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Title

Salt Tectonics and Basement Fractures: Key Controls of Recent Sediment Distribution on the Balearic Rise, Western Mediterranean

AuthorsKelling, Gilbert; Maldonado, Andrés ; Stanley, Daniel Jean
Issue Date1979
PublisherSmithsonian Institution
CitationSmithsonian contributions to the marine sciences 3: 1-52 (1979)
AbstractThe Balearic Rise is a morphologically and structurally complex feature on the southern margin of the Balearic Platform, in the western Mediterranean. Originating as a foundered block in Late Miocene time, the rise has acquired a sedimentologically diverse cover of Plio-Quaternary sediments. A study by means of high-resolution reflection profiling (3.5 kHz) and gravity/piston cores emphasizes the effects of a variety of sedimentary processes and of structural controls in the genesis of these Plio-Quaternary sequences. During this geologically recent time interval the Menorca Canyon-Valley-Fan system has exerted an important influence on the sedimentary development of this marginal feature.On the basis of the 3.5kHz profiles, eight categories of acoustic response of the seafloor and shallow subbottom sediments have been defined and can be linked to distinctive sub-environments of the rise that are characterized by specific sedimentary and structural attributes. Abrupt variations in thickness of the Plio-Quaternary sequence attest to the continuing activity of faulting, which has generated a horst-and-graben morphology across most of the rise. More continuous subsidence is evident below the Menorca Fan but even here subrecent fracturing, accompanied by salt-diapirism, has produced a physiographic and sedimentologic complexity which differs significantly from most of the currently accepted submarine fan models.The cored sediments fall into five main types: bioclastic (and terrigenous) sand, silt, turbidite mud, hemipelagic mud, and calcareous ooze. Combinations of these sediment types form three principal associations or sequences: channel sands, turbiditic sequences, and hemipelagic sequences. Four distinct core assemblages are also recognized, on the basis of predominant sediment type and sequence: channel sand assemblage, proximal turbiditic/hemipelagic assemblage, hemipelagic/turbiditic mud assemblage, and basin plain assemblage.Radiocarbon dating of core samples yields average sedimentation rates of 6 to 7 cm per thousand years, the highest rates being encountered on the Balearic Basin plain and in the main Menorca Fan channel while the lowest rates occur in the hemipelagic muds of the elevated regions of the rise. Most of the thick channel sands were deposited between 23,000 and 16,000 years BP, during the last major lowering of sea level.The Menorca Fan differs significantly in physiography and sediment distribution from most other modern submarine fans, mainly because of the reduced importance of overbank flow and channel migration, which results from the activity of shallow fractures and the blocking effects of salt-diapirs, together with the exceptionally coarse grade of material supplied to the fan
Description52 pages, 19 figures, 7 tables, appendix
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.5479/si.01960768.3
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/181282
Identifiersdoi: 10.5479/si.01960768.3
issn: 0196-0768
e-issn: 1943-667X
Appears in Collections:(Geo3Bcn) Artículos
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