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An Update of the Ne Mediterranean Geological Framework (Offshore Cyprus and Lebanon)

Solon Kassinis, Lucien Montadert, Fadi H. Nader, and Per Helge Semb

Speculative 2D and 3D geophysical surveys acquired on behalf of Cyprus and Lebanon for promoting hydrocarbons exploration, shed a new light on the geological framework of this part of the Eastern Mediterranean. Several domains can be distinguished resulting from the main following events:

● The fragmentation of the northern margin of Pangea by rifting from the Triassic to the Middle Jurassic followed by spreading along a set of WNW –ESE transform faults and the separation of a continental sliver, the Eratosthenes Continental Block (ECB) from Arabia. Consequently, Mesozoic and Cenozoic deep basins with thin continental or oceanic crust were formed: the Levant Basin and the Herodotus Basin. While the ECB was covered by carbonate platforms until the Upper Cretaceous like the conjugate Levant Continental margin, 12 to 15 km of deep water sediments accumulated in the basins since the Upper Jurassic.

● The formation of the Cyprus Arc started in the Upper Cretaceous due to the N-S convergence of Africa and Eurasia. Since then it has been an active margin. Its structure along strike was largely influenced by the pre-existing overthrusted tectonic domains in particular the ECB, and by the northward displacement of Arabia.

● Since the Oligocene until the Present, the progressive separation of Arabia from Africa had important sedimentary and tectonic consequences. While the Herodotus Basin is the main receptacle of the Nile sediments and is deformed by mass sediments slidings northward and by the south-vergent folds and thrusts of the Mediterranean Ridge, the Levant Basin was less tectonized. Of importance is the formation during the Miocene of a dense set of NW-SE faults and of anticlines, where large gas reserves have been found, and by N-S strike-slip faults along the Levant Margin linked to the Levant Transform Fault sheared zone, active since the Middle Miocene and still today.

Many plays for hydrocarbons Exploration are associated with this much diversified geological context.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90161©2013 AAPG European Regional Conference, Barcelona, Spain, 8-10 April 2013