Messinian Alicante Group

Neogene working group of Alicante University

Marine campaign to find the source of the earthquakes in the Patibulo fishing area (Alicante coast)

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At 30 nautical miles to the E of Cabo de Santa Pola (about 55 km) there is a submarine seamount called by the southern Alicante fishermen as the area of the Patibulo (the Gallows). It is an area with a rocky and elevated seabed, with abundant fishing.

Curiously, not only are fish abundant, but from time to time the seismographs of the Alicante University Seismic Record Unit record earthquakes there and along the imaginary line that joins it with Cabo de Santa Pola, to the north of Tabarca Island. In the coastal area to the north of said island, an active fault has already been located through high-resolution seismic as a possible cause of these. It was missing to know if in the Patibulo, said fault continues or another one also active.

Throughout the year 2022, attempts have been made to reach the area from Torrevieja with marine seismic equipment to study the area. It started in the month of April and something always happened, a fuse, a cable, a blown chip, bad weather… After much insistence and returning empty-handed, on December 6, 7 and 8, there was a good weather window and the appliances worked. From the port of Torrevieja with the boat “Rosa de Abril”, we were making some data collection lines in the direction of the Patibulo and on the last day we reached our objective. Almost 80 km of data lines were obtained over 3 days.

El Patíbulo is the westernmost seamount of an alignment of elevations called Alicante Highs, after the geological map of the Alicante platform (Catafau Alcántara et al., 1994). There are at least three needles whose base is 300 m deep and which rise to about 135 m, the most to the W (Patíbulo). The second is the highest and reaches 125 m (some fishermen say 90 m), the third at 154 m. The image of the geological map of the Alicante platform is attached. To the north of these thresholds begins a submarine canyon that is “unofficially” known as the “Alicante canyon” and that descends to the plain to the north of these.

Alicante Heights, this profile does not pass through the tops of the heights, it is a bathymetric profile where some of them are located (Taken from Catafau Alcántara et al., 1994).

The high-resolution seismic image shows a fault scarp on the seafloor, indicating that the fault is currently active. The darker area marked by the plane is a more cemented area, probably due to the flow of fluids along the plane. Layered reflectors are also observed, indicating that they are sedimentary rocks and not volcanic rocks like other seamounts in the southern Balearic Islands.

Fault in the Gallows area. A fault scarp is observed on the surface of the seabed and its prolongation in depth. The layers on the right cut off at the fault. Raw image obtained during acquisition.

With the preliminary data that has been obtained, it can be said that the Patibulo is a structural height raised by faults. They are active because they protrude from the bottom and because it seems that they are associated with leaks of fluids that mineralize near the fault plane.

We look forward to studying the interesting data obtained.

Reference: Catafau Alcántara, E., Gaytán de Ayala y Bolín, M., Pereda Alonso, I., Vázquez Garrido, J.T., Wandossell Santamaría, J. (1994): Mapa geológico de la Plataforma Continental Española y Zonas adyacentes. Escala 1:200 000. Hoja nº 72-73(Elche-Alicante). ITGE, 73 p.

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January 10th, 2023 at 1:58 pm

Field trip to Teruel

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This academic year 2022-23 we have returned to Teruel Paleozoic as before the pandemic. The geology students of Alicante University third course within the subject of Regional Geology: visit Montealegre del Castillo triassic section (Albacete), Aguilon Jurassic section (Teruel), Murero Cambrian Rambla Valdemiedes section (Zaragoza), Luesma Ordovicic to Triassic section (Teruel), Santa Cruz de Nogueras museum “Paleozoic Seas Museum” (Teruel), Ojos Negros iron-ore quarry (Teruel) and Checa-Orea road Ordovicic-Silurian section (Guadalajara).

The picture shows all the students on the Tertiary erosional surface on top of the Murero section  (Zaragoza province).

Alicante University Student in Murero top section. Panoramic view of the Iberian Cordillera.

The second picture show students in the Murero Cambrian Rambla de Valdemiedes section.

