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Alfonso Sopeña

Alfonso SopeñaEnglish Spanish

Senior Reader, CSIC-UCM

(retired, july 2015)

Signature of papers: Sopeña, A.


Institut of Geoscience CSI-UCM
Faculty of Geological Sciences
Universidad Complutense
José Antonio Nováis, 12, third floor, of. 2
28040 Madrid, Spain


Graduated with a BSc in 1972 and PhD in Geological Sciences from the University of Madrid. He began his career as a researcher and assistant at the Department of Stratigraphy and Institute of Economic Geology (CSIC-UCM) in 1972, the same institute he headed from 1989-1998. He completed postdoctoral studies at the Universities of Cambridge (UK) and Strasbourg (France). He has been president of the o Royal Spanish Society of Natural History. His principal expertise lays in fluvial sedimentology, slackwater deposits, Permian and Triassic sediments and Basin analysis. Actually, primary research interests involve the Sedimentology and Stratigraphy of slackwater deposits in Holocene fluvial sediments. This information can be used in risk assessment and in the assessment of climatic change. The main target is reconstructing long-term flood records and to improve understanding of the societal response to these catastrophic floods.

Areas of Interest

Sedimentology, Stratigraphy, Basin analisys, Palaeohydrology, Palaoclimatology and Global Changes.

