Earth, Sky and Water

Earth, Sky and Water

The landscape tells quite a complex story of a place occupied at different stages through geological time by a shallow sea, freshwater lakes, and brackish lagoons. Subsequently, when ground all across Europe was lifted up and the Alps were formed, it emerged as tropical forest at the foot of what became the Sierra, to the south. This tropical landscape, where the dinosaurs flourished, eventually became a periglacial tundra, before giving way to the continental-mediterranean scrub and prairie of today.

Thus the bedrock varies a lot, from the grey granites and gneisses of the Sierra, with their gentle green and black patchwork cover of Pyrenean oak and Scots pine, to the warm-coloured chalks, marls and limestones of the piedmont, which blends northwards into the vast sandy cereal-covered plains of the Meseta.

The hydrology follows the contrasting landforms. Mountain torrents coalesce in meandering rivers, many coursing underground when they arrive on the calcareous, karstic interface between the piedmont and the plain.

The skies reflect the constant tussle between air currents of contrasting temperature and humidity, coming from Europe to the north, Africa to the south and the Atlantic in the west. They meet head-on at the mountainous barrier of the Sierra and the result is stunning cloud formations, spectacular sunrises and cinematographic sunsets.

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