Multiphase Structural Evolution and Geodynamic Implications of Messinian Salt-Related Structures, Levant Basin, Offshore Israel

K. H. Kartveit, K. O. Omosanya, S. E. Johansen, O. E. Eruteya, M. Reshef, N. D. Waldmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Speculations surround salt deformation in the Mediterranean Basins, both related to the deformation history and the triggers for halokinesis since the onset of the Messinian Salinity Crisis. This work presents a detailed description of the mechanisms driving internal and external deformation of a salt giant from the Levant Basin, offshore Israel. The intrasalt siliciclastic layers generate good internal reflectivity within the Messinian evaporites, allowing a thorough elucidation of the complex evolution and nature of syn-Messinian and post-Messinian structures. We have identified three distinct phases of deformation in the deep basin, based on the orientation, timing, and geometry of their related structures: The first phase is characterized by small-scaled, gravity-driven, contractional faults and folds oriented N-S that have been overprinted by a second syn-Messinian, NW-SE trending, deformation phase affecting the clastic bundles. This latter deformation phase is the cause of truncation of the intrasalt stringers on the intra-Messinian truncation surface. The third deformation phase occurred in the Pleistocene and affected all strata from the Messinian salt to the seabed. This deformational phase produced thrust, strike-slip, and normal faults, but the dominant orientation of the thrust faults and folds is NNW-SSE. Our study demonstrates that the first deformation phase was caused by regional uplift along the Levant margin during the Messinian, the second is a response to basin subsidence toward the Cyprus Arc, also syn-Messinian, and the third phase is likely related to the reorganization of the African-Eurasian plate boundary and activity along the Dead Sea Transform after the Messinian Salinity Crisis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1210-1230
Number of pages21
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge Christopher Jackson and an anonymous reviewer for their constructive reviews that improved the quality of this paper. We would also thank the Editor and Associate Editors for their effort. Kyrre is grateful to the Department of Geoscience and Petroleum, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), for sponsoring his PhD work. Kamal’ hereby expresses his sincere appreciation to the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) under the framework of COST Action CA15103 (MEDSALT) for funding his participation in this work via his short-term scientific mission (STSM) to the Basin Analysis and Petrophysical Laboratory, University of Haifa. Access to geophysical data was granted as part of the STSM visit. Schlumberger is thanked for provision of Petrel® for seismic interpretation. The seismic data from the study area are accessible on approval and compliance with due process from the Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources, State of Israel.

Publisher Copyright:
©2018. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.


  • Levant
  • Messinian
  • contraction
  • intrasalt
  • normal faults
  • strike-slip

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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