Chronostratigraphic framework and evolution of the Fortuna basin (Eastern Betics) since the Late Miocene
A Tortonian to Pliocene magnetostratigraphy of the Fortuna basin supports a new chronostratigraphic framework, which is significant for the palaeogeographical and geodynamic evolution of the Eastern Betics in SE Spain. The Neogene Fortuna basin is an elongated trough which formed over a left-lateral strike-slip zone in the Eastern Betics in the context of the convergence between the African and Iberian plates. Coeval with other basins in the Alicante-Cartagena area (Eastern Betics), rapid initial subsidence in the Fortuna basin started in the Tortonian as a result of WNW±ESE stretching. This led to transgression and deposition of marine sediments over extensive areas in open connection with the neighbouring basins. Since the late Tortonian, N-S to NW-SE compression led to inversion of older extensional structures. The transpressional tectonics along the NE-SW-trending Alhama de Murcia Fault is related to the rising of a structural high which isolated the Fortuna basin from the open Mediterranean basin. The progression of basin confinement is indicated by the development of restricted marine environments and deposition of evaporites (7.8-7.6 Ma). The new basin configuration favoured rapid sediment accumulation and marine regression. The basin subsided rapidly during the Messinian, leading to the accumulation of thick continental sequences. During the Pliocene, left-lateral shear along the Alhama de Murcia Fault caused synsedimentary folding, vertical axis block rotations and uplift of both the basin and its margins. The overall sedimentary evolution of the Fortuna basin can be regarded as a developing pull-apart basin controlled by NE-SW strike-slip faults. This resembles the evolution that has taken place in some areas of the Eastern Alboran basin since the late Tortonian.