Warm brine lakes in craters of active mud volcanoes, Menes caldera off NW Egypt: evidence for deep-rooted thermogenic processes

Type Article
Date 2014-06
Language English
Author(s) Dupre StephanieORCID1, Mascle Jean2, Foucher Jean-Paul1, Harmegnies Francois1, Woodside John3, Pierre Catherine4
Affiliation(s) 1 : IFREMER, F-29280 Plouzane, France.
2 : Observ Oceanol, F-06235 Villefranche Sur Mer, France.
3 : Vrije Univ Amsterdam, NL-1081 HV Amsterdam, Netherlands.
4 : Univ Paris 06, LOCEAN, UMR 7159, F-75252 Paris 05, France.
Source Geo-marine Letters (0276-0460) (Springer), 2014-06 , Vol. 34 , N. 2-3 , P. 153-168
DOI 10.1007/s00367-014-0367-1
WOS© Times Cited 23
Abstract The Menes caldera is a fault-controlled depression (~8 km in diameter) at ~3,000 m water depth in the western province of the Nile deep-sea fan off NW Egypt, comprising seven mud volcanoes (MVs) of which two are active. Based on multichannel and chirp seismic data, temperature profiles, and high-resolution bathymetric data collected during the 2000 Fanil, 2004 Mimes and 2007 Medeco2 expeditions, the present study investigates factors controlling MV morphology, the geometry of feeder channels, and the origin of emitted fluids. The active Cheops and Chephren MVs are 1,500 m wide with subcircular craters at their summits, about 250 m in diameter, generally a few tens of metres deep, and filled with methane-rich muddy brines with temperatures reaching 42 °C and 57 °C respectively. Deployments of CTDs and corers with attached temperature sensors tracked these warm temperatures down to almost 0.5 km depth below the brine lake surface at the Cheops MV, in a feeder channel probably only a few tens of metres wide. Thermogenic processes involve the dissolution of Messinian evaporites by warm fluids likely sourced even deeper, i.e. 1.7 and 2.6 km below the seabed at the Cheops and Chephren MVs respectively, and which ascend along listric faults. Seepage activity appears broadly persistent since the initiation of mud volcanism in the Early Pliocene, possibly accompanied by lateral migration of feeder channels.
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Dupre Stephanie, Mascle Jean, Foucher Jean-Paul, Harmegnies Francois, Woodside John, Pierre Catherine (2014). Warm brine lakes in craters of active mud volcanoes, Menes caldera off NW Egypt: evidence for deep-rooted thermogenic processes. Geo-marine Letters, 34(2-3), 153-168. Publisher's official version : https://doi.org/10.1007/s00367-014-0367-1 , Open Access version : https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00185/29668/