Gas escape along the Palmachim disturbance in the Levant Basin, offshore Israel

Ovie Emmanuel Eruteya, Moshe Reshef, Zvi Ben-Avraham, Nicolas Waldmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


High-resolution seismic reflection and bathymetry data are analyzed to investigate the subsurface configurations promoting fluid escape along the Palmachim disturbance; a 20 km × 10 km gravitational collapse structure, offshore southern Israel. The dataset reveals seabed pockmarks with diameters ranging between 200 and 500 m, and depth of <50 m. A significant number of the pockmarks are located along ridge-like structures associated with compression, while an outlier is proximal to a turbidite channel. Seismic attribute analyses reveal a series of fluid-related amplitude anomalies within Quaternary sediments. We propose the onset of subsurface fluid flow to be synchronous with the evolution of the Palmachim disturbance, which was likely triggered by local seismicity. Our results suggest fluids from pre-Messinian strata exploited deformational pathways in the overburden to reach shallower levels where they were sequestered and redistributed in transient reservoirs (mass-transport complexes and channel-levee complex). The fluids are either focused toward the seafloor for expulsion or migrating into the ridges, providing four-way closure and accommodation. However, the fluids may also have no (pre)Messinian component, being locally sourced biogenic methane within the channel-levee complex. Under both scenarios, elevated pore-pressure resulted in hydrofracturing of the seafloor sediment and expulsion of fluids creating the pockmarks. The discovery of enhanced fluid escape through the Palmachim disturbance represents a new source of global methane not previously accounted for in carbon budgets from this region of the Mediterranean Sea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)868-879
Number of pages12
JournalMarine and Petroleum Geology
StatePublished - Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors like to acknowledge the reviewers, Tiago Alves and Qiliang Sun for an excellent review of the manuscript and associate editor Silvia Ceramicola for her support to this work. Ovie Emmanuel Eruteya is grateful to the Graduate Studies Authority at the University of Haifa and Marie Curie Career Integration Grants (CIG) FP7-PEOPLE-2011-CIG under the framework of N. Waldmann's GASTIME project for funding his doctoral research. Schlumberger, Paradigm and IHS Kingdom are acknowledged for providing academic licenses of their respective software packages to the University of Haifa. Yizhaq Makovsky, Yaniv Marig, Or Bialik, Kamal'deen Omosanya, Yakufu Niyazi and Muhedeen Lawal are thanked for fruitful discussions. Claudia Bertoni and Mathieu Rodriguez are acknowledged for reviewing an earlier draft of the manuscript. Also, Joe Cartwright and Claudia Bertoni are thanked for sharing valuable insight on the research during the short-term scientific mission (STSM) of Ovie to the Shell Geoscience Laboratory at the University of Oxford, under the framework of COST Action [CA15103 -MEDSALT]. In loving memory of Dr. Jonathan O. Eruteya.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd


  • Fluid escape
  • Jonathan depression
  • Jonathan weld
  • Levant Basin
  • Messinian evaporites
  • Palmachim disturbance
  • Pockmarks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Geophysics
  • Geology
  • Economic Geology
  • Stratigraphy


Dive into the research topics of 'Gas escape along the Palmachim disturbance in the Levant Basin, offshore Israel'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this