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Carboneras Fault Zone, a strike-slip fault system which runs NE-SW across the Almeria region of southeast Spain. Movement on the fault juxtaposed disparate slices of basement and sedimentary rocks, creating the spectacular striped colouration exposed at this dry river bed near the coast, halfway between the towns of Carboneras and Mojacar. Grinding and crushing of the rock during faulting facilitated chemical alteration of the rocks, giving rise to the vivid colours. Some of the lithologies caught up in the fault zone pictured include pale purple basement phyllite, red Triassic mudstone, yellow to pale green Miocene marls, dark blue-grey basement schist, and purplish red sandstone.

Carboneras Fault Zone, a strike-slip fault system which runs NE-SW across the Almeria region of southeast Spain. Movement on the fault juxtaposed disparate slices of basement and sedimentary rocks, creating the spectacular striped colouration exposed at this dry river bed near the coast, halfway between the towns of Carboneras and Mojacar. Grinding and crushing of the rock during faulting facilitated chemical alteration of the rocks, giving rise to the vivid colours. Some of the lithologies caught up in the fault zone pictured include pale purple basement phyllite, red Triassic mudstone, yellow to pale green Miocene marls, dark blue-grey basement schist, and purplish red sandstone.

Photograph: Fionnuala Sheehan