Abstract

High-quality images provided by 3D seismic surveys have transformed the interpretations of salt geometries in passive margins. Complementary field studies are needed to expand the ideas derived from seismic image interpretation. The Cotiella Basin exposes middle Coniacian–early Santonian basins developed by post-rift gravity-driven extension and passive diapirism in the proto-Atlantic Ocean. Salt-related sedimentary and structural features were preserved during the subsequent Pyrenean Orogeny, but the diapirs were squeezed to such a degree that they were completely destroyed. As a result, their influence on the development of the Cotiella Basin remains unclear. This paper presents a 3D geometric reconstruction of the extensional faults, the stratigraphic surfaces and the associated salt structures with the main objective of discussing the role of extension versus salt withdrawal. Our results indicate that the main Cotiella Basin was dominated by extensional faulting combined with along-strike salt migration, whereas the smaller Armeña, Mediodía and Seira basins were mainly dominated by salt withdrawal, involving the growth of passive diapirs, salt pillows and transfer faults. This is relevant because the described structures constitute an almost unique example to study in outcrop the structural style and kinematics of structures usually found offshore.

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