Abstract

The Nador lagoon is the largest one in Morocco and along the Mediterranean. It is located on the northeastern coast near the Rif chain (North Morocco), and it is surrounded by volcanic and sedimentary rocks of various lithofacies. The watershed has an area of about 2200 km2 and is drained by a dense river network. The lagoon dimension is of 115 km2 (25 x 7.5 km) with a depth not exceeding 8 m. The island barrier is 25 km in length and 350 m in average width.

The carbonate fraction is the dominant component of the present-day sedimentation in the Nador lagoon. It represents 13 to 48 % of total sediments. Its distribution within the lagoon reflects the nature of marine and continental watershed.

The carbonate fraction is composed, in decreasing order of importance, of calcite, magnesium calcite, dolomite and aragonite. The Sr isotopic signatures of lagoonal carbonates sediments show that they are dominated by marine biogenic sediments deposited, and by chemical precipitation. In addition, other carbonates of external origin and less radiogenic Sr isotopic are also present, coming from aerosols and ancient carbonates and transported by streams and rivers. From northwest to southeast, the Sr concentration of these lagoon carbonates increases, showing a slow renewal of waters in the southeastern zone because of its remoteness from communication with sea.

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