Abstract

The sedimentary architecture of basins and passive margins is determined by a complex interaction of parameters, including subsidence, eustasy, and sediment supply. A quantification of the post-rift (20 Ma-0 Ma) vertical movements of the Gulf of Lion (West Mediterranean) is proposed here based on the stratigraphic study of sedimentary paleomarkers using a large 3D grid of reflection seismic data, correlations with existing drillings, and refraction data. Post-rift subsidence was measured by the direct use of sedimentary geometries analysed in 3D and validated by numerical stratigraphic modelling. Three domains of subsidence were found: on the continental shelf and slope, subsidence corresponds to a seaward tilting with different amplitudes, whereas the deep basin subsides purely vertically. We show that these domains fit with the deeper crustal domains highlighted by previous geophysical data, and that post-break-up subsidence follows the initial hinge lines of the rifting phase. Subsidence rates are quantified on each domain for each stratigraphic interval. At a constant distance from the rotational hinge line, the Plio-Quaternary subsidence rate is constant on the shelf overall. Conversely, Miocene subsidence rates are very different on the eastern and western shelves. Stratigraphic simulations focused on the Messinian salinity crisis (MSC) were also performed. Their results are discussed together with our post-rift subsidence estimates in order to provide ideas and hypotheses for future detailed quantifications of Miocene subsidence, including isostatic readjustments linked to the MSC.

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