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

Monday, 14 September, 8:00 a.m. – Friday, 18 September 2015, 8:00 p.m.
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
Begins and ends in Barcelona, Spain. More details will follow soon.

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 Antonio Barnolas Geological Survey of Spain, Madrid, Spain
Antonio Antonio Teixell Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
Debbi Debbi Boonstra Education Manager +1 918 560-2630
Vicky Vicky Kroh Registrar, Education Department +1 918 560 2650 +1 918 560 2678

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