The northern route in the park has beautiful examples of one of the youngest geological formations of the island, namely the limestone formations, former reefs which are now elevated above sea level.
If the hills you see have a greyish color and look flat, you can be positive that you are looking at a limestone formation.
The geological history of the island of Curacao began in the late Cretaceous period, about 90 million years ago, still within the age of the dinosaurs.
No fossil remains of these giants can be found on the island, though, because at that time a 5 kilometer deep ocean marked the position of the Island to be.
Since then, a multitude of processes have shaped and re-shaped the foundations beneath our feet, processes that are ongoing as you read this.
The island as we know it is basically a snapshot in geological time. 4 distinct rock groups represent the geological structure of the island. The oldest two are well represented within the park boundaries:
- Tthe Curacao Lava Formation
This unit consists, as the name already implies, of volcanic rocks. Although at most outcrops these rocks are badly weathered, a remarkable feature found within the rocks are pillowshaped structures. Hence these rocks are also known as pillow-lava’s or pillow-basalts.
- The Knip Group
This group overlies the volcanic sequence, hence is a little younger. The significant difference in appearance with the older volcanic rocks is the distinct layering. This is the characteristic of sedimentary rocks.
Analysis of these rocks has shown that they consist of microscopic remains of marine creatures. These so called radiolarians live a planktonic life (they let the ocean currents lead them) and create small skeletons of silica.
This in contrast to lots of other marine creatures that use calcium carbonate (lime) as their building material of choice. Silica is tremendously hard which is reflected by the fact that all the higher hills within the park, including the Christoffel mountain, consist of these skeletal remains.
The northern route in the park has beautiful examples of one of the youngest geological formations of the island, namely the limestone formations, former reefs which are now elevated above sea level. If the hills you see have a grayish color and look flat, you can be positive that you are looking at a limestone formation.