Valley

 But the oaks also had a very important use in shipbuilding, and in Navarre were oak forests expressly used  to get special parts for different types of boats, which they were  very well paid .
When you should to make a curved piece of wood, you can do by two ways:  joining several pieces of wood to get the bend, or creating that curve with a branch of a tree with ropes and selective pruning. Do not miss this fantastic link (later come back here , ha, ha ! )
With the first one , the joints of the piece will be weak points where it can break , while the second one break will be much harder . Basque vessels were known to be very resistant , and therefore were often sold to other countries. It is the case of a ship that sank in the Severn River in 1465 from New port (Wales ) and thanks to the analysis of dendrochronology has been known that the wood was from the Sakana Valley in Navarre. ( More information at
In the wikipedia we can read that the ship was portugese, but itz was  a theory because it seemed the merchandise was  from Portugal.
Source: (prof..Nigel Nayling,Archaeologist,University of Wales,Trinity Saint David, School of Archaeology, history and anthropology.Lampeter,Ceredigion, Wales.)

Today we can see many of these trees until the twentieth century were used to draw different pieces of wood, which were carved in situ and  transported by oxen to the coast of Gipuzkoa, where specialized carpenters  fit them in the structure of the boat. 

Mikel, from Albaola foundation showing one of the pieces.
The Albaola foundation is currently building with wood from Irati (Keel beech and fir masts) and from Sakana valley(with oak for the rest of the structure), an exact copy of a fifteenth century boat called Nao  San Juan, a whaler which was found underwater in Newfoundland (Canada) in a very amazing conservation, and will serve to represent Donostia / San Sebastian as the capital of European culture in 2016, which will navigate to European ports representing city​​

 Is not a coincidence the right angle of the right branch.

Among the threat of invasion of American oak, of fastest growing and introduced in the twentieth century to replace our old oak, we can still see stunning examples of hundreds of years and several meters of circumference in the oak forest of northern of Navarre (Orotz Betelu ,Aezkoa, Ultzama, Baztan ..), and in this case, I would highlight  Altsasu / Alsasua and Etxarri Aranaz for its high number of specimens and their old age. 
Members of the "oak commission" for scientific and tourism development  of the oaks forests in Navarre 
Imagine the size of this giant!
This really is a great top!

Some are hollow and fit several people.
Fantastic oak tinder, 5 or 6 years old, depending on the rings.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Mysterious and eerie Irati forest

This time we will try to see with the eyes of imagination, a girl or a boy, rather than only as adults. That way maybe we can feel the presence of Basajaun, or the lord of the forest in the Basque mythology, who lived in Irati, witches (in AezkoaSpanish  inquisition burned  7th), or the Lamias, inhabiting rivers and  water ponds. 
The fog makes us easier than in full sun.
Recommended Soundtrack: A Night on Bald Mountain, Mussorgsky

Imagine walking through the forest in this fog. If this image we saw it in a movie, expect to hear a soundtrack disquieting, and we would get nervous waiting to see a zombie, (
why I would be seeing "the walking dead"?!) White Walker as Game of Thrones, or perhaps witch House of Hansel and Gretel ..

The ground is labyrinthine and sometimes rugged and requires strenuous detours. There are numerous chasms through which the water disappears underground.
Impossible orient with the sun.
Why not have paid more attention to Bear Grylls?

The  first dead appears

In this rock we can see  fossils of toucasias that they indicate the  ancient origin under the ocean of the forund when  this forest grows today.
120 million years ago this land was a coral reef  (Urgonian period) whose petrified remains forest feeds. (Sinister laugh)

Aliens in Irati

We are now in an ancient battlefield among the oaks and beeches, where we can see that the beeches, more agiles, end up killing the oaks, ancient inhabitants of Irati, to taking away the light they need, and not happy with that also grow inside, often while still alive, to feed their decaying matter!.

You shall not deny me that looks like a squid, with his eye and tentacles!

The old hermit

Old birch
We came to a forest glade on a high, and we think we'll be safer here our fears, but one of the elders of the forest, half dead half alive, looks like yelling at the entrance to Dante's Inferno: Abandon all hope!

The Catacombs

 Burrows of field mice

The floor is full of holes where underground activity frenetic is guessed.
As this spring rained a lot, have had many more beechnuts and acorns oak trees more than usual, so that the rodents had more food, and have reproduced a lot.
Only in this little picture are 5 holes, and even though many of them belong to the same burrow, not often see so many. This abundance of mice within the forest could be causing that wildcats are almost not see these months in meadow  hunting voles, as is normal.

The... hope ?

As with any thriller or scary, the ending is somewhat ambiguous

 Browsed on Scillas 
We see that the flowers begin to appear from under the leaves, and it seems that the forest will be filled with flowers, which  the atmosphere will be softtened, but ... hungry animals roam the forest in search of food!
This is due to deers and roe deers mainly, which are quick to eat the first outbreaks of these prevernal plants, after a winter of scarcity.
The real spring denouement , with you in alive, in a few weeks!