STRATI 2013 pp 303-309 | Cite as

Geological and Cultural Routes of the Arrábida Breccia: A Contribution to the Nomination of Arrábida for UNESCO’s Mixed World Heritage List

  • José Carlos KullbergEmail author
  • Cristina Coelho
  • António Prego
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Geology book series (SPRINGERGEOL)


The upper Oxfordian Arrábida Breccia is a unique lithological type in Portugal and probably in the world because it was formed through several particular geological influences acting simultaneously. The rock is a conglomerate composed of carbonate pebbles of different colours, cemented by a red, ferruginous, clayey carbonate. It is the expression of a fossilized a karst that marks one of the major unconformities of the Lusitanian Basin, which was associated with the early stages of the opening of the North Atlantic. One of the strengths of the candidature of Arrábida for UNESCO’s Mixed World Heritage List is the intimate connection between the natural environment, particularly the landscape (Criterion VII) and the geology and geomorphology (Criterion VIII), and the history and culture of the region and country. The natural occurrences of the Arrábida Breccia (Brecha da Arrábida), the exploration of which ended in 1975 with the creation of the Arrábida Natural Park, are rare and sporadic. The dispersed geographical distribution of outcrops will necessitate the creation of scientific and cultural routes to facilitate visits by the millions of tourists who travel to the Arrábida region each year. The creation of routes in the region is, therefore, one of the objectives of this candidature. In addition, the Brecha da Arrábida conglomerate has been used for ornamental purposes since the late fifteenth century, and was used for the first sculptural and decorative expressions of the so-called Portuguese Late Gothic and Manueline styles, and later during the Baroque because of its colourful varieties. This artistic use of the Brecha da Arrábida, as well as other uses of the material, extends far beyond the actual geographical area of Arrábida. This wider significance provides part of the justification for building a website where users can add information regarding the uses of the Arrábida Breccia in both Portugal and other countries, thereby updating the existing inventory of the material, and constituting a vital component for disseminating knowledge about geology to the public.


Brecha da Arrábida Portugal UNESCO’s world heritage list Geological and cultural routes Dissemination 



This is a contribution to project PEst-OE/CTE/UI4073/2014. We thank the AMRS for allowing access to the contents of their nomination file. We are grateful to the Dean of Braga Cathedral, D. Pio Alves de Sousa, for permission to reproduce the photograph of Braga Cathedral’s octagonal table.


  1. Azerêdo, A. C., Wright, V. P., & Ramalho, M. M. (2002). The Middle-Late Jurassic forced regression and disconformity in central Portugal: Eustatic, tectonic and climatic effects on a carbonate ramp system. Sedimentology,49, 1339–1370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Carita, H. (2007). Le palais de Santos—L’ambassade de France à Lisbonne. Paris: Chandeigne. p. 127.Google Scholar
  3. Kullberg, J. C., Pais, J., Mateus, O., Melo, J. J., Pinto, P. S., Pedro, R., Francisco, R., & Rodrigues, P. (2012). Geology and Geomorphology of Arrábida. Report of Criterium VIII for the Proposal of Arrábida for UNESCO’s Heritage Site. Fac. Ciências e Tecnologia (UNL), p. 296.Google Scholar
  4. Manuppella, G., Antunes, M. T., Pais, J., Cardoso, J. L., Ramalho, M., & Rey, J. (1999). Notícia explicativa da Carta geológica de Portugal na escala 1:50 000 da folha 38-B (Setúbal). Instituto Geológico e Mineiro, p. 143.Google Scholar
  5. Prego, A. M. (2008). A Brecha da Arrábida: perspectiva transdisciplinar de um georrecurso extinto. MSc thesis, Faculdade de Ciên Technical University Nova, Lisboa, p. 287.Google Scholar
  6. Sousa FLP (1897) Subsídios para o estudo dos calcários do distrito de Lisboa. September Review Engenharia Militar, 9, 270–279.Google Scholar
  7. Wright, V. P., & Wilson, R. C. L. (1987). A terra rossa-like paleosol complex from the upper jurassic of Portugal. Sedimentology,34(2), 259–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • José Carlos Kullberg
    • 1
    Email author
  • Cristina Coelho
    • 2
  • António Prego
    • 3
  1. 1.CICEGe, Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Sciences and Technology New University of LisbonCaparicaPortugal
  2. 2.Association of Municipalities of Setubal (AMRS)PortoPortugal
  3. 3.Secondary School Fernão Mendes PintoAlmadaPortugal

Personalised recommendations