Abstract

Pliocene-Pleistocene marine deposits overlying Messinian evaporites off northeast Spain are composed of five distinct seismic facies. These facies are interpreted to represent deposition in five adjacent settings: distal (isolated) basin, basin plain, base of slope,slope, and shelf. Contrary to previous studies, a submarine-fan style of deposition is not evident. Distal-basin deposits are characterized by thin, wavy, parallel beds draping the sea floor. Basin-plain deposits are similar but also have flat-lying beds and some low-relief channels. Base-of-slope deposits are dominated by stacked, overlapping, elongate channel/levee deposits that have concave-upward bases and convex-upward tops. Slope sequences are thick accumulations of overbank deposits laterally interrupted by large upward-climbing canyon fill. The shelf component is composed of overlapping and stacked delta lobes.

The composite sediment body is a prograded, upward-shallowing, offlap sequence initiated and controlled by the influx of terrigenous sediment from the Rio Ebro during the Pleistocene. This style of deposition is common in the rock record, and our model may be more appropriate as a modern analogue for some rocks than are conventional shelf-canyon-fan models of margin sedimentation.

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