The Early Pliocene reflooding in the Western Mediterranean: New insights from the rias of the Internal Rif, Morocco
New field and micropalaeontological investigations have been conducted in four of the Pliocene rias of the internal zone of the Rif in Morocco, on the southern margin of the Alboran Sea. We found that marine sediments outcropping in these rias were deposited mainly during the Early Zanclean, between 5.04 and 3.8 Ma. After a transgressive episode that led to the deposition of terrestrial to marine conglomerates, dark clays deposited first at shallow palaeo-depths and then at bathyal palaeo-depths. The rias were then infilled with a shallowing upward succession comprising marine clays and sandstone and, locally, terrestrial sediments that indicate their final emersion. No Gilbert-deltas were observed in these rias. The presence of transgressive deposits at the bottom of the rias, also identified in other basins of the external zone of the Rif, and the absence of Gilbert deltas question a catastrophic reflooding after the Messinian Salinity Crisis in this area.
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