Helmholtz Centre Potsdam
GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences
Abstract (EDOC: 11742)
As part of the DESIRE project a 240 km long seismic wide-angle reflection / refraction (WRR) profile was completed in spring 2006 across the Dead Sea Transform (DST) in the region of the southern Dead Sea basin. The DST with a total of about 105 km multi-stage left-lateral shear since about 18 Ma ago, accommodates the movement between the Arabian and African plates. It connects the spreading centre in the Red Sea with the Taurus collision zone in Turkey over a length of about 1100 km. With a sedimentary infill of about 10 km in places, the southern Dead Sea basin is the largest pull-apart basin along the DST and one of the largest pull-apart basins on Earth. The WRR measurements comprised 11 shots recorded by 200 three-component and 400 one-component instruments spaced 300 m to 1.2 km apart along the whole length of the E-W trending profile. Models of the P-wave velocity structure derived from the WRR data show that the sedimentary infill associated with the formation of the southern Dead Sea basin is about 8.5 km thick beneath the profile. With around an additional 2 km of older sediments, the depth to the seismic basement beneath the southern Dead Sea basin is about 11 km below sea level beneath the profile. In contrast, the interfaces below about 20 km depth, including the top of the lower crust and the Moho, show less than 3 km variation in depth beneath the profile as it crosses the southern Dead Sea basin. Thus the Dead Sea pull-apart basin might be essentially an upper crustal feature with N-S upper crustal extension associated with the left-lateral motion along the DST. E-W extension may be a very minor component. The boundary between the upper and lower crust at about 20 km depth could act as a decoupling zone. Below this boundary the two plates move past each other in what may be essentially a shearing motion. Thermo-mechanical modelling of the Dead Sea basin supports such a scenario.
(2008): The Deep Structure Across the Southern Dead Sea Basin as Revealed by SeismicWide-Angle Reflection / Refraction Profiling from the DESIRE Project. 68. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Geophysikalischen Gesellschaft (Freiberg 2008).