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Abstract: Structure and Tectonics of the South Caspian Sea

Mamed Aliev, Turkoz Ozbey

The South Caspian basin is a large Alpine intermontane trough located between Azerbaijan and Western Turkmenistan in the South Caspian Sea. It is about 500 km by 300 km in size. The sedimentary section ranges from 10-15 km thickness near the basin edges and reaches more than 20 km in the deepest part of the basin. All of the known hydrocarbon production is from the Pliocene-Quaternary section.

Characteristic features of the South Caspian basin include:

-- The enormous thickness of the sedimentary sections,

-- Thick, terrigenous Middle Pliocene sediments deposited under conditions of markedly contrasting tectonic movements - rapid sinking of the basin and growth of the surrounding mountain structures,

-- Extensive development of diapirism and mud volcanism and their geostructural association mainly with the marginal zones of the basin,

-- The block nature of the crystalline basement,

-- The close relationship of the western part of the South Caspian to the Kura Depression.

Individual structures can reach 35 kilometers in length with up to 3000 meters of closure. Structures are complicated by a high degree of crestal faulting, and commonly, mud diapirs and volcanoes. Based on the direction and intensity of structuring, five separate structural-tectonic regions can be identified within the South Caspian basin: the Apsheron-Balkhan Fold Zone, the Apsheron Archipelago, the Baku Archipelago, the Turkmen Structural Terrace, the Central Fold Zone of the South Caspian.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90956©1995 AAPG International Convention and Exposition Meeting, Nice, France