The Silurian rocks of Spain occur in all the zones of the Iberian (or Hesperian) Massif, except the South Portuguese Zone. Silurian rocks also crop out in other parts of the Variscan Belt that were later affected by the Alpine orogeny, in the Pyrenees, the Catalonian Coastal Ranges, the Iberian Cordillera and the Betic Cordilleras (Fig. 5.1). As in other regions of the North Gondwanan Province, the Silurian deposits of the Iberian Peninsula comprise mainly terrigenous sediments dominated by pelagic faunas. The most characteristic rocks are graptolitic black shales (the socalled ‘ampelites’) and the commonly mentioned uniformity of the Silurian succession mainly results from the special attention that has been paid to these richly fossiliferous rocks. Other types of rocks also occur in the Silurian sequences, however, and allow distinctions between different types of succession, as well as providing extra evidence for environmental conditions and palaeogeographical setting.
We consider that, from Cambrian to Devonian times, with the exception of the South Portuguese Zone that probably belonged to Avalonia (Oliveira & Quesada 1998, and references therein), the whole Iberian Peninsula was part of the North Gondwanan Province that extended along the northern margin of the African part of the Gondwana continent (Robardet et al. 2001, and references therein). The Silurian palaeolatitude of the Iberian Peninsula cannot be defined precisely, either from climatically sensitive lithofacies or from faunas, as the successions are almost entirely terrigenous and the faunas mainly pelagic. Available palaeomagnetic data are not clearly
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The Geology of Spain
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.