Hydrocarbon plays and prospectivity of the Mediterranean Ridge
Avraam Zelilidis, Aggelos Maravelis, and Panagiotis Konstantopoulos
The Mediterranean Ridge, the largest physiographic feature in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, is thought to be an accretionary complex, resulting from the convergence of the African and Eurasian plates, stretches from the Calabrian Rise in the west to the Florence Rise in the east, a distance of 1500 km. The Ridge width changes from about 150 to 300 km, and it has an arcuate southward convex shape, almost parallel to the Hellenic Arc. The Ridge is bordered on the north by a number of deep and narrow trenches forming the Hellenic Trench system (H.T.S). From west to east the trenches are: Ionian, Matapan, Gortis, Ptolemy, Poseidon, Pliny and Strabo. The southern boundary of the M.R. is delineated by a chain of flat abyssal plains (A.P.) adjoin to the African margin, the Messina (Ionian), the Sirte and the Herodotus A.P. The presence of a salt layer in the upper deforming sequence (Late Miocene evaporites) and the unusually great thickness of the incoming sediment column differentiate the Mediterranean Ridge from most other accretionary complexes. Mud volcanoes are present in M.R. Their occurrence is broadly distributed throughout the globe in predominantly active margins, often situated along faults, fault-related folds, and anticline axes. These structures act as preferential pathways for deep fluids to gather and ultimately reach the surface. Mud volcanoes episodically experience violent eruptions of large amounts of gas mixed with water, oil, mud and rock fragments forming the so called ‘‘mud breccia’’. Various lithotypes within the study area since Carboniferous to Pleistocene can act as potential source, reservoir and seal rocks whereas several potential hydrocarbon plays have been recognized. These include: post-salt (Pliocene to recent) sands, anticlines and faulted anticlines in the Paleozoic to Pliocene, fault blocks and combined fault/stratigraphic traps in Mesozoic to Pliocene, sub-Messinian salt plays, diapiric processes and mud diapirism.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90161©2013 AAPG European Regional Conference, Barcelona, Spain, 8-10 April 2013