Submarine lobes and feeder channels of redeposited, temperate carbonate and mixed siliciclastic-carbonate platform deposits (Vera Basin, Almería, southern Spain)

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Abstract

Temperate carbonates and mixed siliciclastics-carbonates of Upper Tortonian age were deposited on a narrow platform along the southeastern margin of the Sierra de los Filabres on the western side of the Vera Basin. The temperate carbonates were unlithified or were only weakly lithified on the seafloor and so were easily prone to synsedimentary removal. Part of the shelf sediments were eroded, reworked and redeposited in submarine lobes, up to 40 m thick and 1 km wide. The lobes consist of turbiditic carbonates (calcarenites and calcirudites) and mixed siliciclastics-carbonates, which contain up to 30% siliciclasts, derived from the Sierra de los Filabres to the northwest, and abundant bioclasts of coralline algae, bivalves and bryozoans. In the inner platform, the feeder channels of the lobes cross-cut beach and shoal deposits, and are filled by strings of debris flow conglomerates (up to 3 m thick and a few metres wide). These channels presumably developed as the continuation of river courses entering the sea. Further towards the outer platform, they pass into large channels (up to several hundred metres wide and 20 m deep) steeply cutting into the horizontally bedded strata of the platform. Significant quantities of platform sediment were removed by erosion during their excavation. Once abandoned, they were filled by new platform sediments. Further towards the basin, the channels associated with the lobes exhibit lateral accretion and internal cut-and-fill structures, and are intercalated between hemipelagic deposits. The channel-filling sediments are in this latter case coarse-grained carbonates and mixed siliciclastics-carbonates. Lobe development concentrated first at Cortijo Grande on the western side of the study area, and then to the east at Mojácar. This migration may relate to the uplift of the Sierra Cabrera, a major high occurring immediately to the south of the channel and lobe outcrops.

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