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Keywords:

  • Central Spain;
  • Cretaceous;
  • mixed siliciclastic–carbonate sediments;
  • parasequence stacking patterns;
  • stratal architecture

Abstract

The Late Cenomanian–Mid Turonian succession in central Spain is composed of siliciclastic and carbonate rocks deposited in a variety of coastal and marine shelf environments (alluvial plain–estuarine, lagoon, shoreface, offshore-hemipelagic and carbonate ramp). Three depositional sequences (third order) are recognized: the Atienza, Patones and El Molar sequences. The Patones sequence contains five fourth-order parasequence sets, while a single parasequence set is recognized in the Atienza and El Molar sequences. Systems tracts can be recognized both in the sequences and parasequence sets. The lowstand systems tracts (only recognized for Atienza and Patones sequences) are related to erosion and sequence boundary formation. Transgressive systems tracts are related to marine transgression and shoreface retreat. The highstand systems tracts are related to shoreface extension and progradation, and to carbonate production and ramp progradation. Sequences are bounded by erosion or emergence surfaces, whose locations are supported by mineralogical analyses and suggest source area reactivation probably due to a fall in relative sea-level. Transgressive surfaces are subordinate erosion and/or omission surfaces with a landward facies shift, interpreted as parasequence set boundaries. The co-existence of siliciclastic and carbonate sediments and environments occurred as facies mixing or as distinct facies belts along the basin. Mixed facies of coastal areas are composed of detrital quartz and clays derived from the hinterland, and dolomite probably derived from bioclastic material. Siliciclastic flux to coastal areas is highly variable, the maximum flux postdates relative sea-level falls. Carbonate production in these areas may be constant, but the final content is a function of changing inputs in terrigenous sediments and carbonate content diminishes through a dilution effect. Carbonate ramps were detached from the coastal system and separated by a fringe of offshore, fine-grained muds and silts as distinct facies belts. The growth of carbonate ramp deposits was related to the highstand systems tracts of the fourth-order parasequence sets. During the growth of these ramps, some sediment starvation occurred basinwards. Progradation and retrogradation of the different belts occur simultaneously, suggesting a sea-level control on sedimentation. In the study area, the co-existence of carbonate and siliciclastic facies belts depended on the superimposition of different orders of relative sea-level cycles, and occurred mainly when the second-order, third-order and fourth-order cycles showed highstand conditions.