The Picos de Europa National and Regional Parks
The E–W trending Cantabrian Mountains, with peaks more than 2,600 m a.s.l., are located along the northern coast of the Iberian Peninsula. After the development of south-verging structures during the Alpine Orogeny, the Cantabrian Mountains were arranged as an asymmetrical relief deeply dissected by the fluvial network, with steep rivers flowing into the Cantabrian Sea in the north and less steep rivers draining towards the Duero Tertiary Basin to the south. The area shows a high geomorphic diversity, including relict Quaternary glacial and periglacial landforms, as well as features related to slope instability, fluvial and karstic processes. This work summarizes the geomorphological features of two different protected areas of the Cantabrian Mountains designated as Picos de Europa: the Picos de Europa National Park and the Picos de Europa Regional Park. Both are representative areas of the high-mountain landscapes of the northern and southern sectors of the Cantabrian Mountains. Moreover, the former hosts good examples of underground alpine karst.
KeywordsCantabrian Mountains Picos de Europa Geomorphology Glacial Karst Caves
We are indebted to PC-10-14 project (FICYT—Rioglass S.A., EC FEDER, PCTI Asturias), CANDELA project CGL2012-31938 (Spanish MINECO-PGE-FEDER), GEOCAVE project (MAGRAMA 580/12, Organismo Autónomo de Parques Nacionales—OAPN). D. Ballesteros and L. Rodríguez-Rodríguez are, respectively, granted by the Severo Ochoa (FICYT—Asturias) and FPU (Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, MECD) programs. We are also grateful to cavers (especially V. Ferrer, Expeditions to Castil-Urriellu, IE Valenciano and SIS CE Terrassa).
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