Heat flow in the Western Mediterranean: Thermal anomalies on the margins, the seafloor and the transfer zones

Type Article
Date 2020-01
Language English
Author(s) Poort Jeffrey1, Lucazeau Francis2, Le Gal Virginie1, 3, Dal Cin Michaela4, Leroux EstelleORCID5, Bouzid Abderrezak6, Rabineau MarinaORCID7, Palomino Désirée8, Battani Anne3, Akhmanov G. Grigory9, Ferrante G. Matilde4, Gafurova R. Dina9, Si Bachir Roza6, Koptev Alexander1, Tremblin Maxime1, Bellucci Massimo7, Pellen Romain5, Camerlenghi Angelonghi4, Migeon Sebastien10, Alonso Belen11, Ercilla Gemma11, Yelles-Chaouche A. Karim6, Khlystov M. Oleg12
Affiliation(s) 1 : Sorbonne Université, CNRS, Institut des Sciences de la Terre de Paris, ISTeP, Paris, France
2 : Université de Paris, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, CNRS, Paris, France
3 : IFP Energies nouvelles, Geosciences, Rueil-Malmaison, France
4 : Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale (OGS), Trieste, Italy
5 : IFREMER, 1625 Route de Sainte-Anne, 29280 Plouzané, France
6 : Centre de Recherche en Astronomie Astrophysique et Géophysique (CRAAG), Alger, Algeria
7 : Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer (IUEM), Université de Bretagne Occidentale, Laboratoire Domaines Océaniques, UMR CNRS 6538, Plouzané, France
8 : Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO), Oceanographic Center of Málaga, Málaga, Spain
9 : UNESCO Centre on Marine Geology and Geophysics, Moscow State University, Geology Faculty, Moscow, Russia
10 : Université Côte d'Azur, CNRS, Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur, IRD, Géoazur UMR 7329, Valbonne, France
11 : Institut de Ciències del Mar (ICM), CSIC, Continental Margins Group, Barcelona, Spain
12 : Limnological Institute, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Irkutsk, Russia
Source Marine Geology (0025-3227) (Elsevier BV), 2020-01 , Vol. 419 , P. 106064 (15p.)
DOI 10.1016/j.margeo.2019.106064
Keyword(s) Heat flow, Western Mediterranean Sea, Liguro-Provencal basin, Algero-Balearic basin, Continental margins, Oceanic crust

The Western Mediterranean basin has been formed by Miocene back-arc extension and is underlain by a thin and young lithosphere. This young lithosphere is warm, as testified by an overall elevated offshore heat flow. Heat flow within the Western Mediterranean is, however, highly variable and existing data are unevenly distributed and poorly studied in the central part of the Liguro-Provençal and Algero-Balearic basins. This central part is floored by a young oceanic crust, bordered by different continental margins, cut by transform faults, and filled by up to 8 km of sediments. We present a total of 148 new heat flow data collected during the MedSalt and WestMedFlux cruises in 2015 and 2016 and aligned along seven regional profiles that show an important heat flow variability on the basin-scale, but also locally on the margins.

A new heat flow map for the Western Mediterranean outlines the following regional features: (1) a higher average heat flow in the Algero-Balearic basin compared to the Liguro-Provençal basin (94 ± 13 mW/m2 and 78 ± 16 mW/m2, respectively), and (2) a regional thermal asymmetry in both basins, but with opposed heat flow trends. Up to 20% of this heat flow difference can be explained by sediment blanketing, but age and heterogeneity of ocean crust due to an asymmetric and polyphased opening of the basins are believed to have given the major thermal imprint. Estimates of the age of the oceanic crust based on the new heat flow suggest a considerably younger West Algerian basin (16–23 Ma) compared to the East Algerian basin and the West Sardinia oceanic floor (31–37 Ma).

On the margins and ocean-continent transitions of the Western Mediterranean the new heat flow data point out the existence of two types of local anomalies (length scale 5–30 km): (1) locally increased heat flow up to 153 mW/m2 on the Gulf of Lion margin results from thermal refraction of large salt diapirs, and (2) the co-existing of both low (<50 mW/m2) and high (>110 mW/m2) heat flow areas on the South Balearic margin suggests a heat redistribution system. We suspect the lateral heat advection is resulting from a regional fluid circulation in the sediments associated to the widespread Plio-Pleistocene volcanism on the South Balearic margin.

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Poort Jeffrey, Lucazeau Francis, Le Gal Virginie, Dal Cin Michaela, Leroux Estelle, Bouzid Abderrezak, Rabineau Marina, Palomino Désirée, Battani Anne, Akhmanov G. Grigory, Ferrante G. Matilde, Gafurova R. Dina, Si Bachir Roza, Koptev Alexander, Tremblin Maxime, Bellucci Massimo, Pellen Romain, Camerlenghi Angelonghi, Migeon Sebastien, Alonso Belen, Ercilla Gemma, Yelles-Chaouche A. Karim, Khlystov M. Oleg (2020). Heat flow in the Western Mediterranean: Thermal anomalies on the margins, the seafloor and the transfer zones. Marine Geology, 419, 106064 (15p.). Publisher's official version : https://doi.org/10.1016/j.margeo.2019.106064 , Open Access version : https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00588/70052/