Modes of gas migration and seepage on the salt-rooted Palmahim Disturbance, southeastern Mediterranean

Muhedeen A. Lawal, Or M. Bialik, Michael Lazar, Nicolas D. Waldmann, Anneleen Foubert, Yizhaq Makovsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mass transport complexes often form key elements of petroleum systems, affecting sedimentary structures, seepage pathways and biodiversity hotspots on the seafloor. Yet, the feedback and interaction between these elements is not well constrained. This study investigates the modes of gas accumulation, migration, and seepage at the toe of Palmahim Disturbance (PD), a major salt-rooted mass transport complex across the southeastern Mediterranean margin, and adjacent edge of the eastern deep-sea fan of the Nile. Interpretation of a 3D time migrated seismic reflection dataset was calibrated with visual seafloor observations of active seepage. The toe of PD, in the eastern part of the study area, comprises four km-scale NE-SW oriented bathymetric ridges. At the crests of the eastern three of these ridges are six, hundreds-of-meters wide pockmark systems, four of which host verified seeps. Multiple sub-circular tens-of-meters wide pockmarks are mapped in the Nile fan west of PD. Active seepage was also identified within two elongate pockmarks along the flanks of the bordering Levant Channel. The seismic data reveal that the PD toe pockmarks and ridges overlie anomalous high amplitude seismic reflections (HASRs) from just beneath the surface to hundreds-of-meters deep intervals - below, at the base of and within a buried paleo mass transport deposit (MTD). These HASRs are interpreted to represent multiple gas-bearing intervals within thrust-faulted and folded blocks and their intermittent sealing, primarily at the base of the MTD. The Nile fan pockmarks overlie pervasive sub-seafloor HASRs that are overlain by low amplitude reflections, interpreted as gas-bearing channel-lobe sediments. Gas migration occurs via lateral to updip flow within depositional features and deeper folded sediments, and via sub-vertical flow, associated with the formation and leakage of transient reservoirs. Extension of fan sediments towards the PD pockmarks suggests additional updip focusing of gas, complementing sub-vertical gas flow to the PD pockmarks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106256
JournalMarine and Petroleum Geology
StatePublished - Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd


  • Channel-lobe system
  • Gas migration
  • Mass transport complex
  • Palmahim Disturbance
  • Pockmark
  • Reservoir characterization
  • Salt tectonics
  • Seafloor habitat
  • Seal leakage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Geophysics
  • Geology
  • Economic Geology
  • Stratigraphy


Dive into the research topics of 'Modes of gas migration and seepage on the salt-rooted Palmahim Disturbance, southeastern Mediterranean'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this