Geo log i cal Quar terly, 2020, 64 (2): 000–000
New ev i dences of Ho lo cene tec tonic and vol ca nic ac tiv ity of the west ern part
of Lake Sevan (Ar me nia)
Ara AVAGYAN1, *, Lilit SAHAKYAN1, Khachatur MELIKSETIAN1, Arkadi KARAKHANYAN 1,
Vasily LAVRUSHIN2, Tatul ATALYAN1, Hayk HOVAKIMYAN1, Seda AVAGYAN1,
Petros TOZALAKYAN1, Evgenia SHALAEVA2, Chris tine CHATAINGER3,
Sergey SOKOLOV2, Arkadi SAHAKOV1 and Gagik ALAVERDYAN1
1Acad emy of Sci ences of Ar me nia, In sti tute of Geo log i cal Sci ences, Baghramyan 24a, 0019 Yerevan, Ar me nia
2Geo log i cal In sti tute of the Rus sian Acad emy of Sci ences (RAS), 7 Pyzhevsky, Mos cow 119017, Rus sia
3Archeorient UMR 5133 CNRS, Mai son de l’Orient et de la Mediterranee, Jean Pouilloux, 7 rue Raulin, 69365 Lyon, France
Avagyan, A., Sahakyan, L., Meliksetian, K., Karakhanyan, A., Lavrushin, V., Atalyan, T., Hovakimyan, H., Avagyan, S.,
Tozalakyan, P., Shalaeva, E., Chatainger, C., Sokolov, S., Sahakov, A., Alaverdyan, G., 2020. New ev i dences of Ho lo cene
tec tonic and vol ca nic ac tiv ity of the west ern part of Lake Sevan (Ar me nia). Geo log i cal Quar terly, 64 (2): 000–000, doi:
The pur pose of this pa per is to pres ent new data on ac tive geo log i cal pro cesses in the Lake Sevan Ba sin and to show its
multidisciplinary as pects. The in ves ti ga tions of its struc tures, re cent lake sed i ments, and lake floor gas emis sion al low a
better un der stand ing of the his tory of geo log i cal de vel op ment and the re cent tec tonic and vol ca nic ac tiv ity of the ba sin.
This pa per sum ma rizes un der wa ter in ves ti ga tions of ac tive geo log i cal fea tures of Lake Sevan, un der taken for the first
time in Ar me nia. More than 30 aligned un der wa ter-source re lated gas emis sion points were dis cov ered. The gas con tains
car bon di ox ide of vol ca nic or volcanogenic-metamorphogenic or i gin and can be re lated to un load ing of deep fluid s ys tems.
This al lows de fin ing the Noratus-Kanagegh Fault seg ment trace be low the re cent Lake Sevan floor sed i ments. The dis cov -
ery of the sub aque ous seg ment of ac tive fault shows the pres ence of an other nat u ral haz ard of lake tsu nami re lated to pos -
si ble fu ture co-seis mic rup ture. The re cent sed i ments of the north west ern Lake Sevan coast line are sandwiched be tween
two blocky lava flows. The ra dio car bon dat ing of bones of bo vine mam mals (with en tire skull), found ~15 cm from the cover
of the lake sed i ments, sug gests that the up per blocky ba saltic-an de site layer can be a re sult of erup tion youn ger than
~3400 years BP. About 80 m of the Noratus se quence sed i ments have been sam pled for palaeomagnetic study and the
age of 3.1–2.3 Ma for the lower part (42 m) is ob tained. The up per and post-Gelasian ac tiv ity of the Noratus-Kanagegh
Fault is proven by a cross-cutscoria layer of 2.30 ±0.15 Ma K/Ar age.
Key words: ac tive fault, gas emis sion, lake sed i ments, palaeomagnetism, lake tsu nami.
