The anatomy of a pull‐apart basin: Seismic reflection observations of the Dead Sea Basin

Uri S. ten Brink, Zvi Ben‐Avraham

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The Dead Sea Basin (DSB), located along the African‐Arabian plate boundary, constitutes a good example of a pull‐apart basin because of its large dimensions, its structural simplicity, and its active subsidence. A coherent three‐dimensional picture of the DSB has been constructed on the basis of analysis of seismic stratigraphy together with the interpretation of previously published geological and geophysical data. Despite the large known vertical offsets across the basin, deformation takes place mainly along the transverse and longitudinal faults, and the intervening sediments are relatively undeformed and are hardly tilted. Comparison between E–W seismic lines indicate that the basin has widened by the collapse and tilting of arcuate blocks from the western margin but that its original shape is a full‐graben. The southern and central parts of the basin are divided into equidistant segments 20–30 km long by transverse faults. Activity along these faults commenced only during the Pleistocene, long after the Dead Sea strike‐slip fault system was formed, and migrated northward with time. A likely scenario for the development of the DSB is one in which the basin grows northward with time by a simultaneous propagation of the southern strand of the Dead Sea fault and a retardation of the northern strand.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-350
Number of pages18
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1989


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