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We have distinguished 10 depositional sequences in the Eocene succession of the eastern South Pyrenean Basin (Ilerdian to middle Lutetian). The lowermost sequences (Puig Aguiló and Fornols sequences) consist of shelfal carbonate facies (Alveolina limestones) in the eastern and western areas of the basin. In the central area, they consist of offshore marls. The Sagnari and Corones sequences are characterized by fluvio-deltaic deposits and shelfal carbonates. The Cadi, Armancies and Vail del Bac sequences consist of resedimented carbonates and offshore marls in the central parts of the Basin, and of carbonate platforms (Assilina limestones) in the marginal areas. The Vail del Bac sequence exposes a deltaic platform in the eastern area. The uppermost sequences (Campdevánol, Ripoll and Josa sequences) consist of deltaic platforms in the eastern area and of turbiditic systems in the western area.
The boundary between the Vail del Bac and Campdevanol sequences is related to an important paleogeographic change in the basin. The depositional systems of the sequences below this level display the proximal environments in the two terminations of the Basin, and the distal environments in the central areas. The depositional systems of the sequences above this level display the proximal environments in the eastern areas of the Basin, and the distal ones in the central and western areas.
Three depositional sequences in the sense of Vail (1987) are defined in the Middle and Upper Eocene deposits of the NE Ebro Basin. These sequences are correlated along the SE border of the basin in the area of deposition of the deltaic complexes of St. Llorenc del Munt, Gallifa and St. Feliu de Codines. The sedimentation took place during a period of block-differentiation of the basin margin, which induced thickness variations in the depositional areas. Although the tectonic-sedimentation evolution model that we propose shows the control of the paleogeography by tectonics, the sequence stratigraphy of the alluvial and deltaic complexes is influenced by the relative sea-level changes.
The area studied is located on the SE side of the Catalan Central Depression (NE Ebro basin), close to the Catalan Coastal Ranges (Fig. 1). During Paleogene times, the NE margin of the Ebro Basin was rilled with predominantly clastic terrigenous deposits which formed several deltaic complexes. The purpose of this chapter is to analyse and compare the sequence stratigraphy and the facies distribution patterns of the Eocene St. Llorenc del Munt and St. Feliu de Codines–Gallifa deltaic complexes, and find the relationships between tectonics and sedimentation for this side of the NE Ebro basin margin.
The strike–slip tectonics of the NE margin of the Ebro basin was contemporaneous with the sedimentation of the Paleogene deposits. Thus, the facies distribution of these materials near the basin margin is strongly controlled by the evolution of thrusting and fault development (Anadón et al., 1985).
The detailed study of the sediments that fill the depositional complex of Late Eocene and Early Oligocene age, W of the Segre thrust, has allowed the recognition of five major depositional cycles. These cycles are bounded by angular unconformities, particularly in the borders of the basins, and by sharp changes of facies in the more central areas, where the cycles tend to be conformable. The major cycles consist of minor cycles reflecting relative changes of basinal base level. The major cycles are regarded as depositional sequences containing both continental and marine deposits.
The five major cycles are considered to be responses to eustatic sea-level changes. However, tectonism also operated during the sedimentation of these units. The displacement of the Pyrenean thrust sheets enhanced the angular unconformities in the conglomerates that border the thrusts. The emplacement of these thrust sheets caused a paleogeographic change in the orientation of the Basin. During the Middle and Late Eocene, continental deposits formed in the south, while marine conditions existed in the north (Oliana area). In the latest Eocene, and even more clearly in the Early Oligocene, proximal deposits, sourced in the Pyrenees, formed in the north, whereas distal fluviatile and lacustrine sediments formed in the south, towards the centre of the Ebro Basin.
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