Salt Tectonics in the South-Central Pyrenees

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Salt tectonics structures and their associated sediments are classic targets for hydrocarbon exploration. Recently, the south-central Pyrenees are becoming an excellent lab to test Mesozoic seismic-scale structures controlled by salt tectonics, in places not too overprinted by posterior Alpine compression. We illustrate analogue examples for drilled structures where seismic data do not provide an image, and we consider the role of salt in influencing the distribution of potential reservoir facies and fracturing in the adjacent hostrocks. This seminar is partially based on the paper Rising and falling diapirs, shifting depocenters, and flap overturning in the Cretaceous Sopeira and Sant Gervàs subbasins (Ribagorça basin, southern Pyrenees),Tectonics, 2016, by E. Saura, L. Ardèvol, A. Teixell and J. Vergés, and forthcoming papers in progress.

Cost: €900 (hotels and meals not included)
Dates 2019: September 29 – October 4
Guides: Lluís Ardèvol, Jaume Vergés, Steven Robinson and Jon Gutmanis
Location: south-central Pyrenees, the workshop begins and ends in Barcelona
Meeting point: Sunday 29, 14:00h: Cullera de Boix bar, 26 Ronda Sant Pere, Barcelona downtown
Trip end: Friday 4, 20:00h: meeting point
Delivery: field seminar
Physical demand: average hike (maximum 1h walk per day) with some hills



  • Sopeira minibasin (Ribagorça basin)
  • Triassic salt, shales and evaporites
  • Lower Cretaceous shoreface and foreshore grainstones
  • Upper Cretaceous shelf / reefal / outer shelf carbonates and flysch deposits


  • The north Iberian margin: from Cretaceous hyperextension to Tertiary compression
  • Minibasin formation: salt withdrawal versus listric faulting
  • Primary versus secondary minibasins; bowl, bucket and encased pods
  • Evidences of extensional faulting and rollovers; flip-flop salt walls
  • Large-scale and sub-seismic salt welds; carapace blocks along welds
  • Evidences of collapse of a salt ridge: crestal faults, fracturation and brecciation
  • Salt sheets, canopies and wings; cap rock remnants
  • Minibasin fill: facies, pinch-outs, halokinetic sequence stratigraphy, flysch
  • Perched, rotated and folded flaps, shale sheaths; megaflaps
  • Compressional stage: inversion of normal faults and thrusting
  • Oil exploration and petroleum systems; reservoir distribution, seal capacity of welds
  • 3-D digital outcrop models from drone photogrammetry