|New constraints on the Messinian sealevel drawdown from 3D seismic data of the Ebro Margin, western Mediterranean
|Year of Publication
|Urgeles R, Camerlenghi A, Garcia-Castellanos D, De Mol B, Garcés M, Vergés J, Haslam I, Hardman M
|We present new 3D seismic and well data from the Ebro Margin, NW Mediterranean Sea, to shed new light on the processes that formed the Messinian Erosion Surfaces (MES) of the Valencia Trough (Mediterranean Sea). We combine these data with backstripping techniques to provide a minimum estimate of the Messinian sea level fall in the EBRO Margin, as well as coupled isostasy and river incision and transport modeling to offer new constraints on the evolution of the adjacent subaerial Ebro Basin. Four major seismic units are identified on the Cenozoic Ebro Margin, based on the seismic data, including two major prograding megasequences that are separated by a major unconfirmity: the MES. The 3D seismic data provide an unprecedented view of the MES and display characteristic features of subaerial incision, including a drainage network with tributaries of at least five different orders, terraces and meandering rivers. The Messinian landscape presents a characteristic stepped-like profile that allows the margin to be subdivided in three different regions roughly parallel to the coastline. No major tectonic control exists on the boundaries between these regions. The boundary between the two most distal regions marks the location of a relatively stable base level, and this is used in backstripping analysis to estimate the magnitude of sea level drop associated with the Messinian Salinity Crisis on the Ebro Margin. The MES on the Ebro Margin is dominated by a major fluvial system, that we identify here as the Messinian Ebro River. The 3D seismic data, onshore geology and modeling results indicate that the Ebro River drained the Ebro Basin well in advance of the Messinian. © 2010 The Authors. Basin Research © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd, European Association of Geoscientists & Engineers and International Association of Sedimentologists.