|Late Miocene sedimentary architecture of the Ebro Continental Margin (Western Mediterranean): implications to the Messinian Salinity Crisis
|Year of Publication
|Cameselle AL, Urgeles R, De Mol B, Camerlenghi A, Canning JC
|International Journal of Earth Sciences
|Ebro, Erosion, Mediterranean, Messinian, Miocene, Sea level
|The Messinian Salinity Crisis (MSC) resulted from a significant multi-phase drop and subsequent reflooding of the Mediterranean Sea from 5.96 to 5.33 Ma. Well-developed drainage networks, characterized by step-like profiles and abrasion platforms, are associated to this event. The Ebro Continental Margin (Western Mediterranean) presents an additional complexity since the capture of the drainage of the adjacent subaerial Ebro Basin took place sometime prior to the Messinian stage. Using 3D seismic reflection data, this work provides new insights into the origin of the step-like profile of the Messinian erosional surface (MES) and timing of the capture of the subaerial Ebro Basin. The results obtained indicate a sedimentary-active continental slope and delta progradation during Middle-Late Miocene, in a normal regressive context associated to a pre-Messinian proto-Ebro River. The mature development attained by the Messinian Ebro River network during the MSC corroborates that the capture of the Ebro Basin occurred prior to the MSC. The configuration of the clinoforms below the MES suggests that deltaic sediments of the Messinian Paleo-Ebro River deposited during the Tortonian and initial Messinian sea-level drawdown. The MES formed at the top of the Tortonian Highstand, where a fluvial network was deeply carved, and in the topset region of the Messinian Falling Stage Systems Tract, where minor erosion occurred. Fluvial deposits are outstandingly preserved on the main valleys of the MES. Therefore, the step-like profile of the MES was not created during Zanclean inundation, but during the latest stages of the main Messinian sea-level fall and lowstand. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.