The ochre of Roussillon

An original geological formation
230 Million years ago, Provence is covered by the sea and will remain for a very long time.

Several thousand metres of sediment from the surrounding continents accumulate at the bottom of the water. They will eventually form the characteristic white limestone of this country: mont Ventoux, Luberon, Sainte Victoire, canyon of Verdon, calanques etc.

Worms - 110 million years, the sea deepened. The sediment that settles at the bottom of the waters are grey clays that come cover the limestone and that geologists will give the name of marl land.

Then this marine basin being almost packed it in shallow waters and agitated by the currents that will settle above the clays, Sands of green color, it is the glauconite, small green mineral grains, which gives them their color.

Occurs then in Provence, near-100 million years ago, a major upheaval.

After this long period of marine life, as a result of ground movements, Provence finds himself out of the water.

At that time, the climate is tropical. Heavy rains Leach teneral greensand of the new continent, turning them slowly ochreous sands, then white sands, in successive stages:
-dissolution, by rain water that circulate in depth, all the elements constituting the green sand, except the sand itself very resistant.
-crystallization from solution other minerals, kaolinite, and goethite, which fill the empty spaces between the grains of sand. It is the birth of ochreous sands.
-leaching which continues on these ochreous sands evacuates iron hydroxide that stained. Don't stay in place as the white sands.

On the surface, iron hydroxide is focused to form ironstone armour similar to that of the African laterites.

As for the color red, yellow or orange ochre sands, she still keeps a part of his secret.

Of course, we know the main responsible: goethite, but by what exact mechanism nature resulted in such profusion of colours? It has yet to define.

The legend

Lady Sermonde and the Lord Raymond d'Avignon lived in the castle of Roussillon. Guillaume de capstan, son of the Lord of capstan in the High Alps, was hired at the castle of Roussillon, as page, to his apprenticeship as good Knight.

Raymond d'Avignon, departing regularly for hunting, deserted his wife and left often alone. This is how Lady Sermonde and William fell in love one another.

The song of the young youth became more inflamed, and pets Castle, suspecting something, brought back to Raymond of Avignon.

To try to learn more, the Lord invited one day William in a part of hunting him quizzically. For not to betray Lady Sermonde, Guillaume told him that he was well love, not his wife, but of her sister, Agnes.

To get to the bottom, Raymond d'Avignon decided to go to Tarascon, with Guillaume, for the confirmation. Agnes quickly understood the situation and to save the two lovers, played the game. But learning all this, Lady Sermonde, stitched in his self esteem and appalled by the conduct of her husband, demanded Guillaume that he leftist in one of his songs.

Guillaume did so and Raymond d'Avignon, learning the truth, entered a black rage, and decided to take revenge. During a hunting party, he stabbed Guillaume in the back, he lopped off the head and tore it the heart.

He returned to the Castle, and asked his Cook to prepare the heart for hot sauce.

Lady Sermonde is being really enjoyed his favourite food, was told by her husband that it was from the heart of her lover: Lord, you gave me a so good meal that never I want more to taste another.

Feeling that his wife escaped him, Raymond d'Avignon drew his sword, but Lady Sermonde fled out of the Castle and rushed to the top of the Castrum, in a vacuum.
Her body bloody forever colored the lands of Roussillon and a source out there where his body ended his race.