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A thick Oligocene succession of shallow-water carbonates exposed in southeast Spain provides an opportunity for studying the controls on platform and off-platform morphology and arrangement of facies successions, including compositional trends. The Oligocene platform of the Costa Blanca progressively onlaps a topographic high. It includes four high-frequency sequences that, together, show an overall upward-deepening trend and a vertical transition from cyclical inner-platform strata at the base to open-marine coralline algalmounded morphologies at the top. The margin is interpreted to have been a steep-sided and possibly faulted margin that shed coarsegrained platformal and older material into the basin. The five defined facies associations (restricted inner shelf, open-marine inner shelf, open-marine middle shelf, open-marine mounded outer shelf, and basin) consist chiefly of heterozoan biotic assemblages (red algae, benthic foraminifera, bryozoans, mollusks) that are in contrast to most other coral-dominated Oligocene strata of the Tethys.

Deposition of the Oligocene platform and basin strata occurred contemporaneously with the opening of the Valencia Trough, and postdated and predated contractional events that folded the area. Faulting and increased subsidence associated with this extensional tectonic setting governed the overall platform morphology, deepening-upward trend, and slope-basin sedimentary wedges. The tectonic setting allowed the accumulation of a thick stratigraphic succession and subsequent drowning; it also overprinted the effects of global sea-level fall. The opening of the Valencia Trough may have brought deeper, cooler, and possibly nutrient-rich waters onto the shelf, controlling the heterozoan biotic assemblage. The tectonic setting, biotic assemblages, and deepening-upward characteristics of this Tethyan platform make it a good analog for Cenozoic carbonates of Southeast Asia.

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