Sierra Nevada (Spanish: [ˈsjera neˈβaða]; meaning "snow-covered mountain range") is a mountain range in the Andalusian province of Granada in Spain. It contains the highest point of continental Spain:[note 1] Mulhacén, at 3,479 metres (11,414 ft) above sea level.

Sierra Nevada
View of the Sierra Nevada
Highest point
Elevation3,479 m (11,414 ft)
Coordinates37°03′N 03°18′W / 37.050°N 3.300°W / 37.050; -3.300
Sierra Nevada is located in Spain
Sierra Nevada
Sierra Nevada
Location in Spain
LocationProvinces of Granada, Almería and Málaga
Parent rangePenibaetic System
Age of rockTertiary
Mountain typeAlpine

It is a popular tourist destination, as its high peaks make skiing possible in one of Europe's most southerly ski resorts, in an area along the Mediterranean Sea predominantly known for its warm temperatures and abundant sunshine. At its foothills is found the city of Granada, and a little further south, Almería and Málaga.

Parts of the range have been included in the Sierra Nevada National Park. The range has also been declared a biosphere reserve. The Sierra Nevada Observatory and the IRAM radiotelescope are located on the northern slopes at an elevation of 2,800 metres (9,200 ft).

Formation Edit

The Sierra Nevada was formed during the Alpine Orogeny, a mountain-building event that also formed the European Alps to the east and the Atlas Mountains of northern Africa across the Mediterranean Sea to the south. The Sierra as observed today formed during the Paleogene and Neogene Periods (66 to 1.8 million years ago) from the collision of the African and Eurasian continental plates.

Geography Edit

Sierra Nevada from Alquería de Fargue near Granada

Central to the mountain range is a ridge running broadly west-south-west - east-north-east. For a substantial distance, the watershed stays consistently above 3,000 metres (9,800 ft). This is sufficient altitude for the peaks to be consistently snow-covered.[1]

On the southern side of the range, several long, narrow river valleys lead off towards the south-west, separated by a number of subsidiary ridges. On the steeper and craggier northern side, the valleys have less regular orientations. This side is dominated by the Rio Genil which starts near Mulhacén and into which many of the other rivers flow.

Geologically, the range is composed chiefly of soft micaceous schists, sloping steeply to the north, but more gradually to the south and south-east.[1]

Highest peaks Edit

Highest peaks of Sierra Nevada
Peak (> 3,000m) Height (m)
Mulhacén 3,479
Veleta 3,398
Alcazaba 3,371
Cerro los Machos 3,324
Puntal de Siete Lagunas 3,248
Puntal de la Caldera 3,226
Pico de Elorrieta 3,206
Crestones Río Seco 3,198
Loma Pelada 3,187
Cerro Pelado 3,179
Tajos de la Virgen 3,160
Tosal del Cartujo 3,152
Pico de La Atalaya 3,148
Puntal de Vacares 3,143
Cerro Rasero 3,139
Tajos del Nevero 3,120
Raspones Río Seco 3,120
Tajos Altos 3,111
Picón de Jeres 3,090
Tajo de los Machos 3,088
Cerrillo Redondo 3,058
Juego de Bolos 3,018
Pico del Caballo 3,011

Climate Edit

According to the Köppen climate classification, Sierra Nevada has a Mediterranean climate, with different variations depending on the altitude. Above 2,500 metres (8,200 ft) the climate is Mediterranean subalpine (Dsc), due to the location's high elevation and low summer precipitation. With June and September being around the threshold of 10 °C (50 °F) in mean temperature to avoid the subarctic classification, the climate at a slightly lower elevation is continental highland climate. At an elevation slightly lower than that classification area; where February means average above −3 °C (27 °F); it falls into the normal cool-summer mediterranean classification transitioning with the hot-summer variety in surrounding lowland areas. This renders Sierra Nevada's climate a highland cooled-down variety of a typical mediterranean climate. Summer and winter daytime temperatures are some 12° C cooler than found in Granada, differences that are even greater in spring as Sierra Nevada takes longer to approach the short summers. In May daytime highs in Sierra Nevada are around 4 °C (39 °F) with Granada having an average of 24 °C (75 °F). The yearly temperature of 3.9 °C (39.0 °F) at the ski station of Pradollano is in stark contrast to Granada's 15.7 °C (60.3 °F) and coastal Málaga's 18.5 °C (65.3 °F).[2][3]

Climate data for Pradollano Ski Station (1975–1989); 2,507 metres (8,225 ft)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 0.3
Daily mean °C (°F) −2.9
Average low °C (°F) −6.1
Average precipitation mm (inches) 86.7
Source 1: Phytosociological Research Center[4]
Source 2: Worldwide Bioclimatic Classification System (Complutense University of Madrid)[5]

Sport Edit

Gallery Edit

See also Edit

Notes Edit

  1. ^ The highest peak in Spanish territory is Teide on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, which is politically Spanish but geographically part of Africa.

References Edit

  1. ^ a b Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Sierra Nevada, The" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 25 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 57.
  2. ^ "Standard climate values for Granada". Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  3. ^ "Standard climate values for Málaga". Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  4. ^ "Datos climátológicos de Sierra Nevada" (in Spanish). Phytosociological Research Center.
  5. ^ "Diagramas Climáticos de Pradollano" (in Spanish). S.Rivas-Martínez, Centro de Investigaciones Fitosociológicas, Madrid. 23 June 2020.

Bibliography Edit

  • Francisco Pérez Raya, Joaquín Molero Mesa, Francisco Valle Tendero, 1992: "Parque Natural de Sierra Nevada. Paisaje, fauna, flora, itinerarios". Ed. Rueda. Madrid. ISBN 84-7207-067-0 (Spanish)
  • "Flora de la Tundra de Sierra Nevada". Pablo Prieto Fernández, Ed. Universidad de Granada. ISBN 84-600-1810-5 (Spanish)
  • "Sierra Nevada: Guía de Montaña". Aurelio del Castillo y Antonio del Castillo. Ed. Penibética, 2003. ISBN 84-932022-3-1 (Spanish)

Further reading Edit

External links Edit

  Media related to Sierra Nevada (Spain) at Wikimedia Commons