Rio Tinto is the river that flows between the mountains of the Sierra Morena, in Andalusia, a region southwest of Spain. Not far from the border with Portugal, it flows into the Gulf of Cadiz, near the city of Huelva. The unusual reddish color of the water is due to the strong presence of dissolved iron, accentuated by a large quantity of heavy materials. This area has been known for its particular wealth of metals and minerals since ancient times and its deposits were exploited since the times of the Phoenicians. Legend says that the ancient mines of King Solomon were located right here, in fact, the whole area is also known as "Cerro Salomon". The waters of the river, in addition to the particular color, are distinguished above all for their high acidity (pH 2.2) caused by pollution of the excavations perpetrated over time and abandoned only recently. The toxic materials absorbed by the soil of the entire area do not allow for any kind of animal or plant life, turning it into a landscape much like an alien world. Suffice it to say that this place, due to its strong resemblance to the planet Mars, has been chosen as the object of study by NASA's astro-biologists. Researchers are interested in some microorganisms - bacterial life forms that can live in the absence of oxygen. However, the Rio Tinto, with its fantastic play of light, always offers a breathtaking view and the best time to admire is from April to October. Every year many tourists interested in industrial archeology, attracted by the particular geological-mining characteristics of the area, go to visit the Parque Miner? de Riotinto to visit the structures of these ancient mines. The area can be reached via a short journey on an old vintage train which will take you back 5000 years.
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