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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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.