Year of 2017


011717
Heavy frost in Las Médulas, Spain

Winter frost on the ground at Las Médulas in northwest Spain adds new color to an already unusual landscape. When this region was part of the Roman Empire, Las Médulas was a massive open-pit goldmine. Using a hydraulic mining technique, the Roman workers pumped water into the mountains, letting the pressure push open the veins where gold could be panned out. It drastically altered the landscape, and relics of the ancient Roman mining operation are still at the site.


Las Médulas is an historic mining site near the town of Ponferrada in the region of El Bierzo. It was the most important gold mine in the entire Roman Empire. Las Médulas Cultural Landscape is listed by the UNESCO as one of the World Heritage Sites. Advanced aerial surveys conducted in 2014 using LIDAR have confirmed the wide extent of the Roman-era works.

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