Maltese Rock Formation

The Earth's crust is made up of lots of different types of rocks. All these rocks are put into three groups. These are

  • Igneous rocks: rocks that form from the cooling of magma or lava.
  • Sedimentary rocks: rocks that form from fragments of other rocks and remains of plants and animals, or chemicals which have built up in layers
  • Metamorphic rocks: rocks that form from the changing of sedimentary or igneous rocks that have been changed by tremendous heat and/or pressure.

The Maltese Islands are entirely composed of Marine Sedimentary Rock. The main rock type is limestone with a presence of a sandstone and clay. The rock strata formed around 25 million years ago. The fact that they are Marine Sedimentary rocks implies that they were formed under the sea. This explains why we find fossils of marine origins such as shells.

Below: A fossilised Seashell found in Blue Clay.

The Maltese sedimentary rocks are rocks that formed up by the compaction of fragments of rocks and remains of marine plants and animals or chemicals under the sea water level. The deposition and accumulation of this material which formed through millions of years, derived:

  • from the sea i.e. which originated in the sea. Example: Limestone
  • from the land i.e. which originated on the surface of the land, and then carried to the sea by action of rain, wind and/ or other agents. Example: Blue Clay.

The layers were determined by the type of rock fragments, chemicals and remains of living marine organisms from they are made of and also from the weight of the things they are made of. The heaviest remains are found in the bottom of the layer while the lightest are found on top.

Use the following links to proceed to details of each layer formation;
The Stratigraphy of Malta

Click on the layers to proceed to the formation of each layer

The Stratigraphy of Malta