Geosecrets of Madrid

When: Wednesday 8 June from 10:30 to 12:30 CEST
Where: EAGE Dome and Online


A Special Session by EAGE Local Chapter Madrid

A very special session awaits you at the EAGE Annual this year. With the opportunity of hosting the event in the Spanish capital, our EAGE Local Chapter Madrid will have the pleasure of introducing you to some of the hidden gems of the city’s rich historical and geological landscape, followed by some excellent networking time.

An underground world with a large network of water galleries, an awesome geological museum inside a historical building, one of
Spain’s basins with the most favourable geothermal potential, and an exceptionally rich paleontological site are some of the ‘geosecrets’ of Madrid, which will be revealed by local experts. If you are attending the event in person,  you may want to add some of the geosecrets to your itinerary while you are in Madrid!

All delegates are welcome to attend this session at the EAGE Dome or online.

An Underground World with a Large Network of Water Galleries

Pedro Martínez-Santos, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

The subsurface of Madrid City is crossed by hundreds of kilometers of a network of hidden galleries aimed to drain and collect water from an underground siliciclastic aquifer, and bring it to surface flowing at artificial sources. The galleries are popularly known as ‘Viajes de agua’ (water ways). This resourceful system was designed and constructed by the Arabs in the 9th century to supply water to a small village, by then named Magerit (or Mayrit), the precursor of Madrid City and origin of the current city name. More than 100 km of water galleries are estimated to remain under the asphalt of Madrid, which were in operation until the end of the 19th century, some until the early 20th. Many galleries collapsed when excavating for the foundations of new buildings, destroyed by the infrastructure works or simply flooded. Now, some galleries are open to public and can be visited.

Since the mid-19th century, the ‘Canal de Isabel II’ public company is Madrid’s main supplier of drinking water from reservoirs in the granitic highs of Sierra de Guadarrama, located North of Madrid, and provides some of the best quality tap water in the world, what makes a real nonsense to drink bottled mineral water in Madrid!

Geosecrets of Madrid 1

An awesome geological museum inside a historical building

Silvia Menéndez Carrasco, Instituto Geológico y Minero de España

The Geominero Museum is housed in the headquarters building of the Spanish Geology and Mining Institute in Madrid, in a large and breathtaking hall with a stained glass roof.
The venue was initially constructed to hold the International Geological Congress in 1926
and was reconverted into a museum the following year.

The museum aims to promote the wealth and diversity of geological and mining heritage. It exhibits a collection of minerals, rocks and fossils from all over Spain and its former
colonies, as well as pieces from sites elsewhere in the world. A large part of the collection
is the result of work by outstanding national and international characters in geology and
mining. The exhibition includes collections of mineral systematics, mineral resources,
flora and fossilized invertebrates and vertebrates.
It is worth a visit even just to the experience the venue itself, and top it off entrance is

Geosecrets of Madrid 2

The High Geothermal Potential of the Madrid Basin

Alfonso Muñoz Martín, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Antonio Olaiz Campos, Repsol

The Madrid Basin is an intracratonic continental basin that was filled up mainly by alluvial, fluvial, evaporitic and non-evaporitic lacustrine deposits of Cenozoic age. The sedimentary rocks that infilled the basin exhibits a broad range of lithologies: sandstones, clays, marls, gypsums, conglomerates and lacustrine limestones.

Based on available geophysical and deep drilling data from hydrocarbon and geothermal
exploration wells, the geothermal potential of the Madrid Basin has been assessed to a depth of 5000 m, resulting in one of the most favorable geothermal environments identified to date in Spain, as evidenced by deep wells, which recorded higher than normal temperatures (e.g.: 150°C at 3.400 m below surface). Studies conclude that the Madrid Basin holds recoverable geothermal potential for shallow, medium-depth, deep and ultra-deep seated geothermal environments.

Geosecrets of Madrid 3

An Exceptionally Rich Fossil Vertebrate Site

Patricia Carro Rodríguez, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

The fossil vertebrate deposits of Cerro de los Batallones (Torrejón de Velasco, Madrid)
constitute one of the most outstanding discoveries in paleontology, similar to other world famous paleontological localities, such as Ediacara (Australia), Burgess Shale (Canada), La Brea Tar Pits (California) or Solnhofen (Germany).

The Cerro de los Batallones holds an exceptionally abundance of fossil remains, varied and well-preserved vertebrate fauna of Late Miocene Age. Numerous remains of carnivore and herbivore species have been found. It is famous for the abundant fossils of saber-toothed tigers, felids, mustelids, rhinos, equines, giraffes, antelopes and many small mammals.

The site presents a high concentration of bones with little or no displacement, which causes numerous articulated elements with anatomical connection, presence of all skeletal parts of individuals, including the skull. The origin of this exceptional paleontological site is related to the existence of a system of cavities that acted as natural traps, where numerous vertebrates that populated the area 9-10 million years ago were trapped. It is an exceptional window into the past, a unique setting to learn about a small portion of geological time, life and the environment from millions of years ago.

Since December 2021, a good collection of fossils from this exceptional paleontological
site are permanently exposed in the ‘Museo Arqueológico y Paleontológico Regional’ in
Alcalá de Henares (Madrid).

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About Local Chapter Madrid

LC Madrid was established in 2017 and is one of 33 EAGE Local Chapters collaborating with the Association worldwide. Our Local Chapters are groups of volunteers supporting the mission of EAGE in their local community, contributing to sharing knowledge and promoting the continuous professional development of members.

In 2020 LC Madrid climbed to the title of “Best EAGE Local Chapter of the Year” and we couldn’t hope for a more inspiring guide to Madrid’s rich historical and geological landscape!

LC Madrid