Abstract

The Ainsa Basin (south-central Pyrenees) is an exceptional example of a syntectonic foreland basin where structures oblique to the Pyrenean trend are well preserved. The absence of a complete chronostratigraphic frame motivated us to perform a detailed magnetostratigraphic study in the Ainsa Basin, including the shallow-marine–continental transition. Three sections covering almost the entire Eocene sedimentary fill were sampled (Ara, Coscollar, and Mondot), covering 2450 m of the sedimentary pile, with more than 1000 demagnetized specimens (sample spacing of 2.7 m). Data from previous magnetostratigraphic studies (Eripol section) allow us to complete the Eocene record with an 840-m-long profile within the Bartonian–Priabonian interval overlying the sampled sequence. Characteristic remanent magnetization (ChRM) directions were effectively isolated between 300 and 500 °C. Magnetite is the main magnetic carrier, with variable iron sulfide content and occasional hematite. Fold tests indicate a prefolding magnetization. Biostratigraphy based on shallow benthic foraminifera (15 localities) and a locality with abundant charophyte gyrogonites help to constrain the local magnetostratigraphic record (20 reversals) between the early Ilerdian and the middle Priabonian. A global correlation based on a magnetostratigraphic composite section derived from this work allows us to propose a complete chronostratigraphic frame for the Ainsa Basin infill between 55 and 45 Ma. Accumulation rates range from 2 to 53 cm/k.y., responding to retrogradational to progradational features during the early Lutetian, and a progressive increase from the middle Lutetian onward related to overall continentalization of the basin. Westward migration of subsidence is associated with progressively younger synsedimentary structures nucleating westward of the older ones in the South Pyrenean Basin.

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