Depositional environment and age of some key Late Pliocene to Early Quaternary deposits on the underfilled Cedrino paleovalley (Orosei): insight into the Neogene geodynamic evolution of Sardinia

P. Giresse, M. A. Bassetti, F. Chanier, V. Gaullier, A. Maillard, I. Thinon, J. Lofi, G. Lymer, J. Y. Reynaud, A. Negri, Myriam Saavedra-Pellitero

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In order to better constrain the relationship between tectonics and sedimentation of the Eastern Sardinian Margin, from the Messinian to the present day (METYSS project), a lithostratigraphic study was carried out on the Late Neogene deposits along the Cedrino Valley (eastern Sardinia). The late Neogene evolution is documented from sedimentological and tectonic analysis, biostratigraphic dating, and by mapping and logging stratigraphic sections. Previous authors have differentiated an early Pliocene marine formation from an older continental formation, possibly Miocene, the entire system being covered by late Pliocene to Quaternary lava flows. Preliminary biostratigraphic data suggest the absence of the lowermost Pliocene, based on the absence of Globorotalia margaritae and the presence of Globorotalia puncticulata, implying a sediment age between 3.81 and 2.41Ma. At the foot of the Fiuli cliff, some mud clasts include a coccolith microflora, Tortonian in age, suggesting reworking. The Pliocene marine deposits consist of a single filling sequence instead of a succession of superimposed sequences as we would expect during this period of time; the occurrences of terms rarely respect the usual transgressive-regressive succession. Contrasting bathymetric environments (fore-shore, pro-delta, shelf or upper slope) can be abruptly superimposed on top of the other, along few meter thick intervals. A rapidly flooded term is observed in several sites and indicates a spatial variability over only a few kilometers distance. Some deep water deposits are in the middle of the infilling Pliocene sequence, whereas shallower water deposits can be repeated along a vertical section, or even interrupted by emersion. These marked differences can express syn-, or possibly post-sedimentation tectonic uplifts. The 10-25° bed dips originated through local tectonic uplift. At Fiuli, the geometry of the bedding planes is indicative of tilting toward the west, in a direction opposite to the one observed at Onifai. These Pliocene series form a wide syncline with an approximately NNE-SSW axis. This morpho-structural behavior appears to be largely atypical of this East-Sardinian coastal area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-236
Number of pages17
JournalQuaternary International
Early online date9 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2015


  • biostratigraphy
  • seposits
  • Eastern Sardinia
  • Orosei
  • paleovalley
  • Upper Pliocene

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