Abstract Mud volcanoes (MVs) are abundant along the east- ern Mediterranean subduction zones, recording mud breccia extrusion over long timescales (106 years), but to date relatively few have been recognised in the northern Ionian Sea on the Calabrian accretionary prism (CAP). In the present study, the seafloor distribution and recent activity of MVs is investigated across a 35,600 km2 sector of the CAP using a regional acoustic dataset (multibeam bathymetric and backscatter imagery, inte- grated with subbottom profiles) locally ground-truthed by sediment cores. A total of 54 MVs are identified across water depths of 150–2,750 m using up to four geophysical criteria: distinctive morphology, high backscatter, unstratified subbottom facies and, in one case, a hydroacoustic flare. Fourteen MVs are identified from 3–4 criteria, of which five have been previously proven by cores containing mud breccia beneath up to 1.6 m of hemipelagic sediments (Madonna dello Ionio MVs 1–3, Pythagoras MV and the newly named Sartori MV), while nine others are identified for the first time (Athena, Catanzaro, Cerere, Diana, Giunone, Minerva, ‘right foot’, Venere 1 and 2). Forty other as yet unnamed MVs are inferred from 1–2 geophysical criteria (three from distinctive morphol- ogy alone). All but one possible MV lie on the inner plateau of the CAP, landwards of the Calabrian Escarpment in a zone up to 120 km wide that includes the inner pre-Messinian wedge and the fore-arc basins, where they are interpreted to record the ascent from depth of overpressured fluids that interacted with tectonic structures and with evaporitic or shale seals within the fore-arc basins. The rise of fluids may have been triggered by post-Messinian out-of-sequence tectonism that affected the en- tire pre-Messinian prism, but Plio-Quaternary sedimentation rates and depositional styles support the inference that signifi- cant mud volcanism has taken place only on the inner plateau. Sedimentation rates across the CAP applied to a 12 khz sonar detection depth of 225 cm imply that all MVs with backscatter signatures (50 of 54) have erupted mud breccias within the last 56 ka, and within the last 12.5 ka in the fore-arc basins. Ages of eruption estimated from the depth of cored mud breccias at five MVs, and a seismo-stratigraphic relationship at a sixth, indicate episodes at the last glacial maximum ca. 20 ka BP and during the postglacial period. Eruptive episodes within the Calabrian MV province constitute recurrent geohazards, separated by longer periods of quiescent (subdued) fluid seepage that are likely to support gas hydrate formation and chemosynthetic ecosystems.

Seabed Investigations of a Mud Volcano Province on the Calabrian Accretionary Prism, Central Mediterranean Sea

Ceramicola S;D. Praeg;A Cova;D Accettella;M Zecchin;E Forlin
2014

Abstract

Abstract Mud volcanoes (MVs) are abundant along the east- ern Mediterranean subduction zones, recording mud breccia extrusion over long timescales (106 years), but to date relatively few have been recognised in the northern Ionian Sea on the Calabrian accretionary prism (CAP). In the present study, the seafloor distribution and recent activity of MVs is investigated across a 35,600 km2 sector of the CAP using a regional acoustic dataset (multibeam bathymetric and backscatter imagery, inte- grated with subbottom profiles) locally ground-truthed by sediment cores. A total of 54 MVs are identified across water depths of 150–2,750 m using up to four geophysical criteria: distinctive morphology, high backscatter, unstratified subbottom facies and, in one case, a hydroacoustic flare. Fourteen MVs are identified from 3–4 criteria, of which five have been previously proven by cores containing mud breccia beneath up to 1.6 m of hemipelagic sediments (Madonna dello Ionio MVs 1–3, Pythagoras MV and the newly named Sartori MV), while nine others are identified for the first time (Athena, Catanzaro, Cerere, Diana, Giunone, Minerva, ‘right foot’, Venere 1 and 2). Forty other as yet unnamed MVs are inferred from 1–2 geophysical criteria (three from distinctive morphol- ogy alone). All but one possible MV lie on the inner plateau of the CAP, landwards of the Calabrian Escarpment in a zone up to 120 km wide that includes the inner pre-Messinian wedge and the fore-arc basins, where they are interpreted to record the ascent from depth of overpressured fluids that interacted with tectonic structures and with evaporitic or shale seals within the fore-arc basins. The rise of fluids may have been triggered by post-Messinian out-of-sequence tectonism that affected the en- tire pre-Messinian prism, but Plio-Quaternary sedimentation rates and depositional styles support the inference that signifi- cant mud volcanism has taken place only on the inner plateau. Sedimentation rates across the CAP applied to a 12 khz sonar detection depth of 225 cm imply that all MVs with backscatter signatures (50 of 54) have erupted mud breccias within the last 56 ka, and within the last 12.5 ka in the fore-arc basins. Ages of eruption estimated from the depth of cored mud breccias at five MVs, and a seismo-stratigraphic relationship at a sixth, indicate episodes at the last glacial maximum ca. 20 ka BP and during the postglacial period. Eruptive episodes within the Calabrian MV province constitute recurrent geohazards, separated by longer periods of quiescent (subdued) fluid seepage that are likely to support gas hydrate formation and chemosynthetic ecosystems.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.14083/4050
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