Sedimentary evolution of the Late Eocene Vernet lacustrine system (South-Central Pyrenees). Tectono-climatic control in an alluvial-lacustrine piggyback basin

Eudald Maestro

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12 Citations (Scopus)


A complete third-order tectono-sedimentary cycle filled the Vernet lacustrine piggyback basin during the late Eocene. The depositional sequence can be subdivided into five units or systems tracts with distinct architectural frameworks, which developed a progressive unconformity. Sedimentary infilling of the piggyback basin began with retrogradational alluvial fans and fluvio-alluvial deposits being deposited, arranged in two thinning- and fining-upward cycles during the uplifting and emplacement of the southernmost Pyrenean thrusts, and with three thickening- and coarsening-upward progradational floodplain and lacustrine cycles, during the quiescence of the southernmost thrusts, at the same time as the emplacement of several northernmost thrusts of the southern Pyrenees. The facies associations identified represent different depositional environments in a sheetflow-dominated system, including playa-lake deposits, floodplain deposits, sheetflow fluvial deposits and sheet deltas in ephemeral to shallow lacustrine settings. Fourth and fifth order arid/semi-arid climatic cycles can be recognized, driven either by orbital obliquity and precessional forcing (Milankovitch cyclicity), insolation cycles or possibly subprecessional autogenic mechanisms related to the emplacement of northern thrusts and the consequent changes in the drainage basin. Arid periods are recorded by sheetflood fluvial, ephemeral lacustrine or terminal splay deposits, with abundant medium-to-coarse-grained sandstone packages in red-to-grey mudstones, a product of unconfined or low-confined sheetflows or hyperconcentrated flows, with bedload and suspended load, during flood episodes, at times of lake lowstand. Semi-arid periods are recorded as relative highstand lacustrine deposits, including grey-to-white mudstones deposited in prodelta environments and fine-grained sheet sandstone units sedimented in a delta front (with minor channels and extensive sheet lobes) and prodelta environments in shallow lakes, from sheetflood events. © 2008 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1053-1078
JournalJournal of Paleolimnology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2008


  • Climatic cycles
  • Lacustrine delta
  • Piggyback basin
  • South-Central Pyrenees
  • Tectonic forcing


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