Abstract

Interpretation of 2D long-offset multi-client seismic data acquired by CGGVeritas in 2004–5 has allowed the distribution and composition of the Messinian salinity crisis (MSC) facies to be mapped across the offshore Sirt Basin, Libya. The results reveal that only the Lower and Upper Evaporites are present within the marginal offshore Sirt Basin, with the middle halite unit confined to the deeper basin. The Upper Evaporites, ‘Lago Mare’, are characterized by a period of fluctuating base level and strong water salinity changes controlled by astronomical precession. They consist of interbedded evaporites and clastics with a total of seven precessional cycles recognized, each associated with erosional sub-aerial channels interpreted to have been created by the Eosahabi rivers sourced from the flooding of Neogene Lake Chad. The Lower Evaporites display a high relief, irregular topography which strongly controls the distribution of the overlying Lago Mare facies. They have an overall chaotic high amplitude response with very little internal structure and are interpreted to represent mass transport complex deposits of the Re-sedimented Lower Gypsum unit. There is a strong correlation between the distribution and composition of the MSC facies and the quality of seismic imaging.

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