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Villalba Baja travertine: An example of Pleistocene spring deposit from Teruel Basin (Spain)

AuthorsRodríguez-Berriguete, Álvaro ; Alonso-Zarza, Ana María ; Martín-Pérez, Andrea; Martín-García, Rebeca ; Camuera, J.
Issue DateJun-2015
PublisherInternational Association of Sedimentologists
CitationAbstract Book of 31st IAS Meeting of Sedimentology, 22-25 June, 2015, Kraków, Poland, p. 447.
AbstractTeruel Basin is a half-graben developed over a Mesozoic substrate in the East of Iberian Peninsula and filled with continental Miocene to Holocene sedimentation. Clastic alluvial deposits passing to palustrine and lacustrine limestones and gypsum are the typical Cenozoic lithologies, whereas the hinterland is constituted by Mesozoic rocks (mostly carbonates and evaporites). These lithologies are entrenched by Alfambra River which during the Quaternary formed a series of fluvial terraces. Villalba Baja travertine is placed on a semicircular hill overlying Miocene lacustrine deposits. These travertines are being quarried as building stone. The quarrying activity destroyed the main deposits, but also exposed fractures filled with travertine. Two main groups of facies have been defined: subaerial travertine facies and internal facies. Subaerial facies include constructive facies (travertine s.s.) and surficial incrustations of Miocene limestones. Travertine consists of (i) charophyte mounds encrusted by coarse crystalline calcite, (ii) laminar bodies with wavy morphology adapted to their substrate, and (iii) massive irregular bodies. Subaerial incrustations formed on Miocene limestones exposed along the hill slope (downslope from travertine deposits). Cementation and incrustation produced lobulated bodies in downstream direction with higher topographic expression than unmodified Miocene limestones. Internal facies modified the original Miocene substrates which are composed of: (i) laminar micrites consisting on banded mudstones, packstones with ostracods and bivalve fragments, and microsparite laminae; (ii) massive micrite with clotted fabric consisting on mudstones with not biological remains and wackstone-packstones with ostracods, charophytes, bivalves, gastropods and peloids. These rocks are fractured and modified (dissolved and then cemented, and even recrystallized) due to water circulation. Fractures are filled by coarse crystalline crusts. Villalba Baja travertines are related to extensional character of the basin. The formation of these deposits may be related to N-S trending faults that bound the basin, but also to near E-W trending faults intersecting those N-S faults. Deposition could have started on Middle to Upper Pleistocene as is suggested by their relationships with middle and upper terraces of the Alfambra River, in the later stages of fluvial incision. Observed facies formed in low flow energy which precipitated micrite from warm (20 oC to < 40 oC) waters as is suggested by biological content (mainly charophyte mounds). It is remarkable that most of the hard facies of the system are not constructive facies ss, but the modification of previous lithologies due to water circulation. A variety of biogenic and abiogenic processes interacted to form all these facies.
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