The area is located in the Cordoba province, SW Spain, in the Martin Gonzalo headwater catchment (latitude 38,12’ N, longitude 4,17’ W), with an altitude between 660 and 740 meters above sea level. This catchment is part of the Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro Natural Park, located in the Sierra Morena, which separates the Spanish Central Plateau and the Betic Depression. The edge of the plateau is fractured and lifted by Alpine thrust forces on the Hercynian base of the plateau. The parent material in the area consists of plutonic rock, porphyritic microadamellite (Geological and Mining Institute of Spain, 2013) and belongs to the Los Pedroches Batholith (Geological and Mining Institute of Spain, 2013). Soil types are Regosols, Leptosols and Cambisols with Rankers under the FAO-Unesco World Reference Base (IUSS Working Group WRB, 2007). The prevailing soil texture in the area is sandy to sandy loam, with observed soil depths between 0,44-1,10 m.
The Mediterranean climate of this area is characterized by dry summers and abundant autumn and spring rainfall with a total mean annual precipitation of 596 mm. Winters are generally mild, with a mean annual temperature of 14.9 ºC. This has led to the development of a typical Mediterranean vegetation of an oak savanna, which is currently used for extensive grazing.
At the site, we monitor soil formation and spatial variability of soil properties (both by direct sampling as through geophysical methods) detailed chemical weathering profiles, hydrology and surface-energy interactions.