Overseas Field Meetings

The Geologists’ Association organizes a number of overseas field meetings (GA Circular 2020).  If you would like further information on any of the events below, please contact Sarah Stafford at the GA Office on 020 7434 9298 or by e-mail at: fieldmeetings@geologistsassociation.org.uk.

The GA's Overseas Fieldtrip Guidelines can also be downloaded here.

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Overseas Trips

Field trip to Aragon and Navarra, northern Spain to experience its geology, scenery, fauna and flora, history

Trip Leader: Jonathan P Turner

7th - 14th September 2024

The trip is now full but names are being taken for a waiting list. Please email fieldmeetings@geologistsassociation.org.uk to be added.

Northern Spain has been a magnet for geologists for over 40 years. It continues to attract them from all over the world as one of the best places anywhere to examine dynamic interactions between mountain-building, depositional systems and landscape evolution.

The Pyrenees are one of the major watersheds of Europe and much of the area to be visited on this trip comprises semi-desert, with correspondingly distinctive fauna and flora (eagles, vultures, wild boar, Mediterranean scrub and forest, etc.). Before the Ebro River cut through to the Mediterranean in the Late Miocene, N Spain was an elevated continental plateau protected from erosion. Consequently its rocks are well preserved, with the exposures extensive and easily accessible.

Routes leading to the ‘Camino’, the pilgrim road to Santiago, are common across N Spain. The region is therefore culturally fascinating with ornate romanesque (12th-13th century) churches and knights templar palaces scattered throughout the countryside. The 1936-39 civil war also left its mark on N Spain and there are many indications of ‘La Guerra’.

Jonathan produced his PhD thesis in the 1980s based on fieldwork in the Pyrenean foothills.

Proposed itinerary

Day 1: rendezvous Barcelona airport; overnight in Huesca, Aragon 270km

Day 2: Arguis (Locality 1); Biescas (Locality 2); return Huesca 150km

Day 3: Los Riglos de Mallos (Locality 3); Aguero (Locality 4); return Huesca 105km

Day 4: Ebro basin margin (Locality 5); Gallego gorge (Locality 6); Jaca basin traverse (Locality 7); Monasterio de San Juan de la Pena (Locality 8); Embalse de Yesa (Locality 9); Javier (Locality 10); overnight in Sanguesa, Navarra 172km

Day 5: Petilla de Aragon (Locality 11); Pena (Locality 12); return Sanguesa 60km

Day 6: Foz de Lumbier (Locality 13); Salinas de Oro (Locality 14); return Sanguesa 170km

Day 7: Ebro basin interior (Locality 15); Monasterio de Montserrat (Locality 16); overnight near Montserrat 380km

Day 8: return hire cars to Barcelona airport; farewells ~70km

Description of localities

Locality 1: Eocene marine sediments thinning onto an actively growing fold structure; transect through the emergent tip of a thrust sheet; huge view S into the Ebro basin semi-desert

Locality 2: Eocene deep marine turbidites containing submarine landslide deposits

Locality 3: towers of thick alluvial fan conglomerates, Miocene

Locality 4: cliffs of Miocene alluvial sediments filling in actively ‘growing’ compressional fold structures

Locality 5: Miocene fluvial sediments deposited by rivers flowing out of the Pyrenees mountain belt

Locality 6: transect through a thrust belt

Locality 7: ‘piggyback’ basin that rode on a thrust sheet whilst it filled with alluvial sediments during the Oligocene-Miocene

Locality 8: 13th century monastery perched on a thick sequence of Oligocene alluvial fan conglomerates

Locality 9: deep marine muddy sediments, Eocene

Locality 10: Eocene tidal flat sediments containing casts of duck footprints

Locality 11: ‘sheets’ of sandstone deposited by meandering rivers, Oligocene

Locality 12: optional walk (14km round trip) up to an abandoned village built on Oligocene alluvial fan conglomerate

Locality 13: Paleocene limestones in a gorge cut through an actively growing fold structure that formed in the Late Miocene-Pliocene

Locality 14: one of several diapirs of Triassic salt containing mantle rocks from the North Pyrenean Fault Zone

Locality 15: drive through desert scenery comprising fine-grained sediments, gypsum and salt deposited in a vast basin of internal drainage, Miocene-Pliocene

Locality 16: Eocene-Oligocene fan-delta sequence progressing from deep marine mudstones at its base to continental alluvial fan conglomerates at the monastery at the summit

To register your interest please email: fieldmeetings@geologistsassociation.org.uk

Locality 3 – Los Riglos de Mallos, Zaragoza, Aragon