Mesozoic and Cenozoic basins formation and deformation along the North African Margin
Francois M. Roure, Francois M. Roure, Piero Casero, and Belkacem Addoum
Because there is no evidence of vertical offset of the Moho beneath the Mediterranean arcs, we propose a new model of delamination of the North African continental lithosphere beneath the Central and Eastern Mediterranean arcs, where the ophiolitic sutures of the former Tethyan Ocean are indeed exposed in the hinterland. According to this model, only the infra-continental mantle of Apulia and the Eastern Mediterranean has been and is still locally subducted and recycled in the asthenosphere, the northern portion of the African crust and coeval Moho being currently decoupled from its former, currently delaminated and subducted mantle lithosphere. Late Cretaceous to Paleogene pre-collisional inversions are well documented in the autochthonous foreland in Algeria, Tunisia and deep Ionian offshore, where they predate the development of the overlying Miocene flexural basin. Post-suture transpression accounts also for late inversions of the underthrust foreland in the Southern Apennines, northern Sicily as well as beneath the Tellian allochthon in Algeria, whereas transtension and strainpartitioning near the back-stop have locally led to the development of thrust-top pull-apart basins in the Chelif area (Algerian Tell), San'Archangelo Basin (Southern Apennines), as well as on top of the Mediterranean Ridge off the western coast of Peloponnesus.
Recent oil and gas discoveries have been made in the Southern Apennines and Sicily. The knowledge of these various structural styles, source rock distribution and timing of their maturation provide useful analogues for assessing early foreland closures versus late subthrust prospects in the yet under-explored areas of the Algerian foothills, despite the fact that numerous seeps and oil shows have been evidenced, and the exploration risk in the deep Ionian offshore and beneath the Eastern Mediterranean Ridge.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90161©2013 AAPG European Regional Conference, Barcelona, Spain, 8-10 April 2013