18 September, 2015 Barcelona Spain

Interpretation of Thrust Belts and Foreland Basins: Models from the Spanish Pyrenees

14-18 September 2015
Barcelona, Spain


Who Should Attend
Exploration and development geologists and geophysicists interested in fold and thrust structures and tectonics-sedimentation interactions in compressional belts and foreland basins.

As a result of taking this field seminar, participants should be able to.

  • Interpret complex thrust structures and fault-related folds formed in diverse habitats, from deep basinal settings to the earth’s surface.
  • Identify and understand strain and fracture systems in fold-thrust belts.
  • Analyze patterns of growth strata in areas with synsedimentary folding.
  • Apply the basic principles of the architecture and kinematics of foreland basins.
  • Discuss and predict the basin-scale geometry and evolution of deep-water turbidite systems and proximal alluvial fans in relation with the active tectonic development.
Course Content

The Spanish Pyrenees provide world-class models for thrust tectonics and synorogenic sedimentation. During the field seminar we will examine illustrative outcrops of thrusts, fault-related folds, stratal architectures and facies of depositional systems affected by growing structures, which are good analogues for hydrocarbon reservoirs. The seminar will cover a transect of the southern Pyrenees, a Cenozoic belt where thrust-fold geometries are well exposed and suitable for conceptual discussion. Synorogenic sediments range from deep-water turbidites to shallow marine and terrestrial molasse. Turbidites include debris sheets ("megaturbidites") that have produced gas. Molasse sediments are perturbed by growth anticlines and exhibit intraformational unconformities related to observable thrust faults.

The field trip takes place in beautiful mountain scenery, which is a plus to the geology. During the days of the trip, lodging will be in a comfortable hotel in the touristic/historic town of Jaca, a famous center for winter and summer leisure activities. Accompanying guests may enjoy visits to the XI century Romanesque cathedral and the XVI century fortress.

  • The first day comprises the travel from Barcelona to Jaca and a general presentation to the seminar after the arrival, including the geology of the Pyrenees and an introduction to the concepts to be studied.
  • In the next day, the field work is initiated in the Roncal valley, where we will study the internal thrust sheets of the Pyrenees that illustrate the process of inversion of the pre-orogenic extensional margin of the Iberian plate. Patterns of fractures and other minor structures related to thrusting will be discussed.
  • The third day is centered on an itinerary on the scenic Aragüés valley, studying in detail thrust-fold geometries and examining deformed synorogenic turbidites.
  • The fourth day is devoted to the classic turbidite and breccia deposits of the Hecho group in the Jaca basin, and to the analysis of growth strata and related unconformities at the internationally known example of the Pico del Aguila anticline.
  • The last day involves a reconnaissance of the south Pyrenean mountain front at Riglos (Gallego gorge), analyzing interactions between growing thrust structures and proximal alluvial fan conglomerates, and concludes with the return to Barcelona in the evening.

The field work involves some walking in mountain terrain, always along safe and well-marked trails. On the third day we walk up a difference in elevation of 450 m. Good exposures of thrust faults and folds make the hike worthwhile! The trail is well marked, and returning to a hut or to the vans is always accessible. We recommend hiking boots, sun protection cream, and a hat.

Field Seminar Location

The four nights during the trip (from september 14 to 17) will be spent in the town of
Jaca at:

Gran Hotel Paseo de la Constitución, 1
22700 Jaca (province of Huesca), Spain
phone: 34 974360900

Lodging and all meals are included in the seminar fee.

Meeting locations
Trip departs and ends in Barcelona, Spain.

Departure meeting: Monday September 14, 2015, at 15:30 hours at the Catalonia
Palace of Congresses (“Palau de Congressos de Catalunya”), in front of the main
(Address: Av. Diagonal 661-671, Barcelona). Easily reached by taxi of by
underground train (Metro), stop “Zona Universitaria” (green line). And very close to
the Hotel Juan Carlos I.
Trip will end in Barcelona at 20:00 on September 18.
Morning meetings during the trip at the Gran Hotel in Jaca.

Travel and itinerary:
We will travel by vans during the entire trip.

September 14: Barcelona-Jaca, accommodation and dinner in the Hotel
September 15: Jaca-Belagua-Pierre Saint Martin-Jaca
September 16: Jaca-Aragüés del Puerto-Jaca
September 17: Jaca-Biniés-Arguís-Jaca
September 18: Jaca-Riglos-Barcelona (dinner and lodging in Barcelona not

Field trip itinerary and highlights

Stop 1.1. Refugio de Belagua. Introduction to the field area. General view and
stratigraphy of the Axial Zone cover

From Jaca drive west along the roads C134 and N240, and then turn north along
NA137 following the Roncal valley, up to the mountain hut of the Refugio de

Stop 1.2. Pierre-Saint-Martin. Ramps of the Larra thrust system

Follow the main road to the NE to Pierre Saint Martin and park some 100 m after a
signal, beside a road bend.

