Two magnetostratigraphic profiles (450 samples) have been carried out to constrain the age of synorogenic formations in the southern foreland of the High Atlas of Morocco. The Amekchoud profile covers the Ait Ouglif and Ait Kandoula alluvial formations that form the bulk of the Ouarzazate basin fill, indicating an age between the upper Langhian and the Messinian (Miocene). Data obtained in the previously unexplored Hadida formation profile covers the oldest terms of the foreland basin succession, but the low quality of the magnetic record only allows proposing a tentative age between the middle Lutetian and an undetermined middle to late Eocene. The correlation of the Amekchoud profile is based on the recognition of the long C5n chron (Tortonian) in the middle part of the section studied and a new vertebrate locality of upper Tortonian age found in the upper part. These results indicate a discontinuous record of foreland basin development in the southern Atlas domain from mid Eocene to late Miocene times, punctuated by an intermediate large hiatus of 20-25 ma (late Eocene to mid Miocene). Thrusting in the Sub-Atlas frontal thrust belt began before the Ait Ouglif and Kandoula formations, probably during the Oligocène, and extends up to recent times. The alternation of periods of deposition with others of no sedimentary record, which does not coincide with specific tectonic events, results probably from the interference of orogenic deformation and the mantle-related thermal uplift events that have been described for the Moroccan Atlas.
- High atlas