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Carolina Perez

The present is the key to the

past. Charles Lyell
General Caracteristics
Malta is entirely composed of sedimentary rocks.
Indeed, all land comprising the territory of Malta was formed under
water through the slow but steady stratification of sediment
particles settle under water.The oldest sediments were deposited in
the Mediterranean Sea around 35 million years ago while the most
recent layers were only formed a mere 7 million years ago.

The Maltese rock layers
are subdivided into five
distinct types, starting
from the bottom as

Lower Coralline Limestone
Globigerina Limestone
Blue Clay
Upper Coralline Limestone

Limestone (Il-
Greensands (Il-Gebla s-Safra)
Blue Clay (Tafal)
Globigerina Limestone (Il-Franka)
Lower Coralline Limestone

Upper Coralline Limestone Plateau
Blue Clay
Qammieh, Malta
S. Bajada
Maltese Strates
Lower Coralline Limstone: It is the oldest rock
layer and forms the base of the entire Maltese
rock succession. It is generally found exposed on
cliff sides facing the sea, such as Ta Cenc (Gozo)
and Dingli Cliffs. It is a very hard rock and thus
forms a rugged and sharp pointed land surface. It
reaches a maximum thickness of 140 metres. Its
colour ranges from, pale grey to red.
Globerina Limestone: This is the thickest layer
and can be found in central and the south of
Malta. It is harder than the Blue Clay but softer
than the Upper Coralline Limestone. It is
extracted from quarries and used for building
purposes. It is also used for sculpture and
decorative work in stone.
Blue clay: It is very soft and erodes quickly giving
rise to cone-shaped slopes.This rock can be
found in the north western part of Malta and north
east of Gozo. These slopes are turned into
terraced fields with rubble walls to hold the soil in
place. It is impermeable and so it holds water
which can be used for irrigation purposes.
Greensands: It has a greenish-yellow colour and
when it is exposed it turns into orange. Its the
thinnest layer and reaches a maximum thickness
of 11 metres at Il-Gelmus in Gozo It is friable and
contains many fragments of fossils.
Upper Coralline Limestone: This is the youngest
rock strata and is a very hard rock. It is used as
filler for road surfacing. It can be found mainly in
the northern part of Malta .

We can find many different conditions to form the rocks in differents ages:
Depth of sea
Distance from nearest land
Direction and force of sea currents
Different species of organisms.
It is important to appreciate the marine origin of these islands.
It also helps explain why Malta lacks natural resources such as metals and why our
fossils generally comprise marine organisms rather than land animals or plants.
It is a clear example about uniformism law regarding to chronological events through
the time.