The Westernmost Tethys Blog Geology mapping, basin analysis and 3D modeling


Eocene carbonate platform of the Malaguides of the westermost Tethys

 The Eocene Peñicas (Almería) and Harania (Málaga) stratigraphic sections from the Malaguide Complex (Betic Cordillera, South Spain) belonging to the Mesomediterranean Microplate from the westernmost Tethys (about  35◦N) have been studied. The Eocene sections cover the Cuisian to middle Lutetian deposits, which show several lithofacies representing shallow marine platform realms. Based on the fossiliferous assemblage, texture and fabrics, eight microfacies related to inner to outer ramp settings were defined. In the inner ramp of the Harania section abundant colonial corals have been recognized. The Eocene deposits are arranged into a transgressive succession composed by three minor transgressive-regressive sedimentary cycles. The Eocene fossiliferous assemblage shows a mixture of photozoan (Larger Bentic Foraminifera, green and red calcareous algae and corals) and heterotrophic (mollusks, echinoids, bryozoans, small benthic and planktic foraminifers) elements, suggesting euphotic to mesophotic conditions in oligo-mesotrophic marine warm-waters at low-middle latitudes. This assemblage indicates a transition from photozoan to heterozoan carbonates and in particular a shift towards outer marine ramp settings.

Paleogeographic and paleoenvironmental 3D-sketch model of the Central-Western Malaguides with location of facies and microfacies during the Eocene.

During the Early Eocene, the widespread distribution of Larger Benthic Foraminifera leads in the Tethyan domains to disappearance or extreme reduction of coral constructions. Nevertheless, abundant corals associated to inner ramp realms have been observed in the Harania stratigraphic section indicating that corals could continue to develop in the westernmost Tethys at the transition to the Atlantic Ocean, in contrast with respect to other Tethyan sectors. Therefore, the Ypresian-Lutetian time-span is a transitional period for the global temperature during which corals locally survived only where optimal ecologic conditions occurred, preferably in marginal contexts, as it seems to have happened in the studied area. 

Cite as: Tosquella, J., Martín-Martín, M., Guerrera, F., Serrano, F., Tramontana, M., 2022. The Eocene carbonate platform of the central-western Malaguides (Internal Betic Zone, S Spain) and its meaning for the Cenozoic paleogeography of the westermost Tethys. Palaeogeogr. Palaeoclimatol. Palaeoecol. 589, 110840. doi: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2022.110840

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