Speculations surround salt deformation in the Mediterranean Basins, both related to the deformation history and the triggers for halokinesis since the onset of the Messinian Salinity Crisis. This work presents a detailed description of the mechanisms driving internal and external deformation of a salt giant from the Levant Basin, offshore Israel. The intrasalt siliciclastic layers generate good internal reflectivity within the Messinian evaporites, allowing a thorough elucidation of the complex evolution and nature of syn-Messinian and post-Messinian structures. We have identified three distinct phases of deformation in the deep basin, based on the orientation, timing, and geometry of their related structures: The first phase is characterized by small-scaled, gravity-driven, contractional faults and folds oriented N-S that have been overprinted by a second syn-Messinian, NW-SE trending, deformation phase affecting the clastic bundles. This latter deformation phase is the cause of truncation of the intrasalt stringers on the intra-Messinian truncation surface. The third deformation phase occurred in the Pleistocene and affected all strata from the Messinian salt to the seabed. This deformational phase produced thrust, strike-slip, and normal faults, but the dominant orientation of the thrust faults and folds is NNW-SSE. Our study demonstrates that the first deformation phase was caused by regional uplift along the Levant margin during the Messinian, the second is a response to basin subsidence toward the Cyprus Arc, also syn-Messinian, and the third phase is likely related to the reorganization of the African-Eurasian plate boundary and activity along the Dead Sea Transform after the Messinian Salinity Crisis.
- normal faults