Abstract

Marine geophysical data recorded offshore Egypt illustrate the presence of an active fault belt, trending N145°E, that obliquely transects the eastern Nile deep-sea fan. This belt, more than 150 km long, consists of a series of linear transtensive faults, with an apparent right-lateral horizontal component. These fault zones bound thick-sediment-filled grabens where linear salt ridges and diapirs represent likely Messinian salt reactive response to regional transcurrent geodynamics. We infer that this tectonic belt might correspond to an offshore extension of the Gulf of Suez rift system. If our hypothesis is correct, this fault belt might represent the western boundary of a Levantine-Sinai microplate, locked between the major Arabia and Africa plates and the Anatolian-Aegean microplate.

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