Geography

Articles in ‘Geography’

Torrellones

May 7th, 2017

Clay soils in parts of the Monegros are eroded easily leaving weird sandstone formations called torrellones, looking like something straight out of Arizona. This one is called Cabeza de Perro, Dog’s Head. 

Image by Rodriguem on Wikicommons

Satellite image of the Strait of Gibraltar

September 18th, 2010

File:Strait of gibraltar.jpg

Satellite image of the Strait of Gibraltar from NASA found on Wikipedia.

Algeciras Harbor is the prominent notch cut out of the eastern end of the north shore of the Strait; the Rock of Gibraltar is the tiny arrowhead that separates the notch from the Alboran Sea. The Sierra Nevada, farther away down the Spanish coast, lives up to its name in this April scene. The difference in elevation between the Sierra Morena and the Guadalquivir River valley is highlighted nicely by cumulus clouds. Tangier, Morocco can be seen as a light-toned spot on the southern shore of the Strait, near the entrance to the Atlantic Ocean.

Spain geography game

March 25th, 2010 This map game for learning the moutain ranges and basic geographical units of Spain is good fun. Only takes a couple of minuntes. More Spain map games here, including this fiendish river quiz.

Spanish places

February 9th, 2010

I’ve been working recently on a new guide to places in Spain using Google maps as a way of organising them spatially. I find it interesting to see how places I’ve visited and/or written about over the years, join up together on the map. I still don’t understand how to get the best out of Google Maps, but I think that building up this database will allow lots of new forms of representing information. Visit Places in Spain
Have a look for example at these places:

The second deepest natural harbour in the world

February 8th, 2010 A curiosity I heard today: Mahón, the capital of Menorca, has the second deepest natural harbour in the world – after Pearl Harbour. The harbour is 5 km long and up to 900m wide. Historically, it was one of the most strategically important harbours in the western Mediterranean. More from Wikipedia

Documentary about Spain’s forests

December 10th, 2008

I enjoyed this documentary about the biodiversity of the forests of Spain, whose geographical positions means they are the most varied in the whole of Europe. Uploaded by forestman.

Plan to protect 2,900km of rivers

November 7th, 2008

The Spanish government is planning to give protection to some 2,900km of 357 still-unspoilt stretches of rivers, involving initially the creation of a Catálogo Nacional de Reservas Fluviales, which put a stop to any dam construction, waste disposal or extraction in these areas. The idea comes from a proposal by Ecologistas en Acción who note “It would have a huge importance because it would create biological corridors in almost all mountain ranges and would save what is left of rivers, which are probably the most altered ecosystems by humans.”

The Legend of Monte Perdido

October 2nd, 2008

Monte Perdido, the Lost Mountain, (3355m) is the third highest peak in the Pyrenees but until the early 19th century it was thought that to be the highest. It does, however, boast the highest waterfall (400m) in Europe and the second largest glacier in the Pyrenees. The mountain is home to many legends, perhaps the most evocative of which is this one:

A palace was built at the beginning of time by the mythical Enchanter of the Peaks, Atland, who put a spell on the palace so that only certain people could enter it. Polished walls and towers protected it and hid behind them vast gardens and meadows that were like an earthly paradise. The palace is still bound by Atland’s spell and can only be entered if you are riding on the back of a flying horse. More legends from Aragon

Glaciers to disappear in the Pyrenees by 2050

September 6th, 2008

Glaciar de Monteperdido in the Aragonese Pyrenees (El País)

A Spanish study published in The Holocene has concluded that the progressive rise in temperatures since 1890 will lead to the total disappearance of the Pyrenean glaciers by 2050.

Glaciers advanced during the Little Ice Age (LIA) between 1300 and 1860 in the Pyrenees, Picos de Europa and Sierra Nevada. These were most extensive in the Pyrenees (because of altitude and latitude) but today glaciers remain only in the highest peaks. There were six glaciers in the Picos de Europa Massif during the LIA, and one glacier, the southernmost of Europe, in the Sierra Nevada (Pico de Veleta). All of these glaciers have been in continuous retreat since the end of the nineteenth century, 94 have disappeared completely (Veleta in 1913), leaving 29 glaciers in the Pyrenees (10 in Spain, 11 in France), four buried icepatches in the Picos de Europa and one buried icepatch in the Sierra Nevada. The last 15 years has seen a 50-60% reduction in surface area of the largest glaciers.

The Little Ice Age was not a continuous period of cold. These Iberian glaciers expanded most rapidly between 1645 and 1710, and then shrunk between 1750 and the early 19th century but then recovered after a new cold period. Since the end of the 19th century temperatures have risen more sharply by 0.7ºC and 0.9ºC in the mountains in northern Spain in line with global warming. El País

See also

  • Climate guide to Spain
  • The Little Ice Age in Spain
  • Glaciers in Spain (2004) Spanish glaciers melting fast Greenpeace has released a report on the state of Spain’s glaciers. The glaciers on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees are melting fast.. Total surface area has dropped from 1779 hectares in 1894 to 290 in 2000, representing a fall of 85% in of surface area. 52% of this has occurred in the last 20 years, and 30% between 1991 and 2001.

37% of Spain at risk from desertification

September 1st, 2008

Tabernas (Almería)

Spain has finally implemented its first Programme of National Action against Desertification which recognises that 37% of the country is at a very high, high or medium risk from desertification, and is in danger of becoming “eroded forever”. This risk is also termed Sahelisation, after the North African region, and with coming climate change is set to worsen.

Since 2001 there has been a huge loss in fertile soil due to erosion totalling 17 tonnes per hectare per year: 67 millon tonnes of soil, much of which gets caught up in reservoirs, and representing an increase of 8% since 2001. The problem has been seriously heightened by intensive agriculture and the spread of urbanisation and infrastructures. El Mundo

Note: This figure of 37% has risen from 36% last year. See Threat of desertification (also with map of area)