• Imprimeix

The Iberian Plate

The Iberian Peninsula is the emerged part of an ancient tectonic plate, the Iberian Plate. Of modest proportions, the Iberian Plate is situated to the north of the African Plate and is, at the present time, welded to the European Plate. Its geological configuration is the result of the interactions of these two larger plates since some 200 Ma ago, that is to say, during the Alpine cycle (see geological events).

The Pyrenees, which join the peninsula with the European continent, are the result of the collision between the Iberian and European continental plates and retain the sedimentary and tectonic historical record of the edges of both. The Catalan Coastal Range and the Iberian Range reflect an approximation between the African and the Iberian Plates. The Ebro Basin is the depression which extends between the Pyrenean Range, the Coastal Range and the Iberian Range and stored, in the sediments that fill it, the record of the main events that took place during the formation of the mountain ranges that determine its boundaries. To the east, the Mediterranean System (the group of mountain ranges and coastal depressions) has registered the opening of the Valencia Trough Margin and of the Gulf of Lion. This particular geodynamic context determined in the past, and continues in the present, the extraordinary geological diversity that characterizes the Iberian Peninsula, its actual geographical situation and the one it will have in the geological future.