Sunday, February 6, 2011

Roraima: A Real-Life Hidden Gem

Steep cliffs, a wide plateau, towering chasms, crystal pools, and small caves categorize the raw beauty that is Mount Roraima. Mount Roraima is the tallest mountain in Venezuela at 9,200 feet and there have been a few reports from climbers that have experienced light-headedness. At times, the trek can get quite arduous due to the steep cliffs, so the climb requires the climber to have a certain level of endurance. And you definitely don't want to forget the bug repellant! The sandstone rock began as sediment over 1.6 billion years ago. Mount Roraima is an extremely high, remote plateau. Quartzite has contributed to the formation of the plateau. Thousands of eroded quartz crystals are scattered throughout the bedrock. This metamorphic non-foliated rock is usually a light pink hue. Part of the plateau rim contains towering chasms. These chasms have deep cracks caused by years of erosion. The layer on top of the mesa is more resistant than the soft underneath layers.  Under the plateau, there is a jungle drenched in thick foliage with angular slopes. Above the jungle are rugged, steep cliffs. Blackened rock formations are enncased on the cliffs. These formations were caused by the remains of billion year old layers of eroded sediments from the Precambrian era. As a result of this accumulation of sediment, the mesa has come to resemble the qualities of a sedimentary rock. Embedded in these cliffs are several strands of colored materials called strata. Roraima has many diverse geographical elements that are both pleasing to the eye and help make the mountain even more unique. It is easy to see that Roraima has so much more to offer than just a strenuous climb.

A climber looks out onto Roraima's massive chasms. Picture from
Looking down into one of the mountain's gorgeous pools. Photo from

A map of Mount Roraima. Photo from

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