Salt-related gravity-driven processes in the Levant Basin, Eastern Mediterranean: Insights from physical modeling

Th Anagnostoudi, B. C. Vendeville, V. Gaullier, O. Ferrer, U. Schattner, M. Lazar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The characterization of salt tectonics and its gravity-driven deformation processes are the key to a better understanding of the structural evolution of salt-bearing rifted margins. Unlike most salt basins that have experienced long-lasting deformation, the Messinian evaporites in the Levant Basin have been moderately deformed, offering the opportunity to study the early stage of salt tectonic deformation. Despite the availability of seismic reflection, borehole and bathymetrical data, some uncertainties still exist about the mechanisms responsible for the deformation and structural features observed in the deep-water Levant Basin. Our study includes physical experiments based on published seismic and structural interpretations conducted in the Levant Basin. Our physical experiments take into consideration the main driving parameters that controlled the development of the deep-water Levant Basin, testing the interplay and impact of gravity gliding and spreading from the Levant Margin, gravity spreading from the Nile Deep Sea Fan, and the influence of the passive buttress of the Eratosthenes Seamount. Deformation was imposed by depositing successive sand lobes and/or by tilting the experimental table. The physical models included a thick viscous silicone layer, analogue of the Messinian evaporitic sequence, overlain by a granular overburden, simulating the brittle clastic post-Messinian succession. Results show that the prominent gravity-driven force affecting the deformation pattern of the deep-water Levant Basin is the gravity spreading from the Nile Deep Sea Fan, whereas gravity spreading and gliding from the Levant Margin affect only the proximal to the margin areas. Additionally, the buttressing effect of the Eratosthenes Seamount and the location of the salt basin pinch-out played an important role in the final deformation pattern of this region of the Eastern Mediterranean.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105134
JournalJournal of Structural Geology
StatePublished - Jun 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Elsevier Ltd


  • Analogue modeling
  • Deep-water levant basin
  • Gravity gliding and spreading
  • Nile deep sea fan
  • Salt tectonics
  • Strike-slip faults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


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