The Baetic System (Spanish: Sistema Bético) is one of the main systems of mountain ranges in Spain. Located in the southern and eastern Iberian Peninsula, it is also known as the Cordilleras Béticas (Baetic Mountain Ranges) or Baetic Mountains. The name of the mountain system derives from the ancient Roman region of Baetica, one of the Imperial Roman provinces of ancient Hispania.
|Elevation||3,478.6 m (11,413 ft)|
|Country||Spain and little bit in Gibraltar (UK)|
small parts in Murcia,
and Gibraltar (only Rock)
|Parent range||Gibraltar Arc|
The Baetic System is made up of multiple mountain ranges that reach from western Andalusia to the Region of Murcia, southern Castile-La Mancha and the Land of Valencia. To the north, the Baetic Ranges are separated from the Meseta Central and the Sierra Morena by the basin of the Guadalquivir. The Iberian System rises north of the eastern part of the Prebaetic System, the northernmost prolongation of the Baetic System. Generally the mountain ranges that are part of this system are aligned in a southwest-northeast direction.
The most well-known range of the Baetic System is the Sierra Nevada, where the Mulhacén, the highest mountain in continental Spain and in the Iberian Peninsula is found. The Rock of Gibraltar is also considered to be part of the Baetic System, but not the Cabo de Gata area further east which includes rocks of volcanic origin.
The Baetic System as a geological feature belongs to a larger orogeny usually called the Gibraltar Arc, which represents the westernmost edge of the Alpine Orogeny. The geodynamic mechanisms responsible for its formation are so far relatively unknown.
Geologically the Rif mountains in Morocco and the Serra de Tramuntana in the island of Majorca are extensions of the Baetic System. The Gibraltar Arc geological region follows the Moroccan coast from Oujda in the east to Tanger in the west, then crosses the Strait of Gibraltar and goes east again from Cádiz to Valencia and the Balearic Islands.
The Baetic System is home to a number of Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub plant communities, including shrublands, oak woodlands, broadleaf forests, and coniferous forests, which vary with elevation, soils, and topography.
The Baetic System, together with the Rif Mountains of Morocco, which face the Baetic Ranges across the Alboran Sea, is one of the Mediterranean basin's ten biodiversity hotspots, known to ecologists as the Baetic-Rifan complex. The Baetic mountains are home to a rich assemblage of Mediterranean plants, including a number of relict species from the ancient laurel forests, which covered much of the Mediterranean basin millions of years ago when it was more humid.
The Baetic System is divided into the following sub-chains:
- Serranía de Ronda
- Rock of Gibraltar
- Sierra de las Nieves
- Sierra Blanca
- Cordillera Antequerana
- Sierra de Tejeda
- Sierra de Almijara
- Sierra de Alhama
- Sierra Nevada
- Sierra de Lújar
- Sierra de la Contraviesa
- Sierra de Cogollos
- Sierra de Gádor
- Sierra de Baza
- Sierra de los Filabres
- Sierra de Alhamilla
- Sierra Espuña
- Sierra Cabrera
- Sierra de las Estancias
- The Surco Intrabético comprises a series of valleys and depressions separating the Penibaetic from the Subbaetic System
- Granada Natural - Las Zonas Externas
- A Guide to the Upper Rock Nature Reserve Archived 2008-07-24 at the Wayback Machine
- European geoparks website Archived 2009-05-30 at the Wayback Machine
- Wes Gibbons & Teresa Moreno, The geology of Spain. Geological Society of London, 2003, ISBN 978-1-86239-110-9
- Dan Davis, Commercial Navigation in the Greek and Roman World
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