The study area is sit u ated in the cen tral part of the Ara -
bia-Eur asian con ti nen tal col li sion zone and is char ac ter ized by
com plex ge ol ogy (Fig. 1) and dense con cen tra tion of ac tive
faults (Fig. 2A). A study of intra-block ac tive faults have a fun da -
men tal im por tance for ac cess ing seis mic haz ards and risks
par tic u larly for small coun tries with rel a tively dense pop u la tion
such as the Re pub lic of Ar me nia. These faults can be of rel a -
tively low and me dium mag ni tude po ten tial. How ever, the study
of nat u ral haz ard be comes im por tant, be cause of high pop u la -
tion den sity (the pop u la tion in the Sevan Ba sin area reaches
280,000 peo ple in 92 com mu ni ties, of which five are ur ban) and
wide spread land us age. The study of the area is im por tant for
the meth od olog i cal point of view be cause of pos si ble in ter ac tion
be tween vol ca nic and tec tonic ac tiv i ties and lake tsu nami.
The ac tive nor mal and oblique slip faults are well-ex pressed
in the crest area and on the east ern slope of the Gegham Vol ca -
nic High land (Milanovsky, 1952, 1968; Karakhanyan et al.,
2004, 2016; Avagyan et al., 2005, 2010) lim it ing the southwest -
ern part of Lake Sevan of vol cano-tec tonic or i gin.
The aim of the pa per is to ev i dence re cent tec tonic and vol -
ca nic ac tiv ity in the west ern part of the Lake Sevan Ba sin with
study ing the lake sed i ments, struc tures and ge ol ogy, us ing
multidisciplinary ap proaches in clud ing un der wa ter in ves ti ga -
tions to shows multi-haz ard as pects of the ba sin.
The mid dle east-Ar me nian High land area is char ac ter ized by
two dis tinct su ture zones: the North ern Tethyan su ture zone of
Izmir-An kara-Erzincan-Amasia-Sevan-Hakari (IAEASH), and
* Corresponding author, e-mail: email@example.com
Received: November 20, 2019; accepted: February 19, 2020; first
published online: May 4, 2020
the South ern Tethyan su ture zone of Misis-Andirin-Bitlis -Zagros
(MABZ). They formed from the clo sure of the Palaeo tethys
Ocean (north ern branch of the Neotethys to the north, and the
south ern branch of the Neotethys to the south; e.g., Sosson et
al., 2010; Rolland, 2017; Bar rier et al., 2018). The clo sure of the
north ern branch and col li sion of the Gond wana-de rived South
Ar me nian Block (SAB cor re lated to the Taurides-Anatolides)
with Eur asia oc curred in the Late Cre ta ceous (e.g., Sosson et al.,
2010; Rolland, 2017), and the Ara bia-Eur asia (with SAB in the
south) col li sion in the Late Eocene -Oligocene ac cord ing to most
au thors (e.g., Homke et al., 2010; Rolland et al., 2012). The sum -
ma rize ar ti cles of the geodyna mic evo lu tion of the Cau ca sus
Moun tain belt from the Pa leo zoic to pres ent, and the his tory of
Ju ras sic to Eocene subduction, obdu ction, and con ti nent-con ti -
Fig. 1. Geo log i cal map of the Lake Sevan Ba sin (lo ca tion is in di cated in Fig. 2) mod i fied from Kharazyan (2005)
As ter isks (1, 2) show un der wa ter sam pling sites
nent col li sion be tween Eur asia and Ara bia is
pre sented by Avagyan et al. (2005, 2010),
Galoyan (2008), Sosson et al. (2010) and
Rolland (2017), with ref er ences therein. Dur -
ing Eo cene times, in tense mag matic and vol -
ca nic phases took place to the north of the
MABZ su ture zone, con nected with a north -
-dip ping south ern Neotethys sub duction, in
an exten sio nal (back-arc) en vi ron ment of
oro genic belts, sug gest ing the Ara bia–Eur -
asia col li sion af ter this mag matic event
(Saha kyan et al., 2017).
The low est part of the Sevan Ba sin is
oc cu pied by Sevan Lake di vided into two
sub- bas ins (Big and Small Sevan bas ins).
The geo log i cal struc tures of the north east -
ern part of Lake Sevan are well-stud ied.