Selection of Publications

  • Virgili, C., Hernando, S., Ramos, A., Sopeña, A. (1973): La sedimentation permienne au centre de l'Espagne. Bulletin de la Societe Geologique de France, 15 (5-6) sup.: 109-112.
  • Virgili, C., Hernando, S., Ramos, A., Sopeña. A. (1976): The Permian in Spain. The Continental Permian in Central West and South Europe. C22 Issue: Advanced Study Institute. NATO: 91-109.
  • Sopeña, A., Virgili, C., Hernando, S., Ramos, A. (1977): Pérmico continental en España. Continental Permian in Spain. Cuadernos de Geología Ibérica (Journal of Iberian Geology), 4: 11-34.
  • Sopeña, A., Feys, R., Ramos, A., Sopeña, A. (1977): "Estheria tenella" en el Pérmico de Pálmaces de Jadraque (Prov. de Guadalajara). "Estheria tenella" in the Palmaces of Jadraque Permian (Prov. de Guadalajara). Cuadernos de Geología Ibérica (Journal of Iberian Geology), 4: 135-144.
  • Demathieu, G. Ramos, A. Sopeña, A. (1978): Fauna icnológica del Triásico del extremo noroccidental de la Cordillera Ibérica (Prov. de Guadalajara). Ichnological triassic fauna of northwestern of the Iberia Cordillera (province of Guadalajara). Estudios Geológicos, 34: 175-186.
  • Virgili, C., Sopena, A., Ramos, A., Hernando, S. (1980): The Permian In Spain. Revista Española de Micropaleontología, 12(2): 255-262.
  • Ramos, A., Sopeña, A. (1983): Gravel bars in low-sinuosity streams (Permian and Triassic, central Spain). Special Publication of the International Association of Sedimentologists, 6: 301-312.
  • Virgili, A., Sopeña, A., Ramos, A., Hernando, S. (1983): Some observation on the Triassic of the Iberian Peninsula. Neue Beiträge zur Biostratigraphic der Tethys-Trias. New Contributions to the Biostratigraphy of the Tethys Triassic, 5 Issue: Schriftenreihe der Erdwissenschaftlichen Kommissionen, 287-294.
  • Sopeña, A., Ramos, A. (1986): El final del ciclo hercínico en el Sistema Central Español: El Pérmico. Revista de la Real Academia de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales. 56(6): 862-875.
  • Ramos, A., Sopeña, A., Perez-Arlucea, M. (1986): Evolution of Buntsandstein Fluvial Sedimentation in the Northwest Iberian Ranges (Central Spain).Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, 56(6): 862-875.
  • Sopeña, A., López, J., Arche, A., Pérez-Arlucea, M. Ramos, A. Virgili, C. (1988): Permian and Triassic Rift Basins of the Iberian Peninsula In: Triassic-Jurassic Rifting. Continental Break-up and the Origin f the Atlantic Ocean and Passive Margins. Developments in Geotectonics, 22B: 757-786 .
  • Turner, P., Turner, A., Ramos, A., Sopeña, A. (1989): Paleomagnetism Of Permo-Triassic Rocks In The Iberian Cordillera, Spain - Acquisition Of Secondary And Characteristic Remanence. Journal of the Geological Society,London, 146: 61-76.
  • Vilas, F., Sopena, A., Rey, L., Ramos, A., Nombela, M.A., Arche, A.(1991): The Corrubedo Beach Lagoon Complex, Galicia, Spain - Dynamics, Sediments And Recent Evolution Of A Mesotidal Coastal Embayment. Marine Geology, 97(3-4): 391-404.
  • Muñoz, A., Ramos, A., Sánchez-Moya, Y., Sopeña, A. (1992): Evolving fluvial architecture during a marine transgression: Upper Buntsandstein, Triassic, Central Spain. Sedimentary Geology, 75: 257-281.
  • Doblas, M., Oyarzun, R., Sopeña, A., López,J., Capote, R., Hernández, J. L., Hoyos, M., Lunar, R., Sánchez-Moya, Y. (1994): Variscan-Late Variscan-Early Alpine Progressive Extensional Collapse Of Central Spain. Geodinamica Acta, 7( 1): 1-14.
  • Doblas, M., López, J., Oyarzun, R., Mahecha, V., Sánchez-Moya, Y., Hoyos, M., Cebria, M. Capote, R., Hernández, J.L., Lillo, L., Lunar, R., Ramos, A., Sopeña, A. (1994): Extensional tectonics in the Central Iberian Peninsula during the Variscan to Alpine transition. Tectonophysics, 38: 95-116.
  • Sopeña, A., Doubinger, J., Ramos, A., Pérez-Arlucea, M. (1995): Palynologie du Permien et du Trias dans le Centre de Peninsule Iberique. Sciences Géologiques Bulletin, 48(1-3): 119-157.
  • Sánchez-Moya, A., Sopeña, A., Ramos, A. (1996): Infill architecture of a non marine half-graben Triassic basin (Central Spain). Journal of Sedimentary Research, B66 (3): 1122-1136.
  • Ramos, A., Sopeña, A., Sánchez-Moya, A., Muñoz, A. (1996): Subsidence analysis, maturity modelling and hydrocarbon generation of the Alpine sedimentary sequence in the NW of the Iberian Ranges (Central Spain).Cuad. Geol. Ibérica, (actual, Journal of Iberian Geology), 21: 23-53.
  • Sopeña, A., Sánchez-Moya, A. (1997): Tectonic systems tract and depositional architecture of the western border of the Triassic Iberian Trough border (central Spain). Sedimentary Geology, 113: 245-267.
  • Benito, G., Machado, M. J., Pérez-González, A., Sopeña (1998): Palaeoflood Hydrology of the Tagus River, Central Spain. In: Palaeohydrology and Environmental Change. (G. Benito, V. R. Baker & K.J. Gregory Edts). John Wiley & Sons Ltd. New York, USA. cap. 23: 317-333.
  • Alonso-Zarza, A.M., Sopeña, A., Sánchez-Moya, Y. (1999): Contrasting paleosol development in two different tectonic settings: The Upper Buntsandstein of the Western Iberian Ranges, Central Spain. Terra Nova, 11: 23-29.
  • Alonso-Zarza, A.M., Sánchez-Moya, Y. Bustillo, M. A. Sopeña, A. Delgado, A. (2002): Silicification and dolomitization of anhydrite nodules in argillaceous terrestrial deposits: An example of meteoric-dominated diagenesis from the Triassic of Central Spain. Sedimentology, 49: 303-317.
  • Benito, G., Sopeña, A., Sánchez-Moya, Y., Machado, M. J., Pérez-González, A. (2003): Palaeoflood Record of the Tagus river (Central Spain) during the Late Pleistocene and Holocene. Quaternary Science Rewiev, 22:1737-1756.
