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Detailed analysis of a sedimentary sequence of the Lorca basin (Upper Miocene, southeast Spain), employing stratigraphy, sedimentary petrology, paleontology and organic geochemistry, permitted the establishment of sediment-biomarker relationships of deposits formed under highly variable conditions. The conditions of sedimentation in this sequence range from open marine to strongly hypersaline (both marine and non-marine), as well as a number of marked variations in circulation, water-body chemistry and salinity. Most of the sectíon formed under marine conditions, but the upper part of the sequence is the product of increasingly non-marine waters, suggesting that the basin sporadically may have become a non-marine, hypersaline lake. Sedimentologically, many details of water circulation and the increasing amount of non-marine input are not particularly apparent, but the distribution of n-alkanes and isoprenoids permit these changes to be evaluated in a more convincing fashion.

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