Giant slope scars and mass transport deposits across the Rhodes Basin, eastern Mediterranean: Depositional and tectonic processes

A. E. Aksu*, J. Hall, C. Yaltırak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

High-resolution multichannel seismic reflection profiles and multibeam mosaic maps of the seafloor are used to document the presence of two prominent regions representing major sediment failure(s) and the subsequent gravity-driven mass transport across the southwestern continental margin of Anatolia. These regions are characterized by very sugged morphology (referred to as Scars 1 and 2), where the upper slope regions include several concave, interconnected steep seafloor escarpments marked by semi-circular indentations that link with one another by cusp-like features creating a sharp and very narrow curvilinear zone. The slope face across the rugged region there are numerous sharply irregular pinnacles/protrusions on the seafloor, consisting of exposed older bedrock successions. Scars 1 and 2 occupy seafloor areas of 1947 km2 and 1350 km2, solid volumes of 214–257 km3 and 92–111 km3, and masses of 467–681 Gt and 245–294 Gt, respectively, with a total solid volume of 307–368 km3 and a mass of 812–975 Gt. Mass transport deposits are identified at various stratigraphic levels across the Rhodes Basin characterized by chaotic seismic reflector configurations with zones of contorted and convoluted reflector geometries. The base of this facies is characterized by erosional down-cutting. The thickest and the regionally most extensive such deposits are found at the base of Unit 1, immediately above the upper bounding surface of the Messinian evaporites (the Top Erosional Surface or the former M-reflector). The lower mass transport deposit (L–MTD) is calculated to have a volume 205–171 km3, or a solid mass of 543–452 Gt, assuming that porosities of 40–50% and average grain density of 2.67 t m−3. Comparisons between the total mass of the L–MTD and the estimated masses of sediments mobilized across Scars 1 and 2 (812–975 Gt) indicate that there is ~360–432 Gt deficit in the calculated mass of the L–MTD. The missing sediments represent 17.5–21.0% of the total mass contained within Unit 1 across the present-day Rhodes Basin. This mismatch is remarkably large: it may arise from the uncertainties involved in the estimations of the masses of sediments contained in Scars 1 and 2; however, it is also possible that some of the gravity driven mass transports transitioned into turbidity currents, thus travelled great distances across the Rhodes Basin, and that some of these turbidity currents crossed the basin longitudinally, and exited it at its southwestern deeper regions (i.e., the present-day Strabo Trench). This is particularly plausible because the physiography of the Rhodes Basin was dramatically different during the early Pliocene and the southern and southwestern portions of the basin provided a possible exit route.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105979
JournalSedimentary Geology
Volume424
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.

Funding

We thank the officers and crew of the RV Koca Piri Reis of the Institute of Marine Sciences and Technology, Dokuz Eylül University for their assistance in data acquisition, in particularly the former Captains Mehmet Özsaygılı and Kemal Dursun and the former Chief Engineers Bilal Nuriler and Ömer Çubuk for their invaluable assistance during the many years of geophysical operations. We further thank Dr. Doğan Yaşar of the Institute of Marine Sciences and Technology, Dokuz Eylül University for his role in facilitating these cruises. Special thanks are extended to the Turkish Petroleum Corporation for kindly providing copies of their multichannel seismic profiles and well information. We acknowledge research and ship-time funds from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to Hall and Aksu, travel funds from the Dean of Science, Memorial University of Newfoundland, special grants from the Office of the VP Research and Dr. Richard Haedrich the former Director of the Ocean Sciences Centre, Memorial University of Newfoundland. We further acknowledge the shiptime and land survey funds from The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBITAK) Projet No ÇAYDAG 107Y005ç. We thank Savaş Gürçay, Derman Dondurur and Günay Çifçi of the Dokuz Eylül University for their assistance during the acquisition of the 2007 and 2010 multichannel seismic reflection profiles. Seismic data were processed at Memorial University of Newfoundland, using the ProMAX software donated by Landmark Graphics. Assistance with data processing was provided by Sharon Deemer and during thesis studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland by Jonathan Winsor, Deanne Duff, Grant Lethbridge, Michelle Martin, Mark Colbourne, Chelsea Squires, Kyle Foley, Jennifer Cunningham, Matthew Baird, Julie Halliday, Jennifer Cranshaw and Melanie Barnes. Finally, we acknowledge Peter Bruce (CREAIT, Memorial University of Newfoundland) and Murat Şahin (Istanbul Technical University) for their assistance in data management. Finally, we acknowledge the constructive criticisms of two journal reviewers, Dr. Giorgio Basilici of UNICAMP, Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil and Dr. Massimo Moretti of the Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra e Geoambientali, Università degli Studi di Bari, Italy. We thank the officers and crew of the RV Koca Piri Reis of the Institute of Marine Sciences and Technology, Dokuz Eylül University for their assistance in data acquisition, in particularly the former Captains Mehmet Özsaygılı and Kemal Dursun and the former Chief Engineers Bilal Nuriler and Ömer Çubuk for their invaluable assistance during the many years of geophysical operations. We further thank Dr. Doğan Yaşar of the Institute of Marine Sciences and Technology, Dokuz Eylül University for his role in facilitating these cruises. Special thanks are extended to the Turkish Petroleum Corporation for kindly providing copies of their multichannel seismic profiles and well information. We acknowledge research and ship-time funds from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to Hall and Aksu, travel funds from the Dean of Science, Memorial University of Newfoundland, special grants from the Office of the VP Research and Dr. Richard Haedrich the former Director of the Ocean Sciences Centre, Memorial University of Newfoundland. We further acknowledge the shiptime and land survey funds from The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey ( TÜBITAK ) Projet No ÇAYDAG 107Y005ç . We thank Savaş Gürçay, Derman Dondurur and Günay Çifçi of the Dokuz Eylül University for their assistance during the acquisition of the 2007 and 2010 multichannel seismic reflection profiles. Seismic data were processed at Memorial University of Newfoundland, using the ProMAX software donated by Landmark Graphics. Assistance with data processing was provided by Sharon Deemer and during thesis studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland by Jonathan Winsor, Deanne Duff, Grant Lethbridge, Michelle Martin, Mark Colbourne, Chelsea Squires, Kyle Foley, Jennifer Cunningham, Matthew Baird, Julie Halliday, Jennifer Cranshaw and Melanie Barnes. Finally, we acknowledge Peter Bruce (CREAIT, Memorial University of Newfoundland) and Murat Şahin (Istanbul Technical University) for their assistance in data management. Finally, we acknowledge the constructive criticisms of two journal reviewers, Dr. Giorgio Basilici of UNICAMP, Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil and Dr. Massimo Moretti of the Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra e Geoambientali, Università degli Studi di Bari, Italy.

FundersFunder number
Captains Mehmet Özsaygılı and Kemal Dursun
Chief Engineers Bilal Nuriler
Dean of Science, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra e Geoambientali
Institute of Marine Sciences and Technology
Ocean Sciences Centre
Office of the VP Research and Dr. Richard Haedrich
Turkish Petroleum Corporation
Università degli Studi di Cagliari
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Türkiye Bilimsel ve Teknolojik Araştirma KurumuÇAYDAG 107Y005ç
Memorial University of Newfoundland
Dokuz Eylül Üniversitesi
Istanbul Teknik Üniversitesi

    Keywords

    • Basin evolution
    • Pliocene–Quaternary
    • River yields
    • Seismic stratigraphy
    • Volumetrics

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