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Pyrenees, Spanish Pirineos, French Pyrénées, Catalan Pireneus, hill chain that southwestern Europe that is composed of flat-topped massifs and also folded linear ranges. It follow me from the shores the the Mediterranean Sea top top the eastern to the bay of Biscay top top the Atlantic s on the west. The Pyrenees type a high wall between France and also Spain that has played a significant role in the background of both countries and of Europe together a whole. The range is part 270 mile (430 kilometres) long; it is barely six miles vast at its east end, but at its centre it reaches some 80 miles in width. At its western end it blends imperceptibly right into the Cantabrian mountains along the northern shore of the Iberian Peninsula. Except in a few places, wherein Spanish region juts northward or French southward, the stakes of the chain clues the boundary in between the two countries, despite the small autonomous principality that Andorra lies among its peaks. The highest allude is Aneto Peak, in ~ 11,169 feet (3,404 metres), in the Maladeta (Spanish: “Accursed”) massif that the main Pyrenees.
The hydrographic system consists basically of collection of parallel valleys the descend indigenous the high peaks and from the passes. They room bordered by high, dividing ridges in a north–south direction, perpendicular to the axis that the chain. This kind of valley produces short, torrential rivers the drop precipitously over brief stretches; just seldom perform these rivers flow, like the Aragón, through valleys that, together in the Alps, have both tenderness slope and greater length. Your flow, exceptionally variable, specifically on the southern side, is heavily influenced by the climate, and by the relief. Various maximum low waters occur in summer and also winter; the spring, through maximum rain and also melting snow, normally sees the greatest flows. In the western Pyrenees and the northern zone, the rainfall sample helps produce greater regularity; hence, circulation is only slightly lower in summer. ~ above the southern a couple of torrential rivers room fed principally by melt snows, a couple of largely through rain, however most from a mix of sources. Hefty rains occasionally cause severe flooding in the region.
The river patterns and flow have been vital since antiquity in human use that both the land and the rivers—from the floating of lumber rafts downstream, which deserve to be done only in the spring, come harnessing waterpower because that industry and also irrigation on the southerly side by method of dams. The torrential circulation of many of the rivers is the cause both of the purity the the Pyrenean waters and also of their excellence and richness together fishing streams.
The present Pyrenean glaciers, perhaps an ext frequent top top the north than ~ above the southern slopes, have been reduced to high basins—cirques or hanging valleys—at elevations over 9,800 feet. During and after the great Ice eras (i.e., within the past 2.5 million years), however, especially in the central and much of the eastern Pyrenees, glaciers left prevalent erosion and also various crucial sediments. The present-day reduced lakes and also idyllic meadows with their winding rivulets are amongst their marks. Glacier tongues were likewise the main reasons of the deep valleys include the river system.
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The fractured areas have numerous hot springs, both sulfurous and also saline. The previous are found throughout the axial massif, while the latter occur at the edges. This springs were popular in roman inn times and also reorganized and modernized toward the end of the 19th century. Over there are an ext than 20 famed spas on the French side; those in Spain room as numerous yet are less totally exploited.