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Book Chapter

Quaternary

By
Mateo Gutiérrez-Elorza
Mateo Gutiérrez-Elorza
(coordinators)
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Jose María García-Ruiz
Jose María García-Ruiz
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José Luis Goy
José Luis Goy
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F. Javier Gracia
F. Javier Gracia
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Francisco Gutiérrez-Santolalla
Francisco Gutiérrez-Santolalla
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Carlos Martí
Carlos Martí
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Angel Martín-Serrano
Angel Martín-Serrano
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Alfredo Pérez-González
Alfredo Pérez-González
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Caridad Zazo
Caridad Zazo
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Emiliano Aguirre
Emiliano Aguirre
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Published:
January 01, 2002

Abstract

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.

Chronostratigraphic scale for the Mediterranean and Atlantic (modified after Bardají 1999). Palaeomagnetic scale after Cande and Kent (1995). Isotopic scale

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Contents

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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