The Upper Oligocene of Montgat (Catalan Coastal Ranges, Spain): New age constrains to the western Mediterranean Basin opening


  • D. Parcerisa École des Mines de Paris
  • D. Gómez-Gras Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
  • E. Roca Universitat de Barcelona
  • J. Madurell i Malapeira ICREA, Institute of Human Paleoecology
  • J. Agustí Ballester ICREA, Institute of Human Paleoecology



Catalan Coastal Ranges, Compression, Alluvial fan, Chattian, Micromammal, Catalan Intraplate Chain.


The Oligocene deposits of Montgat are integrated in a small outcrop made up of Cenozoic and Mesozoic rocks located in the Garraf-Montnegre horst, close to the major Barcelona fault. The Oligocene of Montgat consists of detrital sediments of continental origin mainly deposited in alluvial fan environments; these deposits are folded and affected by thrusts and strike-slip faults. They can be divided in two lithostratigraphic units separated by a minor southwest-directed thrust: (i) the Turó de Montgat Unit composed of litharenites and lithorudites with high contents of quartz, feldspar, plutonic and limestone rock fragments; and (ii) the Pla de la Concòrdia Unit composed of calcilitharenites and calcilithorudites with high contents of dolosparite and dolomicrite rock fragments. The petrological composition of both units indicates that sediments were derived from the erosion of Triassic (Buntsandstein, Muschelkalk and Keuper facies), Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous rocks (Barremian to Aptian in age). Stratigraphic and petrological data suggest that these units correspond to two coalescent alluvial fans with a source area located northwestwards in the adjoining Collserola and Montnegre inner areas. Micromammal fossils (Archaeomys sp.) found in a mudstone layer of the Pla de la Concòrdia Unit assign a Chattian age (Late Oligocene) to the studied materials. Thus, the Montgat deposits are the youngest dated deposits affected by the contractional deformation that led to the development of the Catalan Intraplate Chain. Taking into account that the oldest syn-rift deposits in the Catalan Coastal Ranges are Aquitanian in age, this allows to precise that the change from a compressive to an extensional regime in this area took place during latest Oligocene-earliest Aquitanian times. This age indicates that the onset of crustal extension related to the opening of the western Mediterranean Basin started in southern France during latest Eocene-early Oligocene and propagated southwestward, affecting the Catalan Coastal Ranges and the northeastern part of the Valencia trough during the latest Chattian-earliest Aquitanian times.

Author Biographies

D. Parcerisa, École des Mines de Paris

Centre de Géosciences

E. Roca, Universitat de Barcelona

Dept. de Geodinàmica i Geofísica, Facultat de Geologia.




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