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Authors: Soria, J. M.* 
Caracuel, J. E.* 
Corbí, H.* 
Dinarès-Turell, J.* 
Lancis, C.* 
Tent-Manclús, J. E.* 
Viseras, C.* 
Yébenes, A.* 
Title: The Messinian–early Pliocene stratigraphic record in the southern Bajo Segura Basin (Betic Cordillera, Spain): Implications for the Mediterranean salinity crisis
Issue Date: 30-Jan-2008
Series/Report no.: 3-4 / 203 (2008)
DOI: 10.1016/j.sedgeo.2007.12.006
Keywords: Stratigraphy
Salinity crisis
Mediterranean region
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.04. Geology::04.04.08. Sediments: dating, processes, transport 
04. Solid Earth::04.04. Geology::04.04.10. Stratigraphy 
04. Solid Earth::04.05. Geomagnetism::04.05.06. Paleomagnetism 
04. Solid Earth::04.05. Geomagnetism::04.05.07. Rock magnetism 
Abstract: The analysis of the Messinian and Pliocene stratigraphy of the southern Bajo Segura Basin (Betic Cordillera, Spain) has revealed three highstand sedimentary phases (Messinian I, Messinian II, and Pliocene) bounded by two lowstand erosional surfaces (intra-Messinian and end-Messinian unconformities). The Messinian I highstand phase is characterized by the progradation of coastal and shallow marine sandstones (La Virgen Fm) over slope and pelagic-basin marls (Torremendo Fm). After this first phase, a fall in sea level brought about the intra-Messinian unconformity, a subaerial erosional surface with local accumulations of karstic breccias and caliche-like carbonate crusts. The Messinian II highstand phase is represented by sandy beaches and muddy lagoons (Garruchal Fm) correlative with shallow marine evaporites (San Miguel Fm); this second phase records the intra-Messinian reflooding of the basin, which characterizes the salinity crisis in the marginal basins of the Mediterranean. A new sea-level fall resulted in the end-Messinian unconformity, of which the most significant feature is the presence of a broad palaeovalley, c. 200 m deep, which, along its course, completely eroded the deposits of the Messinian II phase and part of the deposits of the Messinian I phase. The Pliocene highstand phase begins with coastal and shallow marine conglomerates and sandstones (La Pedrera Fm) which fill the deep part of the above-mentioned palaeovalley. These bottom deposits evolved gradually upwards towards pelagic marls (Hurchillo Fm), over which shallow marine and coastal sandstones prograded (Rojales Fm). This third phase records the flooding of the basin at the beginning of the Pliocene, when the salinity crisis ended in the marginal basins of the Mediterranean. The combination of calcareous nannoplankton biostratigraphy and magnetostratigraphy has confirmed that both the end of the sedimentation of the Messinian I phase, as well as the two lowstand erosional surfaces (intra- and end-Messinian unconformities) and also the onset of the Pliocene phase occurred in the chron C3r (c. 5.9–5.2 Ma). Under the assumption of the classical model of a desiccated deep basin, either of the two aforementioned erosional surfaces, or even both, could be correlative with the evaporites deposited in the abyssal parts of the Mediterranean.
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