Pluton formation on Monte Capanne, ancestor of the entire Tuscan Archipelago

According to the legend, Aphrodite, engrossed in virginal words of love, and laughter, and delicate kisses sweeter than honey, (Hesiod, Theogony) born from the foam of the sea, let her string of pearls fall down from her neck, and the pearls settled on the surface of the water. Seven of these pearls fell between Tuscany and the Island of Corsica: this was how the Tuscan Archipelago, with Elba being its biggest island, came to be.

Although the geological explanation to the island's origins is completely different, it is none the less just as fascinating.

We have to go back to when the continents were adrift, when Penacea started to crumble, opening new oceans and closing others, when the Protoafrican and Protoeuropean layers collided into eachother, turned around and drifted elsewhere.

The continuous moving about of these massive pieces of land (that went on for over 100 million years) caused whole areas of earth crusts to be submerged thus making the earth's surface smaller.

This process helps magmatic blocks of earth to move upwards, cooling down as they get nearer the surface. Once they emerge they turn into granite rock and start pushing against the rocks on the surface with a tremendous force.

And this is how the pluton on Monte Capanne came to be, the ancestor of the entire Tuscan Archipelago that, emerging from the oceans, forces the sedimentary rocks to drift over to the east; this is how the plains in the central part of the Island of Elba came to be. By pushing against the rocks in the eastern part they prevent a second, large area of pluton from forming. Infact this second area is smaller than the first, and can be seen on the surface in magmatic veins that, coming into contact with hydrothermal springs and the already formed sedimentary and calcareous rocks, give rise to the enormous and famous mineral richness that is the Island of Elba.

Ginevro mine and Old Workshop Museum

The Museum and the Calamita mine: the only underground mine on the Island of Elba that you can visit, part of the mining complex in Capoliveri.

Mineral Park in Rio Marina

There are excursions to the Mineral Park from the Mineral Museum in Rio Marina


The history of the Island of Elba and that of its mines are one and the same thing.
Eastern side
Hematite, limonite, pyrite, ilvaite and magnetite: the minerals on the eastern side of the Island of Elba.

Western side
Tourmaline, beryllium, orthoclase and quartz: the minerals on the western side of the Island of Elba.


The granite from Elba was exported and used in many important historical sites, like the Pantheon and the Colosseum.
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