Since its inception in early Pliocene time, the deep Mediterranean outflow has eroded and sculptured the southern Iberian margin. The 50-km-long, 300-m-thick Faro Drift, constructed by this powerful bottom current, has been the subject of detailed study. Sandy, silty, and muddy contourite facies can be clearly characterized, and a distinctive vertical arrangement or “sequence” of these facies can be related to hydrodynamic fluctuation. These results are important for the identification of ancient contourites, the reconstruction of paleocirculation patterns, and documentation of the effects of Quaternary climates on the Mediterranean outflow.

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