Minorca, an exotic Balearic island (western Mediterranean)


  • F. SÀBAT Departament de dinàmica de la Terra i de l’Oceà, Universitat de Barcelona.
  • B. GELABERT Departament de Geografia, Universitat de les Illes Balears Carretera de Valldemossa, km 7.5, 07122, Palma de Majorca
  • A. RODRÍGUEZ PEREA departament de Biologia, Universitat de les Illes Balears Carretera de Valldemossa, km 7.5, 07122, Palma de Majorca


Minorca, Balearic islands, Western Mediterranean, Stratigraphy, Structural Geology.


Despite forming part of the Balearic group of islands, Minorca differs stratigraphically and structurally from Majorca and Ibiza: i) Paleozoic rocks are abundant in Minorca but are very scarce in Majorca and are absent in Ibiza. Eocene-Oligocene sediments are virtually absent in Minorca but crop out extensively in Majorca, ii) Contractional structures in Minorca differ in direction (aligned SW-NE in Majorca and Ibiza and N-S in Minorca) and in age from those in Majorca and Ibiza. In addition, Paleozoic deposits of Minorca do not correlate with those of Sardinia, where in addition the Triassic sediments are not very abundant. Contractional deformation in Sardinia is in part older (late Eocene-early Miocene) than in Minorca (early Miocene?). Given its Neogene clockwise rotation, Minorca cannot be considered a small block dragged by the early Miocene counter clockwise rotation of the Corsica-Sardinia block. Furthermore, the Paleozoic and Mesozoic stratigraphy of Minorca (siliciclasticlate Paleozoic rocks, Triassic Germanic facies and Jurassic carbonates) has affinities with that of the southern part of the Catalan Coastal Ranges. Thus, of all the Balearic islands, Minorca seems to have traveled the farthest during the Valencia Trough rifting with the result that it resembles an exotic island forming part of the Balearic foreland.




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