Abstract

The Maestrat basin was one of the most subsident basins of the Mesozoic Iberian Rift system, developed by a normal fault system which divided it into sub-basins. Its Cenozoic inversion generated the N-verging Portalrubio–Vandellòs fold-and-thrust belt in its northern margin, detached in the Triassic evaporites. In the hinterland, a 40 km wide uplifted area, in the N–S direction, developed, bounded to the N by the E–W-trending, N-verging Calders monocline. This monocline is interpreted as a fault-bend fold over the ramp to flat transition of the E–W-trending, N-verging Maestrat Basement Thrust, and also indicates the transition from a thick-skinned (S) to a thin-skinned (N) style of deformation. This paper presents a kinematic evolutionary model for the northern margin of the basin and a reconstruction of the Maestrat Basement Thrust geometry, generated by the inversion of the Mesozoic normal fault system. It contains a low-dip ramp (9°) extended southwards more than 40 km, attaining a depth of 7.5 km. As this thrust reached the Mesozoic cover to the foreland, it propagated across the Middle Muschelkalk evaporitic detachment, generating a nearly horizontal thrust which transported northwards the supra-salt cover, and the normal fault segments within it, for c. 11–13 km. The displacement of the basement in the hanging-wall of the low-dip basement ramp generated the 40 km wide uplifted area, while the superficial shortening was accumulated in the northern margin of the basin – which contains the thinnest Mesozoic cover – developing the Portalrubio–Vandellòs fold-and-thrust belt.

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