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In the seas of the Cambrian epoch the first elements of the Peninsula appeared as a multitude of islands.The most important of these islands formed what is now Galicia and the North of Portugal, with parts of the Provinces of Cáceres, Salamanca, and Zamora.The combined French and Portuguese frontiers measure 3094 miles.The surface of Spain presents the most varied geological features.The upheaval of the land went on during the Devonian and Silurian epochs until it formed what is now the whole of Galicia, part of the Asturias, León, and Zamora, and as far down as Toledo, Ciudad Real, Cordova, Huelvas, and the Algarves, while, to the east and north, were formed the Catalonian coast and a great part of the Pyrenees.
The arid prairies of certain parts of the Castiles and Estremadura are in as striking contrast with the fertile, though monotonous, plains of the Campos district and Lower Aragón, and the extremely rich arable lands and meadows of Andalusia and the eastern provinces, as are the perpetual snows of the Pyrenees, the Cantabrian Range, and the Sierra Nevada with the parched lowlands of Estremadura, Andalusia, Murcia, and Alicante.
The eastern portions of the Peninsula were built up during the Cretacean period, while, between these formations and the Granitic and Silurian, extensive lakes were left which have since disappeared but which may still be traced in the level steppes of Aragón and the two Castiles.
What is now the Ebro was then a vast lake extending through the Eocene and Pliocene formations of Lérida, Saragossa, and Logroño, and joining in the regions of Sto.
The Quaternary formations are found chiefly on the east coast and the Provinces of Madrid (northwest), Segovia, Valladolid, Palencia, and Asturias, and the basins of the principal rivers.
Down to this last period Spain does not seem to have been definitively separated from Africa, its formations — Eocene and Miocene, as well as Silurian — being continued in that region.