Alicante University geology third course students in the Rambla de Valdemiedes, cambrian of Murero.

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January 2nd, 2023 at 7:02 pm

Field trip to Faro de Rondan (Almería)

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This year the students of the third course of Marine sciences of the Alicante University visit the Sorbas basin, Cabo de Gata, and Mesa de Roldán on November 3th and 4th of 2022.

University of Alicante Marine Geology course students (2022-23).

The picture show the student visiting the Faro de la Mesa de Roldan  (the lighthouse).

The professors of the subject were  Antonio Estévez, Manuel Martín-Martín and José Enrique Tent-Manclús.

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December 23rd, 2022 at 9:30 am

Thinkinazul meeting in Calpe

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Last september 16th 2022 in the IMEDMAR facilities of the Universitat Católica de Valencia took place the first meeting of the WP1 of the Thinkinazul project.

The meeting did not start quite well because 3 days before the meeting a fire destroyed the entrance of the building so it had to be moved to the Calpe Nautic Club, Belliure brothers meeting room. It was our first meeting, our kicking point trying to find synergies with the different subgroups.

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September 28th, 2022 at 10:41 am

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Evolution of Amaurolithus: Amaurolithus delicatus marking the Messinian bottom

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After a complete study of the sediment samples from Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Sites 999 and 1237 in the Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific Ocean in order to monitor the evolution of ceratoliths. The First Occurrence of Amaurolithus delicatus marks the bottom of the Messinian Stage. The first ceratholith, A. primus, has two arms and a horseshoe shape with marked laths, and is stable and concave upwards having three blades (sinistral=blue, median=red, and dextral= green).

Early robust A. primus evolved into stylised forms and then to Amaurolithus delicatus (7.226 Ma), an almost plain horseshoe ceratolith with two arms. The left arm, usually the longer one, comes from the sinistral wing of A. primus and has a characteristic flattened omega section (Ω) without laths. There is a distribution overlap between A. primus and A. delicatus; the highest occurrence of the first one, at 6.282 Ma, is a newly proposed bioevent for the Messinian. After this, Amaurolithus does not have laths on its longer left arm and should be included in A. delicatus. 

 

Cite as: Lancis, C., Tent-Manclús, J.-E., Flores, J.-A., 2022. Origin and evolutionary trends of the Neogene genera Amaurolithus and Nicklithus (calcareous nannofossils). Mar. Micropaleontol. 175, 102156. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marmicro.2022.102156

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August 29th, 2022 at 10:05 am

Origin of the ceratolith genus Amaurolithus

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 Sediment samples from Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Sites 999 and 1237 in the Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific Ocean were studied to monitor the evolution of ceratoliths from 7.4 Ma to 6 Ma. Orthorhabdus rugosus shows high variability at the end of the Tortonian to the Early Messinian (7.35 Ma to 6.91 Ma), resulting in the Amaurolithus (7.354 Ma) and Nicklithus branches (6.985 Ma). Orthorhabdus rugosus is an ortholith with three blades (sinistral, median, and dextral). The first ceratholith, A. primus, has two arms and a horseshoe shape with marked laths, and is stable and concave upwards. Its sinistral arm is formed from the sinistral blade of Orthorhabdus rugosus and the right arm is formed from the other blades.

The sudden appearance of A. primus in the sedimentary record at around 7.35 Ma was observed in both studied sections . The  Figure shows the set modifications of O. rugosus producing the early A. primus. The modifications are not a gradual evolutionary sequence of intermediate progressively modified forms but occur simultaneously as they are present from the beginning of the first recorded specimens. Amaurolithus primus coexisted with the O. rugosus ancestor in the studied samples. 

Modification on O. rugosus: Shortening of the specimen; Sinistral blade (blue): Lateral lengthening and its end portion curved upwards, concave to the observer; Dextral blade (green): Rotates backward; Median blade (red): Elevates and becomes more robust showing more marked teeth.

