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Graham Brew1, Jacek Lupa1, Muawia Barazangi1, Tarif Sawaf2, Anwar Ai-Imam3, Tarek Zaza3
(1) Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
(2) Syrian Petroleum Company, Damascus, Syria
(3) Syrian Petroleum Company

Abstract: Tectonic development of the Dead Sea Fault System in Syria: The Ghab Basin

Seismic reflection data and gravity modeling, tied to well data and surface geology, yield the first detailed subsurface interpretation of the pull-apart Ghab Basin along the northern Dead Sea Fault System in western Syria. Up to 20 -25 km of sinistral movement since the Late Miocene, on a left-stepping jog on the fault, has created the rhomb-shaped Ghab Basin through normal faulting within the basin along roughly northwest-southeast oriented faults. The basin shows two distinct depocenters: A larger one in the south where the mainly Pliocene fill is up to ~3.5 km thick, and a smaller depocenter in the north of the basin. These patterns of faulting and asymmetric deposition correlate well with observations from other similar basins along the Dead Sea Fault System.

We interpret the development of the Syrian Coastal Ranges, directly west of the Ghab Basin, to be a consequence of both pre-Neogene broad episodic uplift, and a minor convergent component of oblique slip on the northern Dead Sea Fault in the Late Cenozoic.

Hydrocarbon plays are established in some pull-apart controlled basins, and hydrocarbon occurrences have been known in the southern Dead Sea Fault region for millennia. Deep drilling in the Ghab Basin indicates gas shows in the Middle Triassic, but further exploration is needed. Source rocks may be within the Lower Triassic section, or the regionally prolific Late Cretaceous Shiranish formation, possibly matured by rapid Cenozoic burial. Both fault traps and stratigraphic trapping are possible within the basin.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90914©2000 AAPG Annual Convention, New Orleans, Louisiana