Cantabria resumes research at El Soplao and will create an amber museum…


Cantabria will create a Soplao amber museum and encourage scientific research in the deposit, one of the main national and continental levels whose material dates from 105 or 110 million yearsin the Cretaceous, a stage in which the dinosaurs still lived.

This initiative was announced this Friday, August 26, by the Minister of Industry, Tourism, Innovation, Transport and Commerce, Javier López Marcano, who explained that the Government of Cantabria has signed an agreement with the University of Barcelona and two contracts, one with the Spanish Geological and Mining Institute (IGME), of the Higher Center for Scientific Research (CSIC), and the other with the geologist and gemologist of the Institute of Natural Sciences of Álava Rafael López del Valle to resume work on the Rábago site – The breath. Marcano ensures that These investigations have already enabled the extraction of 500 pieces of amberincluding the largest Spanish sculpted specimen, which weighs around 400 grams, as well as about thirty species of fossilized insects of this time. These agreements signed now They should be valid for three years and will involve an investment of 152,000 euros from the regional government.

The rest of those who appeared were the seekers themselves. who will participate in this work, who have already been “eager” to start this new work and to put themselves “under the microscope and the magnifying glass” because they are “very sure” that they will also find “new findings and discoveries” as new species. They also said they would try to pay a “homage” to Cantabria and the site in the names and denominations they use.

Enrique Peñalver, researcher at the Geological and Mining Institute of Spain (IGME), of the Higher Center for Scientific Research (CSIC), thanked the regional government for funding this research, which will facilitate their work and analysis.

On the other hand, Professor of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Barcelona, ​​Xavier Delclós, pointed out that this site is “one of the most important” – the first or second in Spain , with that of Peñacerrada ( Álava)- and Europe, although, as they indicated, they do not have “much less conservation and preservation characteristics” than the Spaniards. The study of Soplao amber allows us to see, According to Delclos, a type of landscape that “does not exist today”at a time of “living conditions very different from those of today”, with temperatures and concentrations of oxygen and carbon dioxide much higher than today.

The geologist and gemologist of the Institute of Natural Sciences of Álava, Rafael López del Valle, explained that his work in this project consists in locating the samples with interesting bioinclusions for the study. Likewise, he indicated that most of the world’s ambers are fossilized resins, which were deposited in the substrate 105 to 110 million years ago and that due to the burial conditions, they were preserved. . These resins have gone through processes that have allowed them to be fossilized, but before that insects from that time were stuck to them and that can be studied with surveys such as those carried out between 2008 and 2012 and those that are going to be carried out now.

As for the future Amber Museum, Marcano did not give too many details or precise deadlines, although he spoke of “immediate launch”. The objective is to house the pieces already extracted from the amber deposit of El Soplao and those that can be obtained through new research.

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