Abstract

The outcrops of the Sierra de Albarracín (NE Spain) allow a precise reconstruction of the shallow sedimentary domains of a late Kimmeridgian carbonate ramp, developed in western marginal areas of the Iberian Basin. The sedimentary record shows a hierarchical sequence stratigraphic organization, which implies sea-level changes of different frequencies. The studied succession is arranged in a long-term transgressive–regressive sequence, which is likely to reflect local variation in the subsidence rates. This sequence includes four higher-order sequences A to D, which have variable thickness (from 3 to 21 m). The similar sedimentary evolution observed in distant localities suggests the existence of high-frequency sea-level fluctuations controlling the sequence development. The average amplitude of these cycles would range from 5 to 10 m. The precise estimation of their duration (some few hundreds of kyr) and their possible assignment to any of the long-term orbital cycles (the 100 or the 400 kyr eccentricity cycles) is uncertain. Sequences A and B, formed during the long-term transgressive interval, are relatively thin (from 3 to 9 m) give-up sequences that were never subaerially exposed. These sequences are locally formed by five shallowing-upward elementary sequences. Sequences C and D are catch-down sequences with evidence of emersion of subtidal facies. Sequence C, formed during the stage of maximum gain of long-term accommodation, is the thickest sequence (from 13 to 21 m) and includes coral–microbial reefs (pinnacles up to 16 m in height). The increased production rates were able to fill part of the accommodation created during the early stage of high-frequency sea-level rise and the shallow platform was eventually exposed to subaereal erosion and meteoric cementation.

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