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Modeling deformation and salt tectonics in the eastern Mediterranean Ridge accretionary wedge

E. Costa, A. Camerlenghi, A. Polonia, C. Cooper, P. Fabretti, A. Mosconi, P. Murelli, M. Romanelli, L. Sormani and N. Wardell
Modeling deformation and salt tectonics in the eastern Mediterranean Ridge accretionary wedge
Geological Society of America Bulletin (August 2004) 116 (7-8): 880-894


This study addresses some aspects of the kinematics and structural setting of the Mediterranean Ridge accretionary complex, particularly those aspects related to the occurrence and distribution of Messinian evaporites. The approach is by (1) identification of the geometry of deformation through reprocessing of existing multichannel seismic reflection data from the Levantine Basin, aimed at the definition of the velocity field and depth imaging; (2) physical modeling in the laboratory, aimed at the study of the kinematics of shortening of sedimentary sequences detaching on viscous decollements; and (3) comparison between the results of the two approaches. We conclude that the thick Messinian sequence of the Levantine Basin is composed primarily of salt, so that the entire evaporitic sequence can be expected to behave as a viscous material. It follows that the main detachment of the post-Messinian wedge is located at the base of the Messinian salt layer. A viscous (salt) decollement would produce thrusting trending normal to the shortening direction, but boundary conditions affect structural trends even more than stress and/or movement direction. Both strain partitioning and the formation of major strike-slip faults within the post-Messinian wedge are prevented by the high angle of convergence between the African and Aegean plates as well as by the low intraplate friction. In addition, we show that curved and anastomosing thrust fronts are reflected in the cobblestone topography of the Mediterranean Ridge. We finally postulate that extension may occur in the central Mediterranean Ridge as a result of the geometry of the plate boundaries. This extension is considered as a possible cause of mud volcanism and mud diapirism.

ISSN: 0016-7606
EISSN: 1943-2674
Serial Title: Geological Society of America Bulletin
Serial Volume: 116
Serial Issue: 7-8
Title: Modeling deformation and salt tectonics in the eastern Mediterranean Ridge accretionary wedge
Affiliation: Universita di Parma, Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Parma, Italy
Pages: 880-894
Published: 200408
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 73
Accession Number: 2004-057845
Categories: Solid-earth geophysicsApplied geophysics
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sects., 3 tables, geol. sketch map
N32°00'00" - N35°00'00", E20°00'00" - E30°00'00"
Secondary Affiliation: Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale-OGS, ITA, ItalyCNR, Istituto di Geologia Marina, ITA, ItalyEni-Agip Division, ITA, Italy
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2019, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 200417
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