Stop 1.3. Pierre-Saint-Martin. Fault zone structure of the Larra floor thrust

Walk down the road back to the roadside outcrops by the signal post.

Stop 1.4. Pico Lakora. A klippe of the Lakora thrust sheet

Drive to a parking place near the Col d’Eraycé, 2 km NE of the Refugio de
Belagua, and walk up to the mountain crest that leads to the Pico Lakora.


Stop 2.1. Section along the high valley of Aragüés. Thrust tectonics and fault-related folding

Drive from Jaca westwards along the C134 and turn north along HU210 and then
HU212 to the village of Aragüés del Puerto, and continue until the end of the road
at the mountain hut of the Refugio de Lizara. From the Refugio walk up to the NE
along the western side of the valley.

Stop 2.2. North of Aragüés village. Chevron-folded Eocene turbidites

Drive back down the road to Aragüés for approximately 7 km and stop by the road
cuts with folded rock layers, 2 km N of the village.


Stop 3.1. Urdués road. Internal constitution of a carbonate megabreccia bed

Drive from Jaca westwards along the C134 and turn north along HU210 to stop by
the cross-road to Urdués.

Stop 3.2. Foz de Biniés. Foreland platform deposits, platform drowning and onset of a deep water turbidite wedge

Continue along HU210 for 2 km to Hecho and turn to the road to Ansó. Then leave
the cross-road to the village of Ansó to the right and continue some 5 km to a
limestone gorge where cars can be parked by the southern entrance.

Stop 3.3. Arguís-Pico del Aguila. Growth-strata architecture associated to a
synsedimentary anticline.

Drive south back to C134 and continue eastwards to Huesca via Jaca and
Sabiñánigo. Stop at the beginning of the old Jaca-Huesca road in the vicinity of the
town of Arguís.


Stop 4.1. Puerto de Santa Bárbara. Panoramic view of the southern Jaca basin

Drive from Jaca to the west along C134 and then take N240 southwards direction
Huesca. Stop at the road cuts before the puerto de Santa Bárbara.

Stop 4.2. Embalse de la Peña. Stratigraphy of the External Sierras

Follow N240 to the south to stop in the proximity of the reservoir Embalse de la
Peña. Proceed along the road cuts to the south of the reservoir and the bridge.

Stop 4.3. Riglos. Thrust front and proximal alluvial fan interactions

Continue down the N240 and take the road to Riglos on the left (HU310). Cross
the village and park just below the conglomerate pillars of the Mallos de Riglos.
From the parking place walk up along the trail between the two prominent Mallos
up to the Cerro Leonar.

Expected weather conditions

Weather may be mild, but highly variable in this station. We should be prepared for occasional showers in the mountains. A raincoat and a fleece/pullover underneath is necessary, although if we are lucky we may be able to be comfortable with a single shirt much of the time. Hiking boots are strongly recommended. Please also bring sun protection cream and a hat.

Costs beyond listings
None, apart from optional drinks or coffee after field work.

Images and figures of the field seminar area can be found at:

Pdf’s of publications describing the area can be downloaded from Antonio Teixell’s webpage at:

(Dealing with the seminar subject are: Teixell and Koyi, 2003; Teixell et al., 2000;

Teixell, 1996; and Barnolas and Teixell, 1994).

Weather in Barcelona will be mild in September. Note that all payments in Spain are
to be done in Euros.
From the Barcelona airport to downtown a taxi may cost about 40 Euros. Convenient
public transportation (train and bus) is also available.

Expires on
02 August, 2015
Early Tuition
Expires on
18 September, 2015
Regular Tuition
22 people

PLEASE NOTE: Registrants in AAPG Field Seminars must complete and sign the Release and Indemnity Form on the bottom of the Registration Form (or read and agree to the appropriate box during online registration.) Your registration will not be complete until we have your signed form in our files.

Tuition is in US dollars and includes guidebook and course materials, internal and roundtrip transportation from Barcelona, lodging, and all meals. No refunds for cancellations after 8/03/2015.


Antonio Barnolas Geological Survey of Spain, Madrid, Spain
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Antonio Teixell Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
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Stephanie Brown Assistant Registrar 918-560-2930 918-560-2678
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Debbi Boonstra Education Manager +1 918 560-2630
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