Abstract

The Rock of Gibraltar comprises two tectonically separated limbs of an isolated klippe of Liassic Gibraltar Limestone Formation. Both limbs have similar, c. 400 m thick sequences of inner carbonate platform facies arranged in high‐frequency, metre‐scale, shallowing‐upward, peritidal cycles with emergent, caliche caps. Four cycle types are recognized on the basis of vertically repeated successions of different sedimentary structures, lithologies, facies and biota. When compared with other Liassic cycles from fault‐bound platforms of the western Mediterranean region all are found to be of similar scale, facies and cycle type. Likely common origins are through Milankovitch band allocyclicity, or autocyclic tidal flat progradation superimposed on regional subsidence.

Within the Gibraltar Limestone high‐frequency cycles are superimposed on a low‐frequency (third order?) cyclicity that is revealed, through the use of Fischer plots, to control the occurrrence of facies, biota, high‐frequency cycle types and dolomitization. Falling sea‐level and lowstand phases, with reduced accommodation space, are typified by restricted, inner platform facies and cycles and by early reflux dolomitization. Transgressive and highstand phases, with more accommodation space, are characterized by the absence of early dolomites, the incoming of inner platform microfossils (i.e. foraminifera and calcareous algae) and by less restricted marine facies (i.e. oncoids, shelly rudstones, packstones and grainstones).

Fischer plots have demonstrable value in the correlation and analysis of tectonically separated and geographically isolated cyclic sequences that lack prominent marker beds or stratigraphically useful biotas.

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