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Contourite sedimentation in the Alboran Sea during the Pliocene and Quaternary

AuthorsJuan, Carmen ; Ercilla, Gemma ; Estrada, Ferran ; Casas, David ; Alonso, Belén ; García, Marga ; Farran, Marcel-lí
Issue Date28-Jan-2013
CitationDialogue Between Contourite and Oceanography processes International Workshop: 32-33 (2013)
AbstractThis work provides new insights on the Pliocene & Quaternary seismic stratigraphy in the Alboran Sea from the analyses of single- and multi-channel seismic profiles. Although previous seismic stratigraphic studies were carried out, mostly in the Spanish margin, the addition of new boundaries (Lower Pliocene Revolution -LPR-, Base of Quaternary Discontinuity -BQD- and Middle Pleistocene Revolution -MPR-) to the previous ones (Messinian Erosive surface -M-, Top Lower Pliocene -P1-, Top Gelasian -P2-, Top Lower Quaternary -Q1-) and the accurate cartography of the different sedimentary systems for each stratigraphic division in both, the Spanish and Moroccan margins, as well as adjacent basins, provide a new stratigraphic architecture and new evolutive models for Pliocene & Quaternary times. The stratigraphic architecture of the Alboran Basin below the shelf break, is mostly made of the stacking of contourite deposits and locally of turbidite fans and mass-transport deposits, all separated by erosive boundaries, that led to the outbuilding of the margins and infilling of the basins. Contourites have resulted from the activity of the Mediterranean Waters outflowing toward the Gibraltar Strait and the collateral influence of the incoming surficial Atlantic Water. The spatial and temporal evolution of contourites as well as changes in their morphology and type suggest at least two major building stages during the Pliocene and another two during the Quaternary; they also invoke the action of less dense and high dense Mediterranean waters since the beginning of the Pliocene, just after the Zanclean flooding. These evolutionary stages reflect variability in the bottom-current regimes and related along-slope efficiency in transport, deposition and erosion. This variability has been controlled by major changes in climate and related sea-level changes, local topography related to tectonic regime and sediment availability. On the other hand, the paleoceanographic reconstruction has allowed inferring the ancient pathway of the Mediterranean water masses and suggest two circulation models: the first corresponding to the Quaternary, being similar to the present day, and the second one corresponding to the Pliocene, when a stronger countercurrent eroded the Spanish base of slope. This contribution represents both a good example of decoding contourite processes related to the action of ancient water masses circulation based on the sedimentary record and the interplay between down- and along-slope processes
DescriptionJuan, Carmen ... et al.-- Dialogue Between Contourite and Oceanography processes International Workshop, University of Hull, 28-26 January 2013, University of Hull, UK
Appears in Collections:(IACT) Comunicaciones congresos
(ICM) Comunicaciones congresos
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