Here, the Mid dle Ju ras sic and Early Cre ta -
ceous ophiolite su ture zone (Sevan-Hakari)
is sit u ated to the NNE of Lake Sevan (e.g.,
Ga loyan, 2008; Sosson et al., 2010;
Asatryan et al., 2010; Avagyan, 2013) con -
trolled by the Pambak-Sevan-Sunik ac tive
fault (Fig. 2).
Due to the south ern Neotethys clo sure,
the Sevan-Hakari ophiolitic su ture zone was
re ac ti vated by some ma jor thrusts and
strike - slip faults (Avagyan et al., 2005,
2010). NW–SE com pres sion was dom i nant
be tween the Paleogene and late Early Mio -
cene, and NE–SW com pres sion has re -
vealed be tween the Late Mio cene and Qua -
ter nary (Avagyan et al., 2010).
The W, SW and S parts of the Sevan Ba -
sin are rep re sented by the Gegham and
Vardenis vol ca nic high lands, re spec tively.
These vol ca nic sys tems were ac tive since
the Late Mio cene (in clud ing in the Ho lo cene)
and, dur ing the Qua ter nary, de vel oped as
monogenetic vol ca nic fields with hun dreds
of known vol ca noes (Karapetian, 1965;
Sevan is the larg est fresh wa ter lake in
the re gion with an area of 1240 km2, which is
~4.2% of the en tire area of the Re pub lic of
Ar me nia. Lake Sevan is sit u ated at the el e -
va tion of 1900 m a.s.l., al though it evolved
into its pres ent form only in the Ho lo cene.
The only pas sage, from where the lake wa -
ter gets out from the Sevan Ba sin, is the
head wa ter of the Hrazdan River. A se ries of
vol ca nic ep i sodes took place through out the
Pleis to cene and into the Ho lo cene, caus ing
Fig. 2A – ac tive fault map of the Lesser Cau ca -
sus and sur round ing area (mod i fied from
Philip et al., 2001; Karakhanyan et al., 2003,
2004; Avagyan et al., 2010, Avagyan, 2013);
GSF – Geltarechka Sarighamich Fault, AF –
Akhuryan Fault, NKR – Nagorno Karabakh Re -
pub lic, GNTF – Gaylatu North Tavriz Fault; B –
three-di men sional model of the re lief and the
map of Lake Sevan; C – photo of the Noratus
and Karap vol ca noes; the fault scarps are in di -
cated by ar rows
damm ing of the river sys tem at its NW flank and fur ther evo lu -
tion of lac us trine con di tions (Aslanyan and Sayadyan, 1984).
Ar chae o log i cal ev i dence in di cates that hu man hab i ta tion
had taken place around the shores of a lake, much re duced in
size at that time. A hu man-in duced de crease in wa ter depth of
~16 m dur ing the sec ond half of the 20th cen tury re vealed Early
and Late Bronze Age set tle ments and burial sites rich in arte -
facts, in clud ing wooden char i ots (yield ing ra dio car bon dates of
3500–3630 ±100 years BP), near Lchashen and Norashen
(Aslanyan and Sayadyan, 1984).
The ac tive faults dis play high seis mic ac tiv ity man i fested in
both strong earth quakes and many smaller events (Philip et al.,
2001; Karakhanyan et al., 2003, 2004; Avagyan et al., 2010,
2013, 2019). Meth ane emis sions and geo chem i cal anom a lies
have been re corded along the ac tive fault zones tra vers ing the
bot tom of the lake (Karakhanyan et al., 2001).
Dur ing the last de cade, sev eral stud ies of the lake bot tom
were un der taken based mostly on geo phys i cal sur veys (mostly
echographic) of the re lief (Avagyan, 2013; Karakhanyan et al.,
2016). Nev er the less, the struc ture of the floor of Lake Sevan
ap pears to be crossed by ac tive faults and their in di vid ual seg -
ments re main largely un stud ied.
