Geophysical characterization of the El Cervunal kame complex (Sierra de Gredos, Iberian Central System): Insight of infill geometry and reconstruction of former glacial formations

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Geological and geophysical studies in complex valley troughs provide a key record for the reconstruction of paleoenvironmental conditions during the Quaternary. Here we present a study of the sedimentary infill of the El Cervunal kame complex or El Cervunal trough (Sierra de Gredos, Iberian Central System) by means of a combined interpretation of near-surface geophysical techniques supported by geomorphological and borehole data. A set of 1D and 2D near-surface geophysical methods, including electrical (Vertical Electrical Sounding and 2D Electrical Resistivity Tomography), seismic (2D Seismic Tomography and 1D Refraction Microtremor) and Magnetic Resonance Sounding techniques, were used to test their applicability in providing better insight on the infill nature and geometry. Because of greater sensitivity and higher resolution and coverage achieved with resistivity methods, the electrical resistivity has proven to be the most informative physical parameter, while seismic and magnetic resonance methods were complementary. The sedimentary infill was classified into three geophysical units and five sub-units with their geological interpretation. Unit 1 consists of a postglacial sedimentary sequence and includes alluvial-plain and alluvial-fan deposits. Units 2 and 3 below the postglacial unit were interpreted as glacial sequences including kame (glacigenetic and fluvio-glacial) and morainic deposits, respectively. Subsoil information combined with the geomorphological data enabled the partial reconstruction of the map-view geometry of the morainic bodies at the El Cervunal trough. The results suggest a complex evolution of the study area where erosive-sedimentary processes dominate, but also structural factors should be considered. At least five well-differentiated stages can be established to explain the occurrence of the trough infill: pre-glacial, maximum glacial extension, trough obturation, glacial retreat and periglacial-postglacial.
CRUE-CSIC (Acuerdos Transformativos 2021)