, 61:22 | Cite as

Toarcian ammonitico rosso facies from the South Iberian Paleomargin (Betic Cordillera, southern Spain): paleoenvironmental reconstruction

  • Matías Reolid
  • Pascual Rivas
  • Francisco J. Rodríguez-Tovar
Original Article


The Toarcian ammonitico rosso facies were widespread in the Mediterranean Tethys (between 15 and 30°N latitude) in the North Gondwana Paleomargin (Apulian promontory and North African Margin) and southern Iberian Paleomargin (Betic Cordillera). These facies were associated with epi-oceanic slopes of a sedimentary swell-trough system related to the extensional phase of continental rifting. In the Median Subbetic (southern Iberian Paleomargin), ammonitico rosso facies show a progressive change through the Toarcian on the hemipelagic swells after the fragmentation of a carbonate platform. During the latest Pliensbachian to the Bifrons Zone (middle Toarcian), sedimentation was dominated by epi-oceanic limestone and marl with a high influence of neighboring shallow-water environments represented by common turbidite–tempestite beds (with foraminifera and ooids). Microfossils and trace fossils provide no evidence of oxygen-restricted conditions. In the Gradata Zone (middle Toarcian), the ammonitico rosso facies appear (red nodular limestone and marly-limestone rich in the trace fossils Phycodes, Planolites, Thalassinoides, and Chondrites). Progressively more pelagic conditions and a restricted influence of emergent lands and carbonate platforms are reflected by the reduced input of turbidite–tempestite beds and increase of ammonitellas and radiolaria. A sea-level fall affected the hemipelagic swell during the middle–late Toarcian and favored sediment-winnowing by currents, with subsequent nodulation. The combined action of burrowing, compaction, and dissolution controlled nodulation, which ranges from diffuse nodules to sharp-edged nodules. The sedimentation rate conditioned the time available for nodule growth, the migration of the Ca2+ and HCO3 precipitation horizon, and the degree of nodulation (from horizons with diffuse-edged nodules to semi-continuous to continuous layers formed by the coalescence of sharp-edged nodules).


Microfossils Trace fossils Pelagic swell Ammonitico rosso Subbetic Lower Jurassic 



The research activity was supported by Projects RYC-2009-04316 (Ramón y Cajal Program), CGL2012-33281 (Secretaría de Estado de I + D + I, Spain), RNM-3715 and P11-RNM-7408 (Junta de Andalucía), and UJA2011/12/17 (Universidad de Jaén-Caja Rural de Jaén), and the research groups RNM-178, RNM-200 (Junta de Andalucía). Authors warmly acknowledges Antonio Piedra (Laboratory of Geology, Universidad de Jaén), whose help in sample preparation (polished slabs and thin-sections) was very helpful. The authors thank the editor Maurice Tucker and two anonymous reviewers for constructive comments that improved the manuscript. We thank Jean Sanders for reviewing the grammar.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matías Reolid
    • 1
  • Pascual Rivas
    • 2
  • Francisco J. Rodríguez-Tovar
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento de GeologíaUniversidad de JaénJaénSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de Estratigrafía y PaleontologíaUniversidad de GranadaGranadaSpain

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