Field analogues illustrating the early stage of deformation of shortening structures in salt-bearing orogenic fold-and-thrust belts are not yet well illustrated in literature. The relatively young Messinian salt of the Algerian basin could represent a good case example of such systems. The Algerian Basin is a deep-water Miocene back-arc basin including a layer of mobile Messinian evaporites up to 2 km thick. The Messinian salt was deposited in an already inverted basin, after its extensive stage. Its inversion initiated in the Tortonian, with a N-NW shortening induced by the north-westward motion of the African plate. In this study, we use new 2D multichannel seismic data to identify, classify and map salt structures throughout the central Algerian Basin and re-assess its structural style. We interpret contractional salt tectonic structures, such as buckle folds, squeezed diapirs and related salt sheets as evidence of regional thick-skinned shortening episodes. We conclude that horizontal displacement loading has driven salt deformation within the basin since its deposition. We also show spatial variations in the structural style of the central Algerian Basin, both along- and down-dip. We demonstrate that the initial shortening-related salt deformation in the late Messinian was focussed along the Algerian margin and later shifted outward toward the Balearic margin in the Plio-Quaternary. The shifting of the deformation front is interpreted to be a result of the thickening and strengthening of the overburden. The second peak of deformation may have reactivated faults along the Emile-Baudot escarpment with thick-skinned deformation. We also observe a variation in the intensity of the salt deformation along the margin from SW to NE, which may be due to variable tectonic loading applied along the Algerian margin or the pre-shortening distribution of salt.

Contractional salt deformation in a recently inverted basin: Miocene to current salt deformation within the central Algerian basin

Simon Blondel
;
Angelo Camerlenghi
2022-01-01

Abstract

Field analogues illustrating the early stage of deformation of shortening structures in salt-bearing orogenic fold-and-thrust belts are not yet well illustrated in literature. The relatively young Messinian salt of the Algerian basin could represent a good case example of such systems. The Algerian Basin is a deep-water Miocene back-arc basin including a layer of mobile Messinian evaporites up to 2 km thick. The Messinian salt was deposited in an already inverted basin, after its extensive stage. Its inversion initiated in the Tortonian, with a N-NW shortening induced by the north-westward motion of the African plate. In this study, we use new 2D multichannel seismic data to identify, classify and map salt structures throughout the central Algerian Basin and re-assess its structural style. We interpret contractional salt tectonic structures, such as buckle folds, squeezed diapirs and related salt sheets as evidence of regional thick-skinned shortening episodes. We conclude that horizontal displacement loading has driven salt deformation within the basin since its deposition. We also show spatial variations in the structural style of the central Algerian Basin, both along- and down-dip. We demonstrate that the initial shortening-related salt deformation in the late Messinian was focussed along the Algerian margin and later shifted outward toward the Balearic margin in the Plio-Quaternary. The shifting of the deformation front is interpreted to be a result of the thickening and strengthening of the overburden. The second peak of deformation may have reactivated faults along the Emile-Baudot escarpment with thick-skinned deformation. We also observe a variation in the intensity of the salt deformation along the margin from SW to NE, which may be due to variable tectonic loading applied along the Algerian margin or the pre-shortening distribution of salt.
active margins
Algerian basin
Algero-Balearic basin
contractional salt system
Messinian Salinity Crisis
salt tectonics
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.14083/15082
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