The AsturianBasin within the North Iberian margin (Bay of Biscay): seismic characterisation of its geometry and its Mesozoic and Cenozoic cover
The distribution and structure of the Mesozoic and Cenozoic cover within the central part of the North Iberian Margin (Bay of Biscay) is analysed based on a dense set of 2D seismic reflection lines and logs. The integration of well data allows the recognition of seven seismostratigraphic units and the construction of a surface that illustrates the 3D morphology of this area at the time of the Jurassic rifting. The study zone comprises what is known as Le Danois Bank, a basement high, and the Asturian Basin, one of the sedimentary basins originated during the Iberian rifting at the end of the Paleozoic. Its development continued with the oceanisation of the Bay of Biscay as a failed arm of the Atlantic rift; later, during the Cenozoic, a drastic change in tectonic regime induced the partial closure of Biscay and building up the CantabrianPyrenean chain along the northern border of Iberia. This compressional period left its imprint in the Asturian Basin sediments in the form of a mild inversion and general uplift. The geometry of the basin bottom appears as an asymmetric bowl thinning out towards the edges, with a main E-W depocenter, separated by E-W striking faults from a secondary one. Those bounding faults show twisted trends in the north, interpreted as a consequence of the compressional period, when a transfer zone in a N-S direction formed between the two E-W striking deformation fronts in Biscay. This study shows that the transfer zone extends further to the west, reaching the longitude of Le Danois Bank. The maximum thickness of the filling within the Asturian Basin is estimated in more than 10 km, deeper than assessed in previous studies. The recognition of frequent halokynetic structures at this longitude is another observation worth to remark. Based on this study, it is suggested that the basin formed on top of a distal basement block of stretched crust limiting with the hyperextended rifted domain of Biscay. This location largely conditioned its deformation during the late compression.