Late Pleistocene-Holocene history of the Ebro continental shelf of northeastern Spain is recorded in two main sedimentary units: (1) a lower, transgressive unit that covers the shelf and is exposed on the outer shelf south of 40??40???N, and (2) an upper, progradational, prodeltaic unit that borders the Ebro Delta and extends southward along the inner shelf. The lower transgressive unit includes a large linear shoal found at a water depth of 90 m and hardground mounds at water depths of 70-80 m. Some patches of earlier Pleistocene prodelta mud remain also, exposed or covered by a thin veneer of transgressive sand on the northern outer shelf. This relict sand sheet is 2-3 m thick and contains 9000-12,500 yr old oyster and other shells at water depths of 78-88 m. The upper prodelta unit covers most of the inner shelf from water depths of 20-80 m and extends from the present Ebro River Delta to an area to the southwest where the unit progressively thins and narrows. Interpretation of high-resolution seismic reflection data shows the following facies occurring progressively offshore: (1) a thick stratified facies with thin progradational "foresets beds", (2) a faintly laminated facies with sparse reflectors of low continuity, and (3) a thin transparent bottomset facies underlain by a prominent flat-lying reflector. Deposition in the northern half of the prodelta began as soon as the shoreline transgressed over the mid-shelf, but progradation of the southern half did not begin until about 1000-3000 yrs after the transgression. A classic deltaic progradational sequence is shown in the Ebro prodelta mud by (1) gradation of seismic facies away from the delta, (2) coarsening-upward sequences near the delta and fining-upward sequences in the distal mud belt deposits, and (3) thin storm-sand layers and shell lags in the nearshore stratified facies. The boundaries of the prodeltaic unit are controlled by increased current speeds on the outer shelf (where the shelf narrows) and by development of the shoreface sand body resulting from shoaling waves on the inner shelf. ?? 1990.
Additional publication details
Late Pleistocene and Holocene sedimentary facies on the Ebro continental shelf