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Pere Renom

“We have given you, O Adam, no visage proper to yourself, nor endowment properly your own, in order that whatever place, whatever form, whatever gifts you may, with premeditation, select, these same you may have and possess through your own judgement and decision […] We have made you a creature neither of heaven nor of earth, neither mortal nor immortal as the free and proud shaper of your own being, fashion yourself in the form you may prefer.”
Oration on the Dignity of Man – Giovanni Pico della Mirandola

The evolution of the Ebro Delta

published on 22.01.2020

The Ebro Delta is an example of a dynamic ecosystem. The river contributes the sediment and the sea and the wind redistribute it. It is said that it began to form in the time of the Romans due to deforestation, but in fact it already existed millions of years ago, although the strong fluctuations in sea level during the Quaternary period determined that the ancient delta is currently one hundred meters deep. In historical times its shape has changed a lot and we know the approximate evolution from geological, historical, and since the 16th century, also cartographic evidence. However, despite continuous evolution, it has always retained an arrowhead shape, similar to the Greek letter delta (Δ) which is why deltas receive this name.
The storm “Gloria”, which hit the Iberian peninsula at the end of January, had a strong impact on the delta, as torrential precipitation and a rise in sea level coincided, due to low pressures (barometric tide) and accumulation from the waves pushed by the strong wind. As a result, most of the delta plain was flooded, the Trabucador bar broke, and the sea penetrated hundreds of meters inland. This natural disturbance occurs periodically, and the ecosystem will eventually recover. Unfortunately, the delta is threatened due to the fact that the Ebro river contains about 200 dams and a reservoir that retain 99.9% of the sediment, so that the delta cannot grow either by the tip, and compensate for marine erosion or thickness, and offset the subsidence. It is added, in addition, the fact that the so characteristic rice fields, were planted at the end of the 19th century, and require the continuous contribution of fresh water through an extensive network of channels and ditches, which keep the plants semi-submerged and wash the soil saline.
Humans deeply transform the landscape and are surprised when nature restores balance. Swimming against the current sometimes means being dragged.

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