Provenance of siliciclastic and hybrid turbiditic arenites of the Eocene Hecho Group, Spanish Pyrenees: Implications for the tectonic evolution of a foreland basin

M. A. Caja, R. Marfil, D. Garcia, E. Remacha, S. Morad, H. Mansurbeg, A. Amorosi, C. Martínez-Calvo, R. Lahoz-Beltrá

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36 Citations (Scopus)


The Eocene Hecho Group turbidite system of the Aínsa-Jaca foreland Basin (southcentral Pyrenees) provides an excellent opportunity to constrain compositional variations within the context of spatial and temporal distribution of source rocks during tectonostratigraphic evolution of foreland basins. The complex tectonic setting necessitated the use of petrographic, geochemical and multivariate statistical techniques to achieve this goal. The turbidite deposits comprise four unconformity-bounded tectonostratigraphic units (TSU), consisting of quartz-rich and feldspar-poor sandstones, calclithites rich in extrabasinal carbonates and hybrid arenites dominated by intrabasinal carbonates. The sandstones occur exclusively in TSU-2, whereas calclithites and hybrid arenites occur in the overlying TSU-3, TSU-4 and TSU-5. The calclithites were deposited at the base of each TSU and hybrid arenites in the uppermost parts. Extrabasinal carbonate sources were derived from the fold-and-thrust belt (mainly Cretaceous and Palaeocene limestones). Conversely, intrabasinal carbonate grains were sourced from foramol shelf carbonate factories. This compositional trend is attributed to alternating episodes of uplift and thrust propagation (siliciclastic and extrabasinal carbonates supplies) and subsequent episodes of development of carbonate platforms supplying intrabasinal detrital grains. The quartz-rich and feldspar-poor composition of the sandstones suggests derivation from intensely weathered cratonic basement rocks during the initial fill of the foreland basin. Successive sediments (calclithites and hybrid arenites) were derived from older uplifted basement rocks (feldspar-rich and, to some extent, rock fragments-rich sandstones), thrust-and-fold belt deposits and from coeval carbonate platforms developed at the basin margins. This study demonstrates that the integration of tectono-stratigraphy, petrology and geochemistry of arenites provides a powerful tool to constrain the spatial and temporal variation in provenance during the tectonic evolution of foreland basins. © 2009 The Authors. Journal Compilation © Blackwell Publishing Ltd, European Association of Geoscientists & Engineers and International Association of Sedimentologists.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-180
JournalBasin Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2010


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