Messinian erosional and salinity crises: View from the Provence Basin (Gulf of Lions, Western Mediterranean)
Though the late Miocene "Messinian Salinity Crisis" has been intensely researched along the circum-Mediterranean basins, few studies have focused on the central part of the Mediterranean Basin and, especially, the pre-salt deposits. To improve our knowledge of the Messinian events, it is imperative to better understand this domain. In this study, we provide a more complete understanding of this central domain in the Provence Basin. We were able to recognize: a) thick marine detrital series (up to 1000 m) derived from the Messinian subaerial erosion which is partly prolongated in the distal part by b) a thick unit of deep marine deposits (up to 800 m) prior to the evaporites; c) a thick presumed alternation of detritals and evaporites (1500 m) below the mobile halite; and d) a two-step transgression at the end of the Messinian. Spatially, we document the eroded shelf to the deep basin (and from the western to the eastern parts of the Gulf of Lions), and temporally, we extend the interpretations from the early deposition of detritic sediments to the final sea-level rise. The results provide a new basis for discussion not only for the development of the Messinian Salinity Crisis but also for the reconstruction of the subsidence history of the Provence Basin.