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Abstract:

The Messinian Melilla carbonate platform is composed of five main sedimentary units, from bottom to top: 1) a retrograding marly and conglomeratic unit, 2) a complex conglomeratic then prograding/aggrading carbonate unit, 3) a prograding/aggrading reef-complex unit, 4) an aggrading siliciclastic unit and 5) an aggrading/retrograding siliciclastic and carbonate unit. The platform developed throughout high-frequency relative sea-level rises and Stillstands, and relative sea-level drops are of minor importance. The reef complex mainly contains Porites buildups that exhibit southward progradational geometries. At the base, the reef complex developed on a marine planation surface. The youngest reefs show aggradational geometries and are associated with oolitic deposits. Cross sections constructed by removing late Messinian tectonics and compaction suggest that there was no significant relative fall in sea level during both platform and coral reef development, except at the end of the platform development.

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