Unlike most Neogene basins of the Betic Cordillera where the Salinity Crisis is dated to the Messinian, a contradictory Tortonian dating was proposed for evaporites of the Lorca Basin. As a consequence, complex structural models have been proposed in the literature to explain this discrepancy in the timing of evaporites. In order to integrate the Lorca Basin into the geological context of the western Mediterranean domain during the Late Miocene, new sedimentological and stratigraphical studies coupled with new dating were performed, which allow us to propose a Messinian age for both diatomite-bearing deposits and evaporites of the Lorca Basin. These new ages challenge the idea of a Tortonian salinity crisis in the Lorca Basin. Three main events of base-level drop were evidenced during the Messinian. Each event is correlated with successive steps of basin restriction. Shallow salina evaporites were deposited after a base-level fall during the Messinian before a final base-level drop, which led to the entire exposure of the basin. This last exposure is interpreted as coeval with the deposition of first evaporites and halite in the deep Mediterranean basins. The reflooding which allowed the deposition of brackish deposits and a short-lived marine incursion occurred at the end of the Messinian. Base-level drops occurred during eustatic falls amplified by the gradual uplift of the Betic Cordillera. The exhumation of the Tercia ridge along the strike-slip Alhama de Murcia fault system during the Messinian probably favoured the gradual restriction of the basin. A discussion on correlations of main unconformities between several Neogene basins of the Betics is proposed, suggesting a similar structural evolution at the regional scale.
|Number of pages||27|
|Publication status||Published - 2020|
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