Abstract

Isolated carbonate platforms (ICPs) are spectacular features of Mediterranean geology. There has been a resurgence of interest in the resource potential of ICPs in the region following recent exploration success in this play in the eastern Mediterranean. These features have developed in the context of the geologic evolution of the Mediterranean region over the last 250 million years. Their depositional architecture and seismic expression can be very different from that of isolated platforms developed elsewhere and at different times, particularly the Tertiary platforms of Southeast Asia that have formed the basis of much of the industry literature on the seismic characteristics of ICPs. Important differences arise from the fact that Mediterranean ICPs developed on microcontinents in an active tectonic environment featuring both extension and compression, from the range of carbonate factories that have characterized their development, and from the prolonged nature of exposure that they have periodically experienced. These differences can render the application of some criteria documented in the literature for identification of ICPs problematic in a Mediterranean context. While it is difficult to propose universally applicable criteria for identifying Mediterranean ICPs, locating and mapping the position of the platform slope, often relatively easily identified on seismic data except where hidden by subsequent compressional deformation, is probably the most robust criteria.

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