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The Late Tertiary Deep-Water Siliciclastic System of the Levant Margin - From Emerging Play Offshore Israel

Gardosh, Michael A.1; Druckman, Yehezkel 2; Buchbinder, Binyamin 2
1 Geophysical Institute of Israel, Lod, Israel.
2 Geologic Survey of Israel, Jerusalem, Israel.

The upper Tertiary rocks of the Levant margin, in the southeastern Mediterranean Sea, are a largely undrilled sedimentary section with good potential. The 2-6 km thick, mud-dominated upper Tertiary strata consist of three general cycles: (a) lower Oligocene to lower Miocene; (b) middle to upper Miocene and (c) uppermost Miocene to Pliocene. The lower boundaries of these cycles comprise regional unconformities associated with relative sea-level falls. Seismic mapping reveals an extensive, vertically stacked drainage system composed of deeply incised submarine canyons and valleys that extend up to 100 kilometers west of the Mediterranean coastline. This regional drainage system on the Levant slope acted as a fairway for siliciclastic, submarine gravity flows from the shelf in the east to the deep basin in the west.

Recent well results from the southeastern part of the basin confirm the existence of sand within the Late Tertiary submarine canyons. Two types of stratigraphic plays are present: channel-fill sands in confined settings on the upper slope, and sheet sands and lobes in unconfined settings on the lower slope and basin floor. A combined stratigraphic-structural play is present in the central part of the basin where the strata of the two older, upper Tertiary sequences are deformed by large fold structures that formed during a late Miocene contractional episode. In the early 2000's, exploration of the Pliocene turbidite section resulted in the discovery of several large gas fields. Further drilling may prove the potential of the Late Tertiary deepwater play throughout the Levant Basin and margin.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90090©2009 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, Denver, Colorado, June 7-10, 2009