Mateo Gutiérrez-Elorza, Jose María García-Ruiz, José Luis Goy, F. Javier Gracia, Francisco Gutiérrez-Santolalla, Carlos Martí, Angel Martín-Serrano, Alfredo Pérez-González, Caridad Zazo, Emiliano Aguirre, 2002. "Quaternary", The Geology of Spain, Wes Gibbons, Teresa Moreno
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Spanish Quaternary sediments and landforms record glacial, alluvial, fluvial, lacustrine, aeolian, coastal and volcanic environments. Within these environments numerous processes acted on different lithologies and structures during changing climate, neotectonic activity, and anthropogenic influence. Consequently, the current landscape of Spain comprises a complex palimpsest of inherited and active landforms. Spain has a mountainous relief, with an average height of 660 m for the whole Iberian peninsula. This high relief is related to the presence of extensive plateaux surrounded by mountain ranges (Cantabrian mountains, Pyrenees, Catalonian Coastal Ranges, Iberian Ranges and Betic Cordillera). The highest elevation in the Iberian peninsula is found in the Betic Cordillera (Mulhacén, 3481 m), although in the Pyrenees there are many peaks above 3000 m.
The hydrographic network of the Iberian peninsula has a main divide separating the basins draining to the Mediterranean sea from those draining into the Atlantic ocean. Most of the major rivers drain to the Atlantic and run for a significant part of their course through Tertiary depressions such as those of the Duero, Tajo and Guadalquivir basins. The Ebro river is the main Mediterranean fluvial system and flows through the Ebro depression. These Iberian rivers drain a landscape affected by contrasting climatic belts, with a humid zone in the north, a semi-arid zone situated in the SE and in the large Tertiary depressions, and semi-humid conditions elsewhere.