International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 104, Issue 2, pp 419–434

Extensional salt tectonics in the partially inverted Cotiella post-rift basin (south-central Pyrenees): structure and evolution

  • Berta López-Mir
  • Josep Anton Muñoz
  • Jesús García-Senz
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00531-014-1091-9

Cite this article as:
López-Mir, B., Muñoz, J.A. & García-Senz, J. Int J Earth Sci (Geol Rundsch) (2015) 104: 419. doi:10.1007/s00531-014-1091-9


The Cotiella Massif in the south-central Pyrenees hosts upper Cretaceous gravity-driven extensional faults which were developed in the Bay of Biscay–Pyrenean paleorift margin of the Atlantic Ocean. They accommodate up to 6 km of post-rift carbonates above relict upper Triassic salt. Subsequent Pyrenean contractional deformation preserved the main extensional features, but most of the upper Triassic salt was expulsed and then dissolved, leaving little indications of the original salt volume. Nonetheless, several distinctive salt-related features are still recognizable both at outcrop and at basin scale, providing an exposed analogue for salt-floored extensional basins developed on passive margins. Based on field research, we re-interpret the tectonic evolution of the area and suggest that passive diapirs were coeval with gravity-driven extension during the development of the Cotiella basin. The given interpretations are supported with detailed geological maps, original structural data, cross sections and outcrop photographs. The discovery of previously unknown post-rift salt structures in the Cotiella Massif is an extra element to consider in the paleogeographic reconstructions of the upper Cretaceous passive margin of the Bay of Biscay–Pyrenean realm and consequently helps in our understanding of the evolution of current Atlantic-type margins.


Cotiella basin Pyrenees Post-rift basin Salt tectonics Extensional diapirs Passive margins 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Berta López-Mir
    • 1
  • Josep Anton Muñoz
    • 2
  • Jesús García-Senz
    • 3
  1. 1.CASPCambridgeUK
  2. 2.Departament de Geodinàmica i Geofísica, Facultat de Geologia, Institut GeomodelsUniversitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Instituto Geológico y Minero de España (IGME)Tres Cantos, MadridSpain

Personalised recommendations