Scientific article

Lower Cretaceous turbiditic sediments from the Rif chain (Northern Marocco) — palynology, stratigraphy and palaeogeographic setting

Published inInternational journal of earth sciences, vol. 73, no. 3, p. 1081-1114
Publication date1984

The paper describes the palynology, stratigraphy, sedimentology and palaeogeographic setting of Lower Cretaceous turbiditic and terrigenous deep-sea sediments at the Tethyan margins of Africa and Alboran (External Domain of the Rif, and Flysch Nappes). During the Early Cretaceous terrigenous turbiditic deep-water sedimentation characterizes two different palaeogeographic domains in the southern part of the western Tethys: In the northern area of the External Domain (Ketama Unit of the Rif) alternating turbiditic arenites and pelites are interpreted as sediments of a distal part of a fan system on the Tethyan margin of Africa. The main sources for the terrigenous material were situated in Central and Western Algeria; only little sand transited through the Prerif and the Mesorif zones of Morocco. The terrigenous sedimentation began in the Hauterivian, but the main turbiditic cycles are of Aptian to Lower and Middle Albian age. The Flysch Domain probably was situated far to the Northeast with respect to the Rif basin, at the western and southern margins of the Alboran microplate. Relatively proximal turbidites form most of the Tisirène Nappe, whereas more distal turbidites constitute the series of the Melloussa and the Chouamat Nappes. The existence of two different source areas is demonstrated, one to the NE and the other to the NW of the depositional area. The turbidites probably were deposited on a E-W oriented fan system which progradated into a longitudinal trench-like trough. In the Central Rif area, the Tisirène Flysch is of Valanginian to Albian (pre-Vraconian) age. In the Western Rif and in the Melloussa and Chouamat Nappes of the whole area no sediments older than Aptian have been found. The stratigraphy of the investigated series is based on a new tentative palynostratigraphic zonation, using pollen, spores and dinoflagellate cysts. Rich and well preserved assemblages have been found in the Western Rif only, whereas the samples of the Tisirène Nappe and the Chouamat Nappe in the Central and Eastern Rif have been affected by some thermal alteration. Black and mostly opaque palynomorphs from the Ketama Unit reflect the strong thermal influence in the External Domain of the Central and Eastern Rif.

  • Rif externe
  • Maroc
  • Nappes des Flyschs
  • Crétacé inférieur
  • Palynologie
  • Biostratigraphie
Affiliation Not a UNIGE publication
Citation (ISO format)
GÜBELI, Alfred A., HOCHULI, Peter A., WILDI, Walter. Lower Cretaceous turbiditic sediments from the Rif chain (Northern Marocco) — palynology, stratigraphy and palaeogeographic setting. In: International journal of earth sciences, 1984, vol. 73, n° 3, p. 1081–1114. doi: 10.1007/BF01820889
ISSN of the journal1437-3254

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