A constrained African craton source for the Cenozoic Numidian Flysch: Implications for the palaeogeography of the western Mediterranean basin

M. F H Thomas, S. Bodin, J. Redfern, D. H B Irving

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    920 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    The provenance of the Numidian Flysch in the western Mediterranean remains a controversial subject which hinders understanding of this regionally widespread depositional system. The Numidian Flysch is a deep marine formation dated as Oligocene to Miocene which outcrops throughout the Maghreb and into Italy. Evidence that is widely used for provenance analysis has not previously been reviewed within the context of the Maghrebian Flysch Basin as a whole. The structural location within the Alpine belt indicates deposition proximal to the African margin, while the uniformity of the Numidian Flysch petrofacies suggests a single cratonic source, in stark contrast to heterolithic and immature flysch formations from the north of the basin. Detrital zircon ages constrain a source region with Pan-African and Eburnian age rocks, unaffected by either Hercynian or Alpine tectonic events, which precludes the European basement blocks to the north of the basin. Palaeocurrent trends which suggest a northern source are unreliable given foreland basin analogues and observed structural complications. An African craton source remains the only viable option once these data are reviewed in their entirety, and the Numidian Flysch therefore represents a major Cenozoic drainage system on the North African margin. Deposition is concurrent with regional Atlas uplift phases, and coincidental with globally cooling climates and high sea levels. The Numidian Flysch is therefore interpreted to represent a highstand passive margin deposit, with timing of deposition controlled primarily by hinterland uplift and climatic fluctuations. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-23
    Number of pages22
    JournalEarth-Science Reviews
    Volume101
    Issue number1-2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010

    Keywords

    • Cenozoic
    • Numidian Flysch
    • Palaeocurrent
    • Provenance
    • Turbidite
    • Zircon

    Fingerprint

    Dive into the research topics of 'A constrained African craton source for the Cenozoic Numidian Flysch: Implications for the palaeogeography of the western Mediterranean basin'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this