Baetic System

Baetic System
Baetic System
Mulhacén in the winter
Country  Spain and little bit in Gibraltar (UK)
Region mostly  Andalusia,
small part in  Murcia,
little bit in  Valencian Community,
little bit in  Gibraltar (only Rock)
Part of Gibraltar Arc
Highest point Mulhacén
 - elevation 3,478 m (11,411 ft)
Orogeny Alpine Orogeny
Map of the Baetic System in Andalusia
Sierra Crestellina, near Casares

The Baetic System (Spanish: Sistema Bético) is the main (together Pyrenees) system of mountain ranges in Spain. Located in southern and eastern Spain, it is also known as the Baetic Cordillera, Baetic Ranges or Baetic Mountains. The name of the mountain system derives from the ancient Roman region of Baetica, one of the Imperial Roman provinces of the Iberian Peninsula.

The Baetic System is made up of multiple mountain ranges that reach from western Andalusia to Murcia and Valencia. Generally the mountain ranges that are part of this system are aligned in a southwest-northeast direction.[1] The most well-known range of the Baetic System is the Sierra Nevada, where the Mulhacén, the highest mountain in continental Spain and in the Iberian Peninsula is found.

The Rock of Gibraltar is also considered to be part of the Baetic System[2]. To the north, the Baetic Ranges are separated from the Meseta Central and the Sierra Morena by the basin of the Guadalquivir. The Iberian System rises north of the eastern part of the Prebaetic System, the northernmost prolongation of the Baetic System.



The Baetic System as a geological feature belongs to a larger orogen usually called Gibraltar Arc, which represents the westernmost edge of the Alpine Orogeny. The geodynamic mechanisms responsible for its formation are so far relatively unknown.[3]

The Gibraltar Arc geological region follows the Moroccan coast from Oujda in the east to Tanger in the west, then crosses the Strait of Gibraltar and goes east again from Cádiz to Valencia and the Balearic Islands.


The Baetic System is home to a number of Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub plant communities, including shrublands, oak woodlands, broadleaf forests, and coniferous forests, which vary with elevation, soils, and topography.

The Baetic System, together with the Rif Mountains of Morocco, which face the Baetic Ranges across the Alboran Sea, is one of the Mediterranean basin's ten biodiversity hotspots, known to ecologists as the Baetic-Rifan complex. The Baetic mountains are home to a rich assemblage of Mediterranean plants, including a number of relict species from the ancient laurel forests, which covered much of the Mediterranean basin millions of years ago when it was more humid.


The Baetic System is divided into the following sub-chains:

  • Cordillera Penibética
    • Serranía de Ronda
    • Cordillera Antequerana
    • Sierra de Tejeda
    • Sierra de Almijara
    • Sierra Nevada
    • Sierra de Lújar
    • Sierra de la Contraviesa
    • Sierra de Cogollos
    • Sierra de Gádor
    • Sierra de Baza
    • Sierra de los Filabres
    • Sierra de Alhamilla
    • Sierra Espuña
  • The Surco Intrabético comprises a series of valleys and depressions separating the Cordillera Penibética from the Cordillera Subbética
  • Cordillera Subbética
    • Sierra del Aljibe, includes the Alcornocales Natural Park
    • Rock of Gibraltar
    • Sierra de Grazalema
    • Sierra de Gibalbín
    • Sierras Subbéticas de Córdoba
    • Sierra Elvira
    • Sierra de Loja
    • Sierra Sur de Jaén
    • Sierra Harana
    • Sierra de Huétor, overlapping with the Sistema Penibético
    • Sierra Mágina, along with the Sierra de la Sagra overlapping with the Cordillera Prebética
  • Cordillera Prebética
    • Sierra de Cazorla
    • Sierra de Segura
    • Sierra de Alcaraz
    • Sierra de Castril
    • Sierra de la Sagra
    • Sierra del Taibilla
    • Sierra de María, overlapping with the Cordillera Penibética
    • Serra Mariola
    • Montgó Massif
    • Sierra de Bernia
    • Penyal d'Ifac


  1. ^ Granada Natural - Las Zonas Externas
  2. ^ A Guide to the Upper Rock Nature Reserve
  3. ^ Wes Gibbons & Teresa Moreno, The geology of Spain. Geological Society of London, 2003, ISBN 9781862391109

External links

37°00′N 5°00′W / 37°N 5°W / 37; -5Coordinates: 37°00′N 5°00′W / 37°N 5°W / 37; -5

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