Diversion and morphology of submarine channels in response to regional slopes and localized salt tectonics, Levant Basin

E. Zucker*, Z. Gvirtzman, J. Steinberg, Y. Enzel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


In the Levant Basin, submarine channels are abundant around the Nile deep-sea fan (NDSF), an area which is also affected by salt tectonics related to the Messinian salt giant. Here we focus on the relationship between submarine channels and obstacles formed by salt tectonics. Initially, we use methods developed for terrestrial morphological analysis and quantify channel sinuosity, width and slope in search for consistent relationships between morphometric parameters and channel response to obstacles. However, this traditional analysis did not yield robust conclusions. Then, we apply two new morphometric parameters suggested here to express the distortion of channels by obstacles: diversion angle (Ω), defined as the acute angle between the regionally influenced channel direction and the strike of the tectonic obstacle and incident angle (α), defined as the angle between the direction of the regional bathymetric slope and the average direction of the channel. These parameters illustrate the influence of the regional-scale basin geometry and the superimposed tectonic-influenced seabed patterns, on channel development. We found hyperbolic relationships between incident angle (α) and diversion angle (Ω) in which channels flowing approximately parallel (α ˜ 0°) to tectonic folds are (obviously) not diverted; channels nearly orthogonal (α ˜ 90°) to obstacles, crosscut them right through and, again, not diverted much. In contrast, channels with a general direction diagonal to the obstacles (α ˜ 40°), are diverted by ten degrees (Ω ˜ 10°). This diversion accumulates along large distances and significantly influences the regional development of channels around the NDSF. Noteworthy, this phenomenon of channel diversion, indirectly deteriorate normal slope-sinuosity relationships known from terrestrial studies. In light of these findings, we suggest that these new parameters can be applied to other basins, where submarine channels interact with seabed obstacles.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)98-111
Number of pages14
JournalMarine and Petroleum Geology
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd


  • Geomorphology
  • Levant basin
  • Nile delta
  • Salt tectonics
  • Sinuosity
  • Submarine channels
  • Turbidites


Dive into the research topics of 'Diversion and morphology of submarine channels in response to regional slopes and localized salt tectonics, Levant Basin'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this