The role of topography and erosion in the development and architecture of shallow-water coral bioherms (Tortonian-Messinian, Cabo de Gata, SE Spain). - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology Year : 2009

The role of topography and erosion in the development and architecture of shallow-water coral bioherms (Tortonian-Messinian, Cabo de Gata, SE Spain).

Abstract

During the Miocene, Mediterranean shallow-water carbonates were rich in scleractinian corals, which thrive in various depositional settings. A Tortonian–Messinian bioherm belt developing in a heterozoan-dominated ramp was investigated along a 1.2 km continuous transect located in the Cabo de Gata region. The interval studied displays four depositional environments from mid-to-inner ramp, dominated by swell waves and storm energy, deposited as a single, large-scale depositional sequence during a 3rd to 4th order transgressive–regressive cycle. The bioherms grew in three phases, and were essentially composed of inplace primary frameworks. Three coral genera were the main framebuilders (Porites, Tarbellastrea and rare Siderastrea), associated with melobesioid and mastophoroid red algae and bryozoans as secondary framebuilders. The corals display five morphotypes, from a fast-growing branched type to slow-growing domal to plate morphologies, with an uncommon form of mesh Porites as the dominant morphotype. Changes in coral morphotype and composition of micro-encrusters communities reveal changes in hydrodynamics, detrital influx and perhaps nutrient levels. Bioherms architecture was driven by sea level, palaeotopography and erosion. The coral framework was affected during its development by erosion surfaces metres to tens of metres deep and hundreds of metres wide. Unexpectedly, these surfaces are better developed on the inner edges of the bioherms. This could indicate the circulation of strong bottom currents between the volcanic palaeohighs and the synoptic relief created by the buildups. Finally, a major sub-aerial erosional episode associated with increasing detrital influxes, ended bioherm development, thus allowing the colonization of the dead coral substratum by red algae.

Domains

Stratigraphy

Dates and versions

hal-00416377 , version 1 (14-09-2009)

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Cite

Raphaël Bourillot, Emmanuelle Vennin, Christophe Kolodka, Jean-Marie Rouchy, Antonio Caruso, et al.. The role of topography and erosion in the development and architecture of shallow-water coral bioherms (Tortonian-Messinian, Cabo de Gata, SE Spain).. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 2009, 281 (1-2), pp.92-114. ⟨10.1016/j.palaeo.2009.07.015⟩. ⟨hal-00416377⟩
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