Geography

Articles in ‘Geography’

Spanish geography quizzes

May 11th, 2008

I enjoyed doing these Spanish geography quizzes. The rivers of Spain is fiendishly difficult. You may also enjoy these Spanish natural history quizzes I did last year.

River Guadix

September 21st, 2007

The River Guadix, a sub-tributary of the Guadiana Menor, which flows through the town of the same name must lay claim to world’s most tautological geographical name.

Wikipedia claims in tautological place names:

Río Guadix, Spain (The River River RiverRío is “river” in Spanish, Guad < w?d? is “river” in Arabic and Ix is “river” in Phoenician)

Threat of desertification

August 31st, 2007

The United Nations Convention to Fight Desertification is to be held on September 3-4 in Madrid. Desertification threatens 36% of Spain: 2% of Spain suffers from extreme risk of desertification, with 15% having a high risk. Degraded soils cover a further 19%. Worst hit are the Canaries and the south-east,  and to a lesser much of the southern half of the Peninsula, the Ebro basin and southern Catalonia. Although some degradation may be blamed on climate change and natural processes, most areas are the result of fire, overgrazing, aquifer depletion and bad farming practices – human mismanagement. The Spanish government has called on the EU to set up a centre for desertification with its headquarters in Spain. Older material on desertification in Spain here

Map of risk of desertification in Spain (MMA)

Map of aridity in Spain

The origin of the River Ebro’s name

August 30th, 2007

The Ebro’s importance is reflected in the name of the Iberian Peninsula, which almost certainly comes from the river, first known as the Iber and Iberus and Ebro, and not the other way around. It was first used in the 6th century BC by a Greek author in reference to the Iberians, or the people who lived along the Iberus ( Ebro) river. Ultimately the word may well derive from the Basque words ibai (river) and ibar (valley), and these from ur meaning water. Linguists have noted similarities with the names of 200 other European rivers and streams (e.g. Ibar in Serbia, Ebrach and several Eberbach in Germany, Irwell in The UK) giving a tantalising clue as to a form of Basque being once spoken throughout Europe before the arrival of Indo-European tribes and languages.  More on the Ebro

Spanish Caves

July 7th, 2007

I’ve put together this short guide to caves in Spain. I will be adding more material soon. Below la Torca del Carlista in the Basque Country, the largest cavern in Europe. Only currently accessible to expert cavers.

Torca del Carlista

Photo of the Torca del Carlista