Coincidence or not? Interconnected gas/fluid migration and ocean–atmosphere oscillations in the Levant Basin

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A growing number of studies on shallow marine gas/fluid systems from across the globe indicate their abundance throughout geological epochs. However, these episodic events have not been fully integrated into the fundamental concepts of continental margin development, which are thought to be dictated by three elements: tectonics, sedimentation and eustasy. The current study focuses on the passive sector of the Levant Basin on the eastern Mediterranean continental margin where these elements are well constrained, in order to isolate the contribution of gas/fluid systems. Single-channel, multichannel and 3D seismic reflection data are interpreted in terms of variance, chaos, envelope and sweetness attributes. Correlation with the Romi-1 borehole and sequence boundaries constrains interpretation of seismic stratigraphy. Results show a variety of fluid- or gas-related features such as seafloor and subsurface pockmarks, volumes of acoustic blanking, bright spots, conic pinnacle mounds, gas chimneys and high sweetness zones that represent possible secondary reservoirs. It is suggested that gas/fluid migrate upwards along lithological conduits such as falling-stage systems tracts and sequence boundaries during both highstands and lowstands. In all, 13 mid-late Pleistocene sequence boundaries are accompanied by independent evidence of 13 eustatic sea-level drops. Whether this connection is coincidental or not requires further research. These findings fill gaps between previously reported sporadic appearances throughout the Levant Basin and margin and throughout geological time from the Messinian until the present day, and create a unified framework for understanding the system as a whole. Repetitive appearance of these features suggests that their role in the morphodynamics of continental margins is more important than previously thought and thus may constitute one of the key elements of continental margin development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-306
Number of pages14
JournalGeo-Marine Letters
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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