Salt tectonics in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea: Where a giant delta meets a salt giant

Elchanan Zucker, Zohar Gvirtzman, Josh Steinberg, Yehouda Enzel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The circum-Nile deformation belt (CNDB) demonstrates the interaction between a giant delta and a giant salt body. The semi-radial shape of the CNDB is commonly interpreted as the product of salt squeezing out from under the Nile Delta. We demonstrate, however, that this is not the dominant process, because the delta and its deep-sea fan do not reach the deep-basin salt. The distal part of the deep-sea fan overlies the edge of the salt giant, but squeezing this edge (<150 m thickness) should have had only little effect on the regional salt tectonics. Only on the easternmost side of the deep-sea fan, toward the Levant Basin, does the squeeze-out model work. Here, the delta front reaches the thick salt layer and differential loading promotes basinward salt flow, even upslope. On the western side of the delta, downslope gliding of the sediment-salt sequence toward the Herodotus Basin is driven by the elevation gradient toward the deepest part of the basin. Our analysis shows that salt squeezing by differential loading was previously overestimated in the Eastern Mediterranean and raises the need to carefully map the boundary of salt basins prior to any interpretation. This conclusion is especially relevant in young basins where deltas and shelves have not propagated far enough into the basin.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)134-138
Number of pages5
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2020

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© 2019 Geological Society of America.


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