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Neoproterozoic-early Cambrian geology and palaeontology of Iberia

  • Gonzalo Vidal (a1), Teodoro Palacios (a2), Jose Antonio Gámez-Vintaned (a3), Maria Antonia Díez Balda (a4) and Stephen W. F. Grant (a5)...


Neoproterozoic-early Cambrian successions in Iberia are reexamined. A gradual transition across the Neoproterozoic-Cambrian boundary is present in Central Iberia, whereas in the Cantabrian region and the Iberian Chains Lower Cambrian arenaceous successions rest with profound angular unconformity on Neoproterozoic turbidites. In Central Iberia, the Neoproterozoic sedimentary succession is referred to the informal Domo Extremeño group, representing mostly basinal facies, and the overlying Rio Huso group consisting of slope deposits and proximal turbidites that grade into shallower marine deposits. The latter is inferred to represent distal slope to outer platform depositional conditions and contains widespread carbonate olistostromic units. The position of the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary is within the Pusa shale of the Rio Huso group and can be correlated at the regional level by the occurrence of trace fossils, acritarchs, and in particular the abundant shelly metazoan Cloudina. The succession also yielded megascopic carbonaceous fossils, such as vendotaenids and Beltanelioides? sp. ind., and Sabellidites. Contrary to former interpretations assuming transport of older platform carbonates from the Ibor region into ‘younger’ olistostromic beds of the Rio Huso group, we interpret sedimentary and fossil evidence to suggest that shallower platform deposits of the informal Ibor group were penecontemporaneously incorporated in the olistostromic lower part of the Rio Huso group. Hence, the olistostromes are not believed to mark a major erosive unconformity. Based on the ichnofossil record and recent U-Pb age determinations, we argue that a proposed disconformity between Lower and Upper ‘Alcudian’ strata is neither regional nor does it mark a significant hiatus. Neoproterozoic-early Cambrian deposition in Central Iberia can be accommodated in a model that implies a generalized stretching of the crust during an extensional event which closely followed the Cadomian phase of the Pan-African Orogeny and which eventually could have included transcurrent components. An extensional phase with transcurrent components during the deposition of the Ibor and lower Rio Huso groups is regarded as a probable cause of widespread ponding resulting in the juxtaposition of platform and basinal successions, eventually leading to anoxic conditions in Pusa shale deposition times. A possible cause for repeated collapse events developing olistostromes and intra-sequential folding could be sought in this tectonic context.



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Neoproterozoic-early Cambrian geology and palaeontology of Iberia

  • Gonzalo Vidal (a1), Teodoro Palacios (a2), Jose Antonio Gámez-Vintaned (a3), Maria Antonia Díez Balda (a4) and Stephen W. F. Grant (a5)...


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