The Catalan margin during the Messinian Salinity Crisis: Physiography, morphology and sedimentary record

Type Article
Date 2011-06
Language English
Author(s) Garcia Marga2, Maillard Agnès1, Aslanian DanielORCID1, 3, Rabineau MarinaORCID4, Alonso Belen5, 6, Gorini Christian4, Estrada Ferran
Affiliation(s) 1 : IFREMER, Dept Marine Geosci, F-29280 Plouzane, France
2 : Univ Toulouse, UPS SVT OMP, LMTG, F-31400 Toulouse, France
3 : UMR 6538 Domaines Ocean, F-29280 Plouzane, France
4 : Inst Ciencias Mar CSIC, Barcelona 08003, Spain
5 : UPMC Univ Paris 06, UMR 7193, ISTEP, F-75005 Paris, France
6 : CNRS, UMR 7193, ISTEP, F-75005 Paris, France
Source Marine Geology (0025-3227) (Elsevier Science Bv), 2011-06 , Vol. 284 , N. 1-4 , P. 158-174
DOI 10.1016/j.margeo.2011.03.017
WOS© Times Cited 32
Keyword(s) Valencia Basin, Catalan Margin, Messinian Salinity Crisis, Sea level, Drainage systems
Abstract The Messinian Salinity Crisis (MSC) drastically affected the physiography, morphology and sedimentation all along the Mediterranean area at the end of the Miocene. This paper presents an analysis of the effects of the MSC on the Catalan continental margin, based on a broad database of seismic reflection profiles from the oil industry and academy. We study the sedimentary processes and their controlling factors and the correlation with the nearby and well-known Gulf of Lions. Because of the complexity of the MSC, we define the Margin Erosion Surface/Top Erosion Surface (MES/TES) as the surface marking the end of the Messinian event, which allows differentiating three domains along the Catalan margin: the Creus, Girona and Barcelona domains, separated by the Palamos and Blanes canyons. The Creus domain shows an important structural control on the MES/TES physiography, while the Girona and Barcelona domains are characterized by wide and flat MSC platforms below the present-day shelf. The entire margin developed a series of complex drainage systems as the result of the Messinian sea level drop. The location of the main valleys (Cap de Creus paleo-drainage system, Palmas and Blanes paleo-canyons and the downslope-trending valleys on the Barcelona domain) was directly controlled by the structural framework. In contrast, the Barcelona paleo-drainage system and the tributaries of the Blanes and Palamos systems were excavated by direct subaerial erosion by meteoric rain in the basins limited by basement blocks, and were afterwards totally filled by the Pliocene-Quaternary sedimentation. Regarding the MSC depositional features, the major part of the eroded sediment was deposited as detrital deposits on the foot of the slope. The distribution of detrital bodies and evaporites was also structurally controlled. A Zanclean sea level rise occurring in at least two phases is confirmed by this study, in correlation with interpretations from the Gulf of Lions. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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