AAPG Geoscience Technology Workshop

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Revised Tectonic Model for the Early Mesozoic Southern Levant Basin in Light of New Structural Evidences


It is currently widely agreed that the tectonic evolution of the Levant basin was dictated in the early Mesozoic by extensional processes associated with crustal thinning, rifting and opening of the Neo Tethys. Accordingly structural interpretations suggested patterns of early Mesozoic extensional horsts and grabens. The recent discovery of Dakar anticline, a deeply buried giant fold of early Jurassic age, highlighted an unexpected compressive structural style. Moreover, there was no evidence in our area of study for extensional fault blocks. Dakar was identified and studied from depth imaging of a 3D seismic data-set acquired in the Levant basin offshore Israel. The excellent quality deep seismic depth imaging provided for the first time unambiguous evidences on early Mesozoic major folding phases in the Levant basin. Dakar fold is buried under +6000 meters of younger sediments. The associated distinct magnetic anomaly indicates a basement involved structure, possibly penetrated by intrusives and locally covered by extrusives. Structural characteristics, such as very large size, lack of significant faulting, lack of distinct trend patterns and semi-circular shape suggest a basement involved dome, formed by sub vertical movements derived by deep processes. +2000 meters of onlapping pre-Senonian sequences indicate an early Jurassic age for the final folding phase. Re examination of another early Mesozoic giant, the NNE trending Jonah Ridge, suggests some structural analogy with Dakar, however unlike the semi-circular shape of Dakar, the Jonah ridge is elongated with a distinct NNE trend. These giant folds and the lack of evidence for extensional fault blocks in our area of study require a revised tectonic model for the early Mesozoic southern Levant basin. A revised model is essential for proper evaluation of potentially additional deep petroleum systems in the Levant basin.