Multi-storey calcrete profiles developed during the initial stages of the configuration of the Ebro Basins exorrheic fluvial network



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Meléndez Hevia, Alfonso and Alonso-Zarza, Ana María and Sancho Marcén, Carlos (2011) Multi-storey calcrete profiles developed during the initial stages of the configuration of the Ebro Basins exorrheic fluvial network. Geomorphology, 134 . pp. 232-248. ISSN 0169-555X

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Multi-storey calcrete profiles developed in the Quaternary on strath terraces of the Cinca and Alcanadre rivers,
tributaries of the Ebro River inNE Spain. Two calcrete profiles (Tor 1 and Tor 2) near the village of El Tormillo show
horizons with an arrangement that differs from that of commonly described calcrete profiles. Significant lateral
changes occur in these profiles within a distance of less than 200 m, reflecting their pedofacies relationship. The
Tor 1 profile on terraceQt1 (the highest and oldest) consists of six horizons (frombottomto top): 1) coarse fluvial
gravels; 2) mudstones with carbonate nodules; 3) a chalky horizon; 4) laminar horizons, including one peloidal
horizon; 5) amulti-storey horizon formed of at least six minor sequences, each ofwhich includes a lower detrital
layer, a pisolithic horizon, and a thin discontinuous laminar horizon (these sequences indicate several cycles of
brecciation and/or reworking); and 6) a topmost laminar and brecciated horizon also including reworked
pisoliths. Some200 mto the north of Tor 1, horizon 5 undergoes a lateral change to channel fill-deposits. The infill
of the channels shows a fining-upwards sequence ranging fromclasts of about 10 cmin diameter to red siltswith
sparse pebbles. All the clasts come fromthe underlying calcrete horizons. Laminar horizons are interbeddedwith
the clastic channel deposits. The youngest calcrete profiles developed on terraceQt3 of the Cinca River and on the
Qp4 and Qp6mantled pediment levels. All showrelatively simple profiles composedmostly of lower horizons of
coated gravels, with thin laminar horizons at the top. Most of the horizons, especially the laminar ones, show
biogenic features such as alveolar septal structures, calcified filaments, biofilms, spherulites, micropores and
needle-like calcite crystals. These features indicate the important role of vegetation in the formation of all the
above profiles. The interbedding of clastic sediments and pisolithic horizons within the Tor 2 profile indicates
several stages of stabilisation during profile formation. These sequences are an indication of the sedimentation,
soil formation and reworking processes operating on the soil surface. The alternation of these processes is
interpreted as the result of climate–vegetation changes. The channel-fills of Tor 2 indicate erosion and reworking
of the hard laminar calcrete horizon. Both Tor 1 and Tor 2 are multi-storey profiles reflecting the complex
sedimentation–erosion–pedogenesis relationships at the final stages of the development of its corresponding
fluvial terrace. The study of these calcretes shows that these supposedly abandoned terraces continue to be active
even though the fluvial network is entrenched. Both the pedofacies relationships and the complexity shown by
Tor 1 and Tor 2 reflect the complex and unstable geomorphic setting inwhich these profiles developed. After the
establishment of the exorrheic network, less complex calcrete profiles were produced in the lower terraces.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Calcretes, Terraces, Fluvial network, Ebro Basin, Quaternary
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Geodynamics
ID Code:17946
Deposited On:24 Jan 2013 10:51
Last Modified:24 Jan 2013 10:51

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