Three-dimensional seismic imaging and well calibration reveal a large allochthonous mud edifice that is composed of several mud extrusions and covers an area >740 km2 on the outer shelf slope of the Nile Delta. The allochthonous material was sourced from beneath the ~1-km-thick Messinian evaporites in the Eastern Mediterranean and extruded synchronously as eight large mud volcanoes directly on top of the Messinian evaporites in a catastrophic remobilization event at the end of the Messinian salinity crisis. These large extrusive flows coalesced to form a single edifice with an exceptional volume of ~292 km3 that is connected to eight widely spaced conduits. We argue that this large mud body represents a new morphological type and scale of mud extrusion. We propose that mud extrusions that coalesce on a surface forming a multi-conduit-fed edifice be referred to as mud canopies, by analogy with salt canopies, with implications for basin reconstruction, paleo–overpressure release events, and fluid migration.
Research Article| May 12, 2020
The genesis of a giant mud canopy by catastrophic failure of a thick evaporite sealing layer
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Chris Kirkham, Joe Cartwright, Claudia Bertoni, Pieter Van Rensbergen; The genesis of a giant mud canopy by catastrophic failure of a thick evaporite sealing layer. Geology doi: https://doi.org/10.1130/G47430.1
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