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Introduction and overview

By
Wes Gibbons
Wes Gibbons
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Teresa Moreno
Teresa Moreno
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Published:
January 01, 2002

Abstract

The geology of Spain is remarkably diverse. It includes one of the most complete Palaeozoic sedimentary successions in Europe, and an excellent record of the effects of the Variscan orogeny on the margins of the former supercontinent of Gondwana. In addition, post-Variscan Mesozoic and Cenozoic strata are widely exposed across the eastern half of Spain, from the Cantabrian and Pyrenean mountains to the Betic Cordillera and Balearic Islands (Fig. 1.1). These successions and their fauna reveal a unique Iberian palaeogeography influenced both by the widening Atlantic Ocean to the west and by events in the Tethys Ocean and Alpine–Himalayan orogen to the east. Alpine collision in Cenozoic times has created spectacular mountain belts in which the effects of both collisional and extensional processes can be observed. Neogene and Quaternary volcanism has occurred in southern, south-central and eastern mainland Spain, and the magnificent Canarian volcanoes expose one of the world’s classic hot-spotrelated ocean island chains (Chapters 17 and 18). Volcanism has taken place in the Canaries for over 20 Ma, and all stages of its volcanic evolution are preserved, from the early buildup of submarine seamounts to the emergence, growth and polyphase collapse of major subaerial volcanoes (Fig. 1.2a). In addition to recent volcanism, the Quaternary record in Spain (Chapter 14) encompasses many environments, from glacial to semi-desert, from Mediterranean to Atlantic, and includes the hugely important hominid site of Atapuerca (Fig. 1.1). Not only has this astonishing site

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Geological Society, London, Geology of Series

The Geology of Spain

Wes Gibbons
Wes Gibbons
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Teresa Moreno
Teresa Moreno
Jaume Almera Institute, CSIC, Barcelona
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Geological Society of London
ISBN electronic:
9781862393912
Publication date:
January 01, 2002

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