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Morphometry of glacial cirques in the Cantabrian Range (Northwest Spain)

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Two study areas were selected in the Cantabrian Range, in northern Spain, in order to analyse the morphometric characteristics of Pleistocene glacial cirques in a relatively marginal glacial environment. The Western Massif of Picos de Europa (WMPE) (highest altitude at 2,596 m) is characterised by Alpine-like relief and a geological landscape mainly dominated by calcareous outcrops. The sierras of Southwest Asturias (SSWA) (highest altitude at 2,002 m) is a typical Palaeozoic landscape of Appalachian-like relief and is dominated by old erosion surfaces. A statistical analysis found few relationships between environmental factors (altitude, aspect and lithology) and cirque morphometry in the WMPE. Glacial cirque development in this area is therefore likely to be more influenced by structural processes (such as differential erosion and fractures) and karstic erosion. In contrast, a clear increase in cirque size is observed with increasing altitude in the SSWA. In both study areas, cirques are predominantly distributed in areas with N and NE aspects, but particularly so in the SSWA which is of lower altitude than the WMPE. In the SSWA but not the WMPE, the horizontal dimensions of the cirques tend to increase more rapidly than the vertical dimensions, supporting the allometric model of glacial cirque development in this area.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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  • Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie main volume is a peer-reviewed international journal presenting original contributions of high scientific standard from all fields of geomorphology, encompassing basic research and applied studies. Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie (ZfG) invites the submission of original papers from the entire field of geomorphological research, both applied and theoretical. Authors are encouraged to submit their papers to the editor-in-chief. Please peruse the instructions to authors (PDF) before submitting your paper.

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