Salt diapirs in the Dead Sea basin and their relationship to Quaternary extensional tectonics

Marine and Petroleum Geology
By:  and 



Regional extension of a brittle overburden and underlying salt causes differential loading that is thought to initiate the rise of reactive diapirs below and through regions of thin overburden. We present a modern example of a large salt diapir in the Dead Sea pull-apart basin, the Lisan diapir, which we believe was formed during the Quaternary due to basin transtension and subsidence. Using newly released seismic data that are correlated to several deep wells, we determine the size of the diapir to be 13 x 10 km. its maximum depth 7.2 km. and its roof 125 m below the surface. From seismic stratigraphy, we infer that the diapir started rising during the early to middle Pleistocene as this section of the basin underwater rapid subsidence and significant extension of the overburden. During the middle to late Pleistocene, the diapir pierced through the extensionally thinned overburden, as indicated by rim synclines, which attest to rapid salt withdrawal from the surrounding regions. Slight positive topography above the diapir and shallow folded horizons indicate that it is still rising intermittently. The smaller Sedom diapir, exposed along the western bounding fault of the basin is presently rising and forms a 200 m-high ridge. Its initiation is explained by localized E-W extension due monoclinal draping over the edge of a rapidly subsiding basin during the early to middle Pleistocene, and its continued rise by lateral squeezing due to continued rotation of the Amazyahu diagonal fault. 

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Salt diapirs in the Dead Sea basin and their relationship to Quaternary extensional tectonics
Series title Marine and Petroleum Geology
DOI 10.1016/S0264-8172(01)00031-9
Volume 18
Issue 7
Year Published 2001
Language English
Contributing office(s) Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description 19 p.
Larger Work Title Marine and Petroleum Geology
First page 779
Last page 797
Other Geospatial Dead Sea basin
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