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|Title: ||Catalonian, Eastern Betic, and Balearic Margins: Structural Types and Geologically Recent Foundering of the Western Mediterranean Basin|
|Authors: ||Stanley, Daniel Jean|
Kenyon, Neil H.
|Issue Date: ||20-Sep-1976|
|Citation: ||Smithsonian Contributions to the Earth Sciences; 20|
|Abstract: ||A high-resolution seismic study of the Catalonian, eastern Betic, and Balearic regions in the western Mediterranean emphasizes the importance of large-scale post-Miocene vertical displacement of upper Miocene and overlying unconsolidated sediment sequences. The structural configuration of the Pliocene and Quaternary series observed on subbottom profiles indicates that the geologically recent margins in these sectors have subsided along preexisting (Oligocene or older) as well as more recent (post-Miocene) tectonic trends. The post-Miocene movements are not necessarily synchronous and marked differences of structural styles are identified. The origin of the three major types of margins - abrupt, intermediate (or steplike), and progressive - is closely related to tectonic trends on land. Subsidence of the sub-Pliocene seafloor on the order of 1500 m is estimated on the basis of seismic profiles presented here.
The abrupt margin type, exemplified by the Emile Baudot and Mazzaron escarpments, occurs in areas where the edge of the basin parallels the major structures on land and where vertical displacement has developed in a relatively restricted structural zone. Intermediate margins, such as the sector southeast of the Betic chain, are localized in areas where two major structural trends converge (NE-SW and NW-SE fractures predominate), and show a steplike (growth fault) displacement landward. Progressive margins, such as off Catalonia, display a flexing of the Pliocene and Quaternary cover and are related to Pliocene foundering followed by more gentle subsidence from the upper Pliocene to the present. This type of margin occurs seaward of Tertiary basins where older (Hercynian to Miocene) tectonic trends have been reactivated. Seismic evidence indicates that submarine canyon development on these different margins is associated with the post-Miocene tectonics as well as with Quaternary eustatic events.
The Balearic Rise, a large continental block detached from the southern part of the Balearic Platform, foundered largely in post-Miocene time, but this feature has not yet completely subsided to the level of the Algéro-Balearic Basin plain. It is possible that large continental blocks beyond the base of slopes that are presently buried by a thick Pliocene-Quaternary cover may have a structural origin analogous to that of the Rise. Margin formation and the evolution of the western Mediterranean Basin bear some similarities to the structural development of rift zones.|
|Appears in Collections:||Smithsonian Contributions to the Earth Sciences|
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