Distribution and geological control of mud volcanoes and other fluid/free gas seepage features in the Mediterranean Sea and nearby Gulf of Cadiz

Type Article
Date 2014-06
Language English
Author(s) Mascle Jean1, Mary Flore2, Praeg Daniel3, Brosolo Laetitia4, Camera Laurent2, Ceramicola Silvia3, Dupre StephanieORCID5
Affiliation(s) 1 : UPMC, Observ Oceanol, F-06230 Villefranche Sur Mer, France.
2 : Geoazur, F-06560 Valbonne, France.
3 : OGS, I-34010 Trieste, Italy.
4 : CNRS INSU DT, F-29280 Plouzane, France.
5 : IFREMER, F-29280 Plouzane, France.
Source Geo-marine Letters (0276-0460) (Springer), 2014-06 , Vol. 34 , N. 2-3 , P. 89-110
DOI 10.1007/s00367-014-0356-4
WOS© Times Cited 36
Abstract Existing knowledge on the distribution of mud volcanoes (MVs) and other significant fluid/free gas-venting features (mud cones, mud pies, mud-brine pools, mud carbonate cones, gas chimneys and, in some cases, pockmark fields) discovered on the seafloor of the Mediterranean Sea and in the nearby Gulf of Cadiz has been compiled using regional geophysical information (including multibeam coverage of most deepwater areas). The resulting dataset comprises both features proven from geological sampling, or in situ observations, and many previously unrecognized MVs inferred from geophysical evidence. The synthesis reveals that MVs clearly have non-random distributions that correspond to two main geodynamic settings: (1) the vast majority occur along the various tectono-sedimentary accretionary wedges of the Africa-Eurasia subduction zone, particularly in the central and eastern Mediterranean basins (external Calabrian Arc, Mediterranean Ridge, Florence Rise) but also along its westernmost boundary in the Gulf of Cadiz; (2) other MVs characterize thick depocentres along parts of the Mesozoic passive continental margins that border Africa from eastern Tunisia to the Levantine coasts, particularly off Egypt and, locally, within some areas of the western Mediterranean back-arc basins. Meaningfully accounting for MV distribution necessitates evidence of overpressured fluids and mud-rich layers. In addition, cross-correlations between MVs and other GIS-based data, such as maps of the Messinian evaporite basins and/or active (or recently active) tectonic trends, stress the importance of assessing geological control in terms of the presence, or not, of thick seals and potential conduits. It is contended that new MV discoveries may be expected in the study region, particularly along the southern Ionian Sea continental margins.
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Mascle Jean, Mary Flore, Praeg Daniel, Brosolo Laetitia, Camera Laurent, Ceramicola Silvia, Dupre Stephanie (2014). Distribution and geological control of mud volcanoes and other fluid/free gas seepage features in the Mediterranean Sea and nearby Gulf of Cadiz. Geo-marine Letters, 34(2-3), 89-110. Publisher's official version : https://doi.org/10.1007/s00367-014-0356-4 , Open Access version : https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00185/29644/