OF THE STUDY AREA
The study area is sit u ated in the gently in clined (5–10°)
east ern slope of the cen tral part of the Gegham Vol ca nic High -
land (Figs. 1 and 2). Here, be sides Qua ter nary lac us trine, al lu -
vial, lac us trine-al lu vial and vol cano-sed i men tary rocks of Neo -
gene -Qua ter nary ages, vol ca nic for ma tions (trachybasaltic
ande sites, trachybasalts and their pyroclastic ma te ri als) are
also wide spread (Kharazyan, 2005).
The main fea ture of this area is the ex is tence of Neo -
gene-Qua ter nary vol ca nism and ac tive faults (Paffenholtz,
1948; Gabrielyan, 1963; Milanovsky, 1952, 1968; Avagyan,
2001, 2010; Karakhanyan et al., 2001, 2016; Djrbashyan et al.,
2002; Karakhanyan et al., 2004; Djrbashyan, 2013). Within the
study area, two ac tive faults are known: the Gavaraget and the
Noratus-Kanagegh faults (Fig. 2). His tor i cal earth quakes of
1226 AD (Mw 6.2) and 1322 AD (Mw 6.6) are at trib uted to the
Gavaraget Fault (Karakhanyan et al., 2016).
This study is fo cused on the Noratus-Kanagegh ac tive fault
zone. The fault was pre vi ously called the Sarikaya Fault
(Milano vsky, 1952, 1968) and Noratus Fault (Avagyan et al.,
2010; Karakhanyan et al., 2016). We used the new name to in -
di cate fault di rec tion and to avoid con fu sion with an other geo -
log i cal fault near the Noratus Pen in sula. The up lifted area we
stud ied is re stricted to two nor mal faults: the east ward-dip ping
Noratus-Kanagegh Fault and the west ward-dip ping Gavaraget
Fault. To gether, these struc tures may be in ter preted as a horst.
It is 20–25 km long and 4–7 km wide (Milanovsky, 1968;
Avagyan, 2001). We name the above-men tioned horst the
Gavar Horst (Fig. 2).
The ki ne mat ics of faults bound ing the Gavar Horst is con -
sis tent with the E–W ex ten sion of 2.4 ±0.9 mm/y ve loc ity ev i -
denced by GPS mea sure ment. The ex ten sion axis tra verses
the Gegham Vol ca nic High land and the south ern part of Lake
Sevan (Davtyan, 2007).
Sev eral aban doned val leys were found on the Gavar Horst
block. The phe nom e non is caused by the for ma tion of >200 m
high scarp of the Gavaraget Fault. It dammed and de flected wa -
ter flows from the east ern slopes of the Gegham Vol ca nic High -
land. In the Gavar city area, a tem po rary lake of tec tonic or i gin
was formed and de scribed by Avagyan (2001).
The Noratus-Kanagegh Fault is ~25 ±3 km long and, ac -
cord ing to strati graphic datasets, was ac tive in Pleis to cene and
even Ho lo cene times (Milanovsky, 1952). A cu mu la tive ver ti cal
dis place ment of 100 m is re corded for the Noratus-Kanagegh
Fault, es ti mated from bore hole log data ob tained ~500 m east
of the scarp (Milanovsky, 1952).
More than 80 m of strata from the Noratus se quence is ex -
posed along the Noratus-Kanagegh Fault scarp (Figs. 3 and 4).
It con sists of sed i men tary, vol cano-sed i men tary and vol ca nic
for ma tions ac cu mu lated from the Late Mio cene up to the Ho lo -
cene (Milanovsky, 1953). Milanovsky (1952) sub di vided the
Noratus se quence into 8 units of lac us trine, al lu vial, proluvial
and vol ca nic de pos its.