  • Benito, G.; Sánchez-Moya, Y., Sopeña, A. (2003): Sedimentology of high-stage flood deposits of the Tagus river, Central Spain. Sedimentary Geology, 157:107-132.
  • Sánchez-Moya, Y., Sopeña, A. (2004): El Rift Mesozoico Ibérico. In: Geología de España. J. A. Vera. Ed., Madrid SGE-IGME. 484-485.
  • Sopeña, A., Ed. (2004): Cordillera Ibérica y Costero-Catalana In: Geología de España. J. A. Vera. Ed., Madrid SGE-IGME. 465-527.
  • Thorndycraft, V.R., Benito, G., Rico, M., Sopeña, A., Sánchez-Moya, Y., Casas, A. (2004): A Late Holocene Palaeoflood Record from Slackwater Flood Deposits of the Llobregat River, NE Spain. Journal of the Geological Society of India, 64(4): 549-559.
  • Thorndycraft, V.R., Benito, G., Walling, D.E., Sopeña, A., Sánchez-Moya, Y., Rico, M., Casas, A. (2005): Caesium-137 dating applied to slackwater flood deposits of the Llobregat River, NE Spain. Catena, 59(3): 305-318.
  • Thorndycraft, V., Benito, G., Rico, M., Sopeña, A., Sánchez-Moya, Y. and Casas, M.A. (2005): Palaeoflood hydrology of the Llobregat River, NE Spain: A 3000 year record of extreme floods. Journal of Hydrology, 313: 16-31.
  • Benito, G., Rico M., Thorndycraft V. R., Sánchez-Moya Y., Sopeña A. Díez Herrero A.., Jiménez A. (2006): Palaeoflood records applied to assess dam safety in SE Spain. In: River flow (Ferreira, R., Alves, E., Leal, J., Cardoso, A. Edtrs) .Taylor & Francis Group, London, UK. 2113-2120.
  • Benito, G., Thorndycraft, V.R., Rico, M., Sánchez-Moya, Y., Sopeña, A. (2008): Palaeoflood and floodplain records from Spain: Evidence for long-term climate variability and environmental changes. Geomorfology, 101: 68-77.
  • Sopeña, A., Sanchez-Moya, Y., Barrón, E. (2009): New Palynological and Isotopic Data on Triassic of Western Cantabrian Ranges. Journal of Iberian Geology, 32(1): 35-45.
  • De Vicente, G., Vegas, R., Muñoz-Martín, A., Van Wees, J.D., Casas-Sáinz, A., Sopeña, A., Sánchez-Moya, Y., Arche, A., López-Gómez, J., Oláiz, A., Fernández-Lozano, J. (2009): Oblique strain partitioning and transpression on an inverted rift: The Castilian Branch of the Iberian Chain. Tectonophysics, 470(3-4): 224-242.
  • Benito, G., Rico, M., Sánchez-Moya, Y., Sopeña,A., Thorndycraft, V. R., Barriendos, M. (2010): The impact of late Holocene climatic variability and land use change on the flood hydrology of the Guadalentín River, southeast Spain.Global and Planetary Change, 70 (1-4): 53-63.
  • Benito, G., Thorndycraft, V.R., Rico, M.T., Sánchez-Moya, Y., Sopeña, A., Botero, B.A., Machado, M.J., Davis, M., Pérez-González, A. (2011): Hydrological response of a dryland ephemeral river to southern African climatic variability during the last millennium. Quaternary Research, 75(3): 471-482.
  • Benito,G., Botero, B. A., Thorndycraft, V.R., Rico, M., Sánchez-Moya, Y., Sopeña, A., Machado, M.J., Dahan, O. (2011): Rainfall-runoff modelling and palaeoflood hydrology applied to reconstruct centennial scale records of flooding and aquifer recharge in ungauged ephemeral rivers. Hydrol. Earth Sys. Sci., 15(4): 1185-1196.
  • Thorndycraft, V., Benito, G., Sánchez-Moya, Y., Sopeña, A. (2012): Bayesian age modelling applied to palaeoflood geochronologies and the investigation of Holocene flood magnitude and frequency. The Holocene. 22(1): 3-11.
  • García-Lasanta, C.; Oliva-Urcia, B.; Román-Berdiel, T.; Gil-Peña, I.; Y.; Sopeña, A. (2013): Fábricas magnéticas controladas tectónicamente en el Triásico de la Cuenca ibérica. Gegaceta, 53: 53-56.
  • Bussi, G., Rodríguez-Lloveras,X., Francés, F., Benito, G., Sánchez-Moya, Y., Sopeña, A. (2013): Sediment yield model implementation based on check dam infill stratigraphy in a semiarid Mediterranean catchment. Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 17: 3339-3354, doi:10.5194/hess-17-3339-2013, 2013.
  • Sánchez-Moya Y, Sopeña A (2015): Aprendiendo a leer en las estratificaciones cruzadas. Learning to read cross‐bedding. Enseñanza de las Ciencias de la Tierra 23(2): 146-157.
  • García-Lasanta,C.; Oliva-Urcia,B.; Román-Berdiel,T.; Casas,AM.; Gil-Peña,I.; Sánchez-Moya,Y.; Sopeña,A.;Hirt,A.M; Mattei,M. (2015): Evidence for the Permo-Triassic transtensional rifting in the Iberian Range (NE Spain) according to magnetic fabrics results. Tectonophysics. 651–652: 216–231.
  • Sánchez-Moya,Y., Muñoz, A., De Vicente, G., Sopeña, A. (2015): Las cuencas del Pérmico y Triásico en la zona de enlace entre el Sistema central y la Cordillera Ibérica. Reduca (Geología). Serie Itinerarios Didácticos. 7(2):1-27. ISSN:1989-6557 http://www.revistareduca.es/index.php/reduca-geologia/article/viewFile/1874/1882
  • Díez-Herrero, A., Sopeña, A., Sánchez-Moya, Y., Benito, G.; Álvarez-Alonso, D., Andrés-Herrero, M. de; Rojo, J., Hernández, M.; Sánchez-Torralbo, S. (2016). Actuaciones para la conservación y estudio de los depósitos de paleoinundaciones en el yacimiento arqueológico musteriense del Abrigo del Molino (Segovia). En: Comprendiendo el relieve: del pasado al futuro (Juan José Durán Valsero,et al., eds.). Madrid: IGME, p. 1987-194.
  • Benito, G., Rico, M. T.; Sánchez-Moya, Y., Sopeña, A., Thorndycraft, V., Díez-Herrero, A., Perucha, M. A. (2016). Registro de paleoinundaciones en el desfiladero de los Gaitanes y su implicación en la evaluación de la seguridad de las presas del alto Guadalhorce (Málaga). En: Comprendiendo el relieve: del pasado al futuro (Juan José Durán Valsero,et al., eds.). Madrid: IGME, p. 291-298.
  • Sánchez-Moya Y., Herrero M.J., Sopeña A. (2016): Strontium isotopes and sedimentology of a marine succesion (upper Ladinian) of the westernmost Tethys, Spain. Journal of Iberian Geology, 42 (2): 171-186. http://revistas.ucm.es/index.php/JIGE/article/view/51642/49372

