© 2017 Elsevier B.V. The L'Espinau site is a dinosaur bonebed from the Upper Cretaceous of the South-Central Pyrenees (north-eastern Spain) that have provided hundreds of bone remains attributed to hadrosauroids, together with a rich assemblage of herpetofauna, fish and microflora. Magnetostratigraphy calibrated the site with the early late Maastrichtian, and the combined sedimentology, stable isotope geochemistry and palaeoecology revealed that this fossil site formed in a lagoon, in which a mixed freshwater-brackish palaeoenvironment was developed. This setting displays a south-north charophyte zonation from freshwater (Clavator brachycerus-dominated assemblage) to brackish or eurihaline conditions (Feistiella malladae-dominated assemblage), revealing a palaeoenvironment change towards the coast. Sedimentology and taphonomy (bidirectional arrangement of long bones, abrasion and disarticulation) indicate that the L'Espinau site is the result of a cohesive mass flow event originated very close to the sea. This process entrained and mixed fauna from both the terrestrial and the brackish/marine environment of a lagoon. An increasing of the water runoff (e.g. by intense rainfall) reworking poorly consolidated sediments is considered here as the most probable triggering mechanism. Mass flow-hosted bonebeds are commonly linked to fluvial palaeoenvironments, so our study case is a rare example of bones accumulating near the sea. This study adds evidence that hadrosauroids inhabited littoral environments during the Maastrichtian in the southern Pyrenean area.
- Coastal settings
- Mass flow
- Palaeoenvironmental reconstruction
- Stable isotopes