Seismic study of pull-apart-induced sedimentation and deformation in the Northern Gulf of Aqaba (Elat)

A. Ehrhardt*, C. Hübscher, Z. Ben-Avraham, D. Gajewski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

New multichannel seismic and bathymetric data are presented, which clarify the Plio-Quaternary evolution of the northern Gulf of Aqaba (Elat) and the Dead Sea Transform (DST). The seismic data reveal two main seismic sequences, a lower (pretectonic) and an upper (syntectonic) unit, separated by a prominent unconformity. These units are each linked to a distinct tectonic phase in the history of the DST. Parallel horizons and an undisturbed internal structure point to a tectonic quite time or pure strike-slip without extension or compression during the first (pretectonic) phase. The second (syntectonic) phase, which begins in the early Pliocene, is characterized by a major change in the activity of the DST. The pretectonic sedimentary unit subsided and, consequently, dips southward with a supplementary inclination to the east. The coeval sedimentation of the syntectonic unit is recorded by the divergent reflection pattern and onlap terminations on the unconformity. The apparent fault system seems to be rearranged in the second phase. The stepover of the main strand of the DST from the eastern side of the Elat Deep to the western side of the northern Gulf of Aqaba was mapped in detail for the first time. The very smooth shape of the stepover and the apparent lack of extensional tectonics do not fit with the classical pull-apart basin model for the Elat Deep and point to a decoupling of the crystalline basement from the sedimentary overburden. Comparisons of the new geophysical findings with analog models support this assertion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-79
Number of pages21
JournalTectonophysics
Volume396
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - 3 Feb 2005

Keywords

  • Bathymetric data
  • Dead Sea transform
  • MCS data
  • Pull apart

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