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Abstract

Latest Albian to late Maastrichtian sedimentary deposits on the Castilian ramp (northern Spain) contain a great diversity of facies punctuated by numerous biosedimentary discontinuities that reveal many paleoenvironmental changes and provide a precise record of stratigraphic cycles. These deposits represent a transgressive-regressive depositional megacycle (i.e., a very long-term cycle, 34 my). This late Cretaceous megacycle is subdivided into four long-term (4–20 my) transgressive-regressive depositional cycles: (1) latest Albian to middle Cenomanian cycle, (2) late Cenomanian to earliest Coniacian cycle, (3) early/middle Coniacian to late Santonian cycle and (4) latest Santonian to late Maastrichtian cycle. These long-term cycles are made up of 13 well-characterized short-term transgressive-regressive depositional cycles, plus other cycles of shorter duration. Most of the cycles recognized correlate with those defined from the series of the steeper, distal part of the ramp and from the outer series of the deep basque Basin. The megacycle and the long- and short-term cycles were largely the result of the tectonic behavior of the Basque-Cantabrian passive margin and were closely controlled by the evolution of the bay of Biscay in conjunction with the relative movements of the Iberian and European plates.

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