Research Grant ( Last Years)

  • “Systematic, Palaeoflood and Historical data for the improvement of flood Risk Estimation”, Project SPHERE. Contract nº EVG1-1999-00039. European Unión. Fifth Frammework Programme January 2000-January 2003. Leader IGE-CSIC, Dr. A. Sopeña. European Leader Dr. G. Benito. (CSIC).
  • "Floods frequency and extend analysis of the Segura and Júcar rivers Basin”. Project HID99-0858. CICYT, Water Resources National Program.January 2000-December 2002. Leader: Dr. G. Benito (CSIC).
  • “Climatic, tectonic and/or eustatism controlling fluvial sequences of the western Triassic Tethys" (CLIMATES). BTE2001-0568. Spanish DGI-MCYT.October 2001-November 2004. Leader: Dr. A. Sopeña (CSIC).
  • “Incorporation of palaeoflood and historical flood data in the calculation of dam safety (PALEOCAP), REN2001-1633/RIES.Spanish CICYT, Natural Resources Program. January-December 2005. Leader: Dr. G. Benito (CSIC).
  • “Floodwater Recharge of Alluvial Aquifers in Dryland Environments”. Project WADE. Contract nº. GOCE-CT-2003-506680-WADE. European Union. Sixth Frammework Programme (2002-2006). January 2004 June 2008. Workpackage Leader IGE: Dr. A. Sopeña. European Leader: Dr. G. Benito. (CSIC).
  • "Infiltration in alluvial river beds and groundwater recharge related to floods and palaeofloods in ephemeral rivers" (PALEOREC). GL2005-01977/HID. MEC- DGI. 2005-2008. Leader: Dr. G. Benito (CSIC).
  • "International Geoscience Correlation Programme (IGCP) nº 506 Marine and non-marine Jurassic: global correlation and major geological events. UNESCO and Others, January 2005- December 2009. Spanish Leader: Dr. Ana Márquez-Aliaga. (Valencia). Leader: Prof. Jingeng Sha (Nanjing, China).
  • "Sedimentation associated to the stage of maximum expansion Triassic rifting in the western margin of Tethys" (SEMIARID). CGL2006-01074. Spanish DGI-MEC. October 2006- September 2009. Leader: Dr. Alfonso Sopeña (CSIC).
  • "Flood hazards in Mediterranean rivers in the context of climate variability and environmental change" (FLOOD-MED). Spanish DGI-MEC. Earth Sciences (CGL-BTE) Water Resources Program (CGL-HID) CGL2008-06474-C02-01/BTE. January 2009- December 2011. Leader: Dr. Gerardo Benito (CSIC).
  • Impacto de la variabilidad climática y ambiental en la hidrología de las paleo-crecidas y los riesgos de avenidas en zonas mediterráneas. CLARIES. CGL2011-29176. Entidad financiadora: DGI-MCI. Ciencias de la Tierra. Duración: Enero 2012-diciembre 2014. Investigador Principal: Gerardo Benito (MNCN-CSIC).
  • Mejoras en la evaluación de la respuesta hidrológica y sedimentaria en cuencas mediterráneas frente al cambio climático y ambiental. CGL2014-58127-C3-1-R. Duración: 2015- diciembre 2015-2017. Investigador Principal: Gerardo Benito (CCMA-CSIC).