Muñoz-López, D., Cruset, D., Vergés, J., Cantarero, I., Benedicto, A., Mangenot, X., Albert, R., Gerdes, A., Beranoaguirre, A., & Travé, A. (2022). Spatio-temporal variation of fluid flow behavior along a fold: The Bóixols-Sant Corneli anticline (Southern Pyrenees) from U–Pb dating and structural, petrographic and geochemical constraints. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 143, 105788.


This study integrates field structural data, petrographic and geochemical (δ18O, δ13C, Δ47, 87Sr/86Sr, and elemental composition) analyses and U–Pb dating of calcite veins cutting the Bóixols-Sant Corneli anticline (Southern Pyrenees) in order to date and to investigate the spatio-temporal relationships between fluid flow and fold evolution. This E-W trending anticline grew from Late Cretaceous to Paleocene at the front of the Bóixols thrust sheet deforming pre-growth and growth sedimentary sequences. U–Pb dating reveals Late Cretaceous to late Miocene deformation ages, which agree with the age of growth strata deposition and the sequence of deformation interpreted from field and microstructural data. Dates coeval (71.2 ± 6.4 to 56.9 ± 1.4 Ma) and postdating (55.5 ± 1.2 to 27.4 ± 0.9 Ma) Upper Cretaceous to Paleocene growth strata are interpreted to record: (i) the growth of the Bóixols-Sant Corneli anticline during the Bóixols thrust emplacement, and (ii) the tightening of the anticline during the southern tectonic transport of the South-Central Pyrenean Unit. Other ages (20.8 ± 1.2 to 9.0 ± 4.6 Ma) postdate the folding event and have been associated with the collapse of the Bóixols-Sant Corneli anticline. The geochemistry of calcite veins indicates that the fluid flow behavior varied across the Bóixols-Sant Corneli anticline through its growth, showing a compartmentalized fluid system. In the hinge of the anticline and in the upper Santonian to middle Campanian syn-orogenic sequence along the footwall of the Bóixols thrust, the similar petrographic and geochemical features between all calcite cements and host rocks point towards a locally-derived or well-equilibrated fluid system. Contrarily, along large faults such as the Bóixols thrust, and in the anticline limbs, the geochemistry of vein cements indicates a different scenario. Cements in large faults yielded the lightest δ18O values, from −8 to −14 ‰VPDB, and variable enrichment in δ13C, 87Sr/86Sr, elemental composition and δ18Ofluid. This is interpreted as the migration of fluids, through fault zones, that evolved from distinct fluid origins. Cements in the fold limbs exhibit δ18O and δ13C between −8 and −6 ‰VPDB and between −10 and + 2 ‰VPDB, respectively, the lowest Sr contents and the lowest precipitation temperatures, suggesting that the anticline limbs recorded the infiltration and evolution of meteoric waters. The paleohydrological system in the Bóixols-Sant Corneli anticline was restricted to the Bóixols thrust sheet. The Upper Triassic evaporitic basal detachment likely acted as a lower fluid barrier, preventing the input of fluids from deeper parts of the Pyrenean crustal thrust system. This study provides a well-constrained absolute timing of fracturing and fluid flow during basin inversion and folding evolution and highlights the suitability of U–Pb geochronology to refine the age of fractures and veins and their sequential evolution in orogenic belts.

Original article

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