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The Devonian was one of the first Palaeozoic periods to be intensively studied in Spain. A few years after the formal definition of the Devonian by A. Sedgwick and R. I. Murchison in Devon, the French naturalists E. de Verneuil and A. d’Archiac (1845) noticed the occurrence of Devonian shelly fossil faunas in Asturias (north Spain). Later on, Prado & Verneuil (1850) enlarged the known Devonian outcrop area to the neighbouring province of Leon, and Prado (1856) extended this to Palencia province. Verneuil & Collomb (1853), Verneuil & Lorière (1854) and Verneuil & Lartet (1863) demonstrated Devonian rocks in the Iberian Ranges, and both Almera (1891c) and Barrois (1892) were pioneers in the study of Devonian rocks in the Catalonian Coastal Ranges. In southern Spain the seminal work on the system belongs to E. de Verneuil and J. Barrande (Prado et al. 1855), and in the Balearic Islands Hermite (1879) discovered the Devonian succession of Minorca. The history of Devonian research in other Spanish areas is in general much more recent, and was mainly developed in the twentieth century (Julivert et al. 1983).

Devonian rocks everywhere in Spain were deposited in marine conditions, although in varied settings ranging from supratidal to subtidal environments. The thickest and most complete Devonian succession in Spain is found in the Cantabrian and WestAsturo-Leonian zones and in the Basque Pyrenees (a–f and w,

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