The geological and geodynamic evolution of the eastern Black Sea basin: insights from 2-D and 3-D tectonic modelling
ABSTRACT Subsidence mechanisms that may have controlled the evolution of the eastern Black Sea have been studied and simulated using a numerical model that integrates structural, thermal, isostatic and surface processes in both two- (2-D) and three-dimensions (3-D). The model enables the forward modelling of extensional basin evolution followed by deformation due to subsequent extensional and compressional events. Seismic data show that the eastern Black Sea has evolved via a sequence of interrelated tectonic events that began with early Tertiary rifting followed by several phases of compression, mainly confined to the edges of the basin. A large magnitude (approximately 12 km) of regional subsidence also occurred in the central basin throughout the Tertiary. Models that simulate the magnitude of observed fault controlled extension (β=1.13) do not reproduce the total depth of the basin. Similarly, the modelling of compressional deformation around the edges of the basin does little to enhance subsidence in the central basin. A modelling approach that quantifies lithosphere extension according to the amount of observed crustal thinning and thickening across the basin provides the closest match to overall subsidence. The modelling also shows that deep crustal and mantle–lithosphere processes can significantly influence the rate and magnitude of syn- to post-rift subsidence and shows that such mechanisms may have played an important role in forming the anomalously thin syn-rift and thick Miocene–Quaternary sequences observed in the basin. It is also suggested that extension of a 40–45 km thick pre-rift crust is required to generate the observed magnitude of total subsidence when considering a realistic bathymetry.
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ABSTRACT: Back-arc basin evolution is driven by processes active at the main subduction zone typically assuming the transition from an extensional back-arc, during the retreat of a mature slab, to a contractional basin, during high-strain collisional processes. Such a transition is observed in the Black Sea, where the accurate quantification of shortening effects is hampered by the kinematically unclear geometries of Cenozoic inversion. By means of seismic profiles interpretation, quantified deformation features and associated syn-tectonic geometries on the Romanian offshore, this study demonstrates that uplifted areas, observed by exploration studies, form a coherent thick-skinned thrust system with N-ward vergence. Thrusting inverted an existing geometry made up by successive grabens that were inherited from the Cretaceous extensional evolution. The shortening started during late Eocene times and gradually affected all areas of the Western Black Sea Basin during Oligocene and Miocene times, deformation being coherently correlated across its western margin. The mechanism of this generalized inversion is the transmission of stresses during the collision recorded in the Pontides-Balkanides system. Syn-tectonic sedimentation in the Western Black Sea demonstrates that this process was continuous and took place through the onset of gradual shortening migrating northward. Although the total amount of shortening is roughly constant in an E-W direction, individual thrusts have variable offsets, deformation being transferred between structures located at distance across the strike of the system. The Black Sea example demonstrates that the vergence and offset of thrusts can change rapidly along the strike of such a compressional back-arc system. This generates apparently contrasting geometries that accommodate the same orogenic shortening.Tectonics 09/2011; 30:1-21. · 3.49 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Detailed knowledge of the extent of post-genetic modifications affecting shallow submarine hydrocarbons fueled from the deep subsurface is fundamental for evaluating source and reservoir properties. We investigated gases from a submarine high-flux seepage site in the anoxic Eastern Black Sea in order to elucidate molecular and isotopic alterations of low-molecular-weight hydrocarbons (LMWHC) associated with upward migration through the sediment and precipitation of shallow gas hydrates. For this, near-surface sediment pressure cores and free gas venting from the seafloor were collected using autoclave technology at the Batumi seep area at 845 m water depth within the gas hydrate stability zone.Vent gas, gas from pressure core degassing, and from hydrate dissociation were strongly dominated by methane (> 99.85 mol.% of ∑[C1–C4, CO2]). Molecular ratios of LMWHC (C1/[C2 + C3] > 1000) and stable isotopic compositions of methane (δ13C = − 53.5‰ V-PDB; D/H around − 175‰ SMOW) indicated predominant microbial methane formation. C1/C2+ ratios and stable isotopic compositions of LMWHC distinguished three gas types prevailing in the seepage area. Vent gas discharged into bottom waters was depleted in methane by > 0.03 mol.% (∑[C1–C4, CO2]) relative to the other gas types and the virtual lack of 14C–CH4 indicated a negligible input of methane from degradation of fresh organic matter. Of all gas types analyzed, vent gas was least affected by molecular fractionation, thus, its origin from the deep subsurface rather than from decomposing hydrates in near-surface sediments is likely.As a result of the anaerobic oxidation of methane, LMWHC in pressure cores in top sediments included smaller methane fractions [0.03 mol.% ∑(C1–C4, CO2)] than gas released from pressure cores of more deeply buried sediments, where the fraction of methane was maximal due to its preferential incorporation in hydrate lattices. No indications for stable carbon isotopic fractionations of methane during hydrate crystallization from vent gas were found. Enrichments of 14C–CH4 (1.4 pMC) in short cores relative to lower abundances (max. 0.6 pMC) in gas from long cores and gas hydrates substantiates recent methanogenesis utilizing modern organic matter deposited in top sediments of this high-flux hydrocarbon seep area.Chemical Geology 01/2010; 259:350-363. · 3.15 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Four seep sites located within an $20 km 2 area offshore Georgia (Batumi seep area, Pechori Mound, Iberia Mound, and Colkheti Seep) show characteristic differences with respect to element concentrations, and oxygen, hydrogen, strontium, and chlorine isotope signatures in pore waters, as well as impregnation of sediments with petroleum and hydrocarbon potential. All seep sites have active gas seepage, near surface authigenic carbonates and gas hydrates. Cokheti Seep, Iberia Mound, and Pechori Mound are characterized by oil-stained sediments and gas seepage decoupled from deep fluid advection and bottom water intrusion induced by gas bubble release. Pechori Mound is further characterized by deep fluid advection of lower salin-ity pore fluids. The Pechori Mound pore fluids are altered by mineral/water reactions at elevated temperatures (between 60 and 110 °C) indicated by heavier oxygen and lighter chlorine isotope values, distinct Li and B enrichment, and K depletion. Strontium isotope ratios indicate that fluids originate from late Oligocene strata. This finding is supported by the occurrence of hydrocarbon impregnations within the sediments. Furthermore, light hydrocarbons and high molecular weight impregnates indicate a predominant thermogenic origin for the gas and oil at Pechori Mound, Iberia Mound, and Colkheti Seep. C 15+ hydrocarbons at the oil seeps are allochtonous, whereas those at the Batumi seep area are autochthonous. The presence of oleanane, an angiosperm biomarker, suggests that the hydrocarbon source rocks belong to the Maikopian Formation. In summary, all investigated seep sites show a high hydrocarbon potential and hydrocarbons of Iberia Mound, Colkheti Seep, and Pechori Mound are predominantly of thermogenic origin. However, only at the latter seep site advection of deep pore fluids is indicated.Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 01/2011; 75(11). · 3.88 Impact Factor