Alpine tectonics I: the Alpine system north of the Betic Cordillera
Ramón Capote, Josep Anton Muñoz, José Luis Simón, Carlos L. Liesa, Luis E. Arlegui, 2002. "Alpine tectonics I: the Alpine system north of the Betic Cordillera", The Geology of Spain, W. Gibbons, Teresa Moreno
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The current structure and geomorphology of the Iberian peninsula are, for the most part, a direct consequence of Mesozoic and Cenozoic tectonic activity. North of the Betic Cordillera, in its foreland, this post-Palaeozoic tectonic evolution and the resulting Alpine structure is rather complex compared to other European foreland areas. This is a consequence of the Iberian peninsula being a small continental lithospheric plate, which, after the Variscan orogeny, moved relatively independently of its two great neighbours, the European and African plates. The existence of two plate boundaries, following the King’s trough–Azores–Biscay rise–north Spanish trough in the north and the Azores–Gibraltar line in the south, and the relatively small size of the Iberian plate, explain why so much tectonic activity was transmitted to the interior of the Iberian peninsula, especially during Alpine collision.
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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.