Abstract

The transition from the Cambrian to Ordovician in Morocco is known to be characterized by a frequent Furongian hiatus, restricted extension of the Tremadocian marine deposits, and frequent unconformities at the base of the transgressive upper Floian deposits. In the present work, we first highlight the occurrence of Fe- and mica-rich, red silty/sandy formations in the Central and Eastern High Atlas between the Middle Cambrian and Upper Floian sequences. In the Tislyt type-locality, a synsedimentary hemigraben structure is defined, within which the red beds show frequent slump folds, debris flows and internal unconformities. The correlation with several coeval series of the Meseta domain allows us to define a shallow marine, ferruginous clastic Atlas-Meseta Red Beds (AMRB) basin during the Tremadocian-early Floian. The AMRB basin extended between the Meseta coastal block and the Anti-Atlas domain, being limited by the fault zones that became the West Meseta shear zone and the South Meseta fault, respectively, in the Variscan orogen. The AMRB basin compares with the coeval rifted basins of the central Iberian and Armorican massifs. The red beds were likely sourced from the east, from both the Precambrian basement and Early Ordovician magmatic rocks, contrary to the Ordovician deposits of the Sahara platform sourced from the south. Subsidence of the AMRB and central Iberian-Armorican basins of the NW-Gondwana border aborted during the Floian, whereas the opening of the Rheic ocean went on more to the west.

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