Sea cliffs 40 km east of Almeria, southeastern Spain, expose upper Miocene reefs and patch reefs of the Plomo formation. These reefs are formed of scleractinian corals, calcareous algae, and mollusks. The reef cores are as much as 65 m thick and several hundred meters wide. Fore-reef talus beds extend 1,300 m across and are 40 m thick. The reefs and reef breccias are composed of calcific dolomite. They lie on volcanic rocks that have a K-Ar date of 11.5 m.y. and in turn are overlain by the upper Miocene Vicar Formation. In the reef cores and fore-reef breccia beds, porosity is both primary and postdepositional. Primary porosity is of three types: (a) boring clam holes in the scleractinian coral heads, cemented reef rocks, and breccias; (b) intraparticle porosity within the corals, Halimeda plates, and vermetid worm tubes; and (c) interparticle porosity between bioclastic fragments and in the reef breccia. Postdepositional moldic porosity was formed by the solution of aragonitic material such as molluscan and coral fragments. The Plomo reef carbonate rocks have high porosity and permeability, and retain a great amount of depositional porosity. Pores range in size from a few micrometers to 30 cm. The extensive intercrystalline porosity and high permeability resulted from dolomitization of micritic matrix. Dolomite rhombs are between 10 and 30 μ across. More moldic porosity was formed by the dissolution of the calclte bioclasts. Some porosity reduction has occurred by incomplete and partial sparry calcite infilling of interparticular, moldic, and intercrystalline voids. The high porosity and permeability of these reefs make them important targets for petroleum exploration in the western Mediterranean off southern Spain. In these offshore areas in the subsurface the volcanic ridge and the Plomo reef complex are locally onlapped or overlapped by 350 m or more of Miocene(?) and Pliocene fine-grained sedimentary rocks. The possibility exists that the buried Plomo reef deposits may form traps for oil and gas in the offshore areas southwest of the type locality. Stratigraphic traps also may occur where the Neogene sequence above the Plomo reef complex onlaps the volcanic ridge.
Additional Publication Details
Porosity evolution of upper Miocene reefs, Almeria Province, southern Spain
American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin
American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)