Cite as: Lancis, C., Tent-Manclús, J.-E., Flores, J.-A., 2022. Origin and evolutionary trends of the Neogene genera Amaurolithus and Nicklithus (calcareous nannofossils). Mar. Micropaleontol. 175, 102156. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marmicro.2022.102156

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July 25th, 2022 at 1:49 pm

Thinkinazul project

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Messinian Group will study the recent marine sediment on the Alicante coast. The new EU funded Thinkinazul project of the Generalitat Valenciana, coded as:  GVA/Thinkinazul/2021/039.

The project will study changes in the coast-line, coastal risk and coastal aquifers. It has started on January 1, 2022 and will be active until November 18, 2024. The advances of the research will be announced in future posts of this blog. The leadership of the project is carried out by researches of the MIES is a Multidisciplinary Research Institute for Environmental Studies “Ramón Margalef” (Instituto Multidisciplinario para el estudio del Medio “Ramon Margalef”, IMEM in Spanish) of the Alicante University and integrate researches of 10 universities and research institutions.

Generalitat Valenciana Thinkinazul Project “aquaCHANGE” have been divided in 7 Working Party (WP) and framed in WP1: “Observation and monitoring of the marine and coastal environment”.

 

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March 18th, 2022 at 5:17 pm

Sot de Chera field trip

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Students of the third course of Geology of the Alicante University within the subject of Regional Geology: visit Jarafuel triassic section, Montealegre del Castillo triassic section, Sot de Chera Jurassic section and Monduver geologic dome.

The picture shows the in the Chulilla health resort section near by Sot de Chera (Valencia province)

University of Alicante geology students near Sot de Chera.

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November 24th, 2021 at 10:40 am

Field Trip to Almeria

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This year the students of the third course of Marine sciences of the Alicante University visit the Sorbas basin, Cabo de Gata, and Mesa de Roldán on November 4th and 5th of 2021.

University of Alicante Marine Geology course students (2021-22)

The picture show the student visiting the Torregarcia beach and the Roman remains of a cetaria (a marine factory).

The professors in charge were  Antonio Estévez, Manuel Martín-Martín and José Enrique Tent-Manclús.

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November 11th, 2021 at 11:12 am

Monduver Paleolandslide as its relationship with the human use of the Parpalló Cave (Valencia province, Spain)

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The Monduver massif located 50 km to the south-east of Valencia city has a well-developed Karst geomorphology and where it stands out the Barx Polje. The Highest point of the Massif, Moduver 841 m a.s.l., is just 10 km inland from the Mediterranean coast. The Parpallo Cave located at the southern part of the polje is one of the most important Palaeolithic sites, not only in Spain, but in the world due to the collection of decorated plaquettes of Palaeolithic portable art. The collection covers the entire archaeological sequence from the Gravettian to the Magdalenian periods (26000–11000 years BP). The Barx polje has two subbasins: Barx to the north and La Drova to the south, and the second one is partly capture at the south by the Caldereta Creek. In this work is proposed than the La Drova subbasin was formed by a major landslide of the western side of the Monduver massif producing a natural dam of the Les Voltes Creek. Lately, the La Drova subbasin was filled by the terra rossa product of the limestone dissolution of the polje basin, as can be see today in the sides of the captured La Drova subbasin. The filling of the subbasin was to a level higher that the Barx subbasin as the today drainage of the uncaptured La Drova runs to this last one. Three 3d model landscape figures has been made to explain its evolution. The archeological sequence of the Parpallo Cave could be related with the infilling of the subbasin period and the landslide could take place before the human use of the cave.

Panoramic view from the Parpalló Cove entrance. The face-shape mountain is the paleoslide

Cite as: Tent-Manclús, J. E. y Jordá Guijarro, J. (2021): Monduver Paleolandslide as its relationship with the human use of the Parpalló Cave (Valencia province, Spain). LAC1+1, Landscape archaeology conference, 8-11 june 2021 Book of Abstracts. 14 p.

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September 14th, 2021 at 3:38 pm