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The Mesozoic history of the Pyrenean region was dominated by the opening of the North Atlantic Ocean and the left-lateral movement of Iberia relative to Europe. Most deformation was tensional or transtensional, but this style was interrupted by several short compressional events, perhaps related to bends in the transform plate boundary or minor changes in plate movement directions. These compressional events were recorded by deformation adjacent to and above salt structures, which were the weakest parts of the system and so served as especially sensitive strain barometers.
The alternation of extension and shortening controlled the location and style of salt structures. Evaporites were initially deformed during the latest Jurassic–Early Cretaceous Neocimmerian transpression, which formed salt-cored anticlines above west-northwest–east-southeast–trending basement faults. Transtension in the Aptian–Albian caused salt domes to pierce to the surface at the intersections of these anticlines with reactivated northwest-southeast– and northeast-southwest–trending basement structures. Transtension was at least locally interrupted by brief periods of transpression at the Aptian–Albian and Albian–Cenomanian boundaries. Transpression shortened the diapirs, causing rotation, uplift, and erosion of beds near the salt. Most diapirs were buried during the Late Cretaceous. In some cases, postburial hydrothermal circulation dissolved much of the halite, causing the diapirs to sag and the basins to form in roof strata. Finally, the entire region was shortened during the Late Cretaceous–Tertiary Pyrenean orogeny, which greatly distorted many of the preexisting geometries.
Joseph Canérot received his Thèse d'Etat, Sciences, from the University of Toulouse in 1974. He held academic positions at the University Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, and served as a consulting sedimentologist for Total-Elf Oil Company (1986–1988), Instituto Mexicano del Petroleo (1992), and China National Oil Company (1996–2002). Now retired, he is continuing his research in the Pyrenees. He is also involved in a variety of projects dealing with environmental science.Mike Hudec received his Ph.D. from the University of Wyoming in 1990. He has worked for Exxon Production Research and taught at Baylor University. He joined the Bureau of Economic Geology in 2000, where he is codirector of the Applied Geodynamics Laboratory. His current research interests include palinspastic restoration of salt structures, salt-sheet emplacement mechanisms, and minibasin initiation.
Konrad Rockenbauch studied in Stuttgart, where he received his Ph.D. in 1984. He has 3 years of university research practice and 20 years of petroleum and exploration industry experience. In BEB and ExxonMobil, he has been involved in salt tectonics and inversion tectonics projects. Currently, he focuses on the development of carbonate source gas fields and tight-gas reservoirs.