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.
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This book provides the first comprehensive account in English of the geology of mainland Spain and the Balearic and Canary islands. It has been written by 159 research-active, mostly Spanish authors working together in teams from over 20 universities and other centres of research excellence. The 19 chapters begin with an overview of Spanish geology prepared by the editors, followed by a detailed examination of Iberian Precambrian and Palaeozoic rocks in Spain, Variscan magmatism and tectonics, and the Mesozoic and Cenozoic sedimentary record and fossil record. Subsequent chapters deal with the Alpine orogeny in the Pyrenees, Betics and other mountain ranges of Spain and the Balearic Islands, and with Cenozoic magmatism, including the classic hot-spot-related volcanism of the Canary Islands. The final chapter focuses on economic and environmental geology, emphasizing metallic deposits and industrial minerals, hydrocarbon energy resources, water supply, and modern seismic hazard. Finally a bibliography of around 4000 references provides a uniquely valuable information source. Encompassing subjects as diverse as the origin of Spanish granites, the palaeogeographic and tectonometamorphic history of the Iberian plate, human evolution in the SW Mediterranean, and modern volcanism and earthquake activity, The Geology of Spain is a key reference work suitable not only for libraries across the world, but of interest to all researchers, teachers and students of SW European geology.