An ichnofabric approach to the depositional interpretation of the intensely burrowed Bateig Limestone, Miocene, SE Spain
de Gibert, J. M. and Goldring, R. (2007) An ichnofabric approach to the depositional interpretation of the intensely burrowed Bateig Limestone, Miocene, SE Spain. Sedimentary Geology, 194 (1-2). pp. 1-16. ISSN 0037-0738
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.sedgeo.2006.04.008
The foraminiferal-rich pelagic Bateig Limestone forms several varieties of the important building stones quarried at Bateig Hill in southeastern Spain. Three principal ichnofabrics (Bichordites, mottled-Palaeophycus and mottled-Ophiomorpha) are recognized, which are present in at least two (possibly up to four) repeated successions (cycles). Each succession begins with an erosional event. The Bichordites ichnofabric represents a new type of facies, formed as thin turbidity/grain flow, stratiform units derived from sediment slips off a fault into deep water. Each slipped unit became almost completely bioturbated by infaunal echinoids, colonizing by lateral migration. Because of the thinness of the units, successive colonizations tended to truncate the underlying burrows giving rise to a pseudo-stratification. As the Bichordites ichnofabric accumulated on the fault apron, thus reducing the effective height of the fault scarp, the substrate gradually came under the influence of currents traversing the shelf. This led to a change in hydraulic regime, and to the mottled-Palaeophycus and mottled-Ophiomorpha ichnofabrics in sediment deposited under bed load transport, and associated with laminar and cross-stratified beds and local muddy intervals. Reactivation of the fault triggered erosion and channeling and a return to grain flow sedimentation, and to the Bichordites ichnofabric of the succeeding cycle. The highest unit of the Bateig Limestone is formed entirely of cross-stratified calcarenites with occasional Ophiomorpha (Ophiomorpha-primary lamination ichnofabric) and is similar to many shallow marine facies but they still bear a significant content of pelagic foraminifera. The sedimentary setting bears resemblance with that described for the Pleistocene Monte Torre Paleostrait and the modem Strait of Messina (Italy), where the narrow morphology of the depositional area enhanced tidal currents and allowed for high-energy sandy deposition in relatively deep areas. More data on the Miocene paleogeography of the Bateig area should provide further testing for this hypothesis. The ichnofacies and stacking of the Bateig Limestone differ from the classic Seilacherian model in that they reflect changes in hydraulic process and are associated with faulting and subsidence and changes in sediment supply. Recognition of the unusual ichnofabrics and their relationships provides a clear indication of the overall dynamic setting. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.