Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

High-frequency carbonate-siliciclastic cycles in the Miocene of the Lorca BASIN (Western Mediterranean, SE Spain)

Camila Thrana, Michael R. Talbot


The upper Miocene Parilla Formation, Lorca Basin, Spain, provides an example of stacked high-frequency cycles of mixed carbonates and siliciclastics. Cycles developed on a steep carbonate ramp bordering an alluvialfan system. Three cycle variants are distinguished: siliciclastic-dominated cycles at the proximal part of the ramp, mid-ramp mixed carbonate – siliciclastic cycles, and carbonate-dominated cycles on the more distal parts of the ramp. The vertical thickness of these stacked simple sequences ranges from 0.7 up to 8 m. High-frequency changes in relative sea level resulted in a dynamic interplay between terrigenous sediment supply and carbonate production rates. During falling stage and lowstands, the alluvial system migrated basinwards and coarse-grained siliciclastics were deposited, whereas rising sea level and highstands provided optimal conditions for the production and accumulation of biogenic carbonates. Coral colonies up to 4 m thick provide a minimum measure of the magnitude of sea-level change involved in the development of the cycles. In contrast to previously documented simple carbonate sequences, this hybrid system of carbonates and siliciclastics preserves a more complete record of cyclic sea-level change, where terrigenous sediment supply compensated for the reduction in carbonate production during periods of falling and low sea level.

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