As men tioned ear lier, the Neo gene-Qua ter nary vol ca nic ac -
tiv ity is quite typ i cal for the in ves ti gated area (Milanovsky, 1952,
1968; Karakhanyan et al., 2001, 2016; Avagyan et al., 2001,
2010; Djrbashyan et al., 2002; Karakhanyan et al., 2004;
Djrbashayn, 2013). Vol ca nic ac tiv ity is as so ci ated with the
Gegham Vol ca nic High land, one of the dens est clus ters of in di -
vid ual monogenetic vol ca noes in Ar me nia. The Gegham Vol ca -
nic High land rep re sents a 65 km long and 35 km wide oval zone
with a NNW elon ga tion. In to tal, it con sists of 127 Qua ter nary
vol ca noes, lo cated par al lel to the axis of the vol ca nic high land,
and their cen tral (elon gated) vol ca nic ridge in the mid dle.
Compo sitionally, this vol ca nism var ies from trachybasalts to
rhyolites, while dacites are rel a tively rare. Most of the mono -
genetic vents are trachybasaltic, ba saltic-trachyandesitic and
trachyandesitic in com po si tion and are char ac ter ized by Strom -
bolian to vi o lent Strombolian erup tion types. Sev eral rhyolitic
domes ex ist in the east ern and cen tral clus ters of the Gegham
Vol ca nic High land.
Tim ing of vol ca nism within the Gegham Vol ca nic High land
var ies from Plio cene to Ho lo cene (Karakhanyan et al., 2003
and ref er ences therein). Doz ens of ex tended lava flows, some
of them reach ing Lake Sevan, are well-known (e.g., Kara -
khanyan et al., 2004). In the Noratus se quence, vol ca nism is
man i fested by pyroclastic ma te rial mixed with sed i ments, as
well as by pure pyroclastic fall out de pos its. Noratus and Karap
vol ca noes are lo cated on the north ern flank of the Noratus -
-Kanagegh Fault, 0.5–1.5 km east of the main scarp (Fig. 2C).
We can state that these vol ca noes are re stricted to the fault
zone and, tak ing into ac count the east ward-dip ping fault plane,
they are ge net i cally re lated to the nor mal ki ne mat ics, re gres sive
ero sion, and the con sid er able scarp height.
Milanovsky (1968) con sid ered that the struc tures ge net i -
cally re lated to the Gegham Vol ca nic High land (to the west of
Lake Sevan) are in her ited from Eocene-Oligocene time. Based
on multidisciplinary in ves ti ga tions, Avagyan et al. (2010) con -
cluded that part of these struc tures is in deed in her ited from
Paleogene-Neo gene times and in flu enced the fur ther stress -
-field and struc tural fea tures of the re gion. The Noratus -
-Kanagegh Fault is a re cent struc ture in ac cor dance with the
Up per Qua ter nary age (Qocharyan and Shirinyan, 1978) of
Noratus and Karap vol ca noes.
Re cent geo log i cal in ves ti ga tions sug gest that a close re la -
tion ship of the vol ca nic and fault ac tiv ity in space and time is ev -
i dent (e.g., Karakhanyan et al., 2004; Avagyan et al., 2005,
2010). The vol ca nic interlayers in the lake sed i ments ac cu mu -
lated by Gavaraget Fault damm ing are good ev i dence for their
tem po ral con nec tion (Avagyan et al., 2010).
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Nearly all geo log i cal out crops in the SW area of Lake Sevan
were in ves ti gated for the struc tural anal y sis in this study, and
rock sam ples were ana lysed and dated in or der to sup port the
Fig. 3. Lithostratigraphic col umn of the Noratus area
stra tig ra phy. Two geo log i cal strati graphic col umns were pre -
pared based on the newly col lected data and up dated litho -
stratigraphy, tak ing into ac count both pre vi ous stud ies (e.g.,
Milanovsky, 1952, 1968) and data from the bore hole near the
Lake Sevan shore (Milanovsky, 1952; Balyan and Boshna -
ghyan, 1964). Land sat/Co per ni cus Dig i tal Globe im ages and
ae rial (drone) im ages were used in or der to gen er ate 3D re lief
maps. Petrographic and min er al og i cal anal y ses were con -
ducted in the lab o ra tory of li thol ogy and re gional ge ol ogy,
whereas whole rock ma jor el e ments (sil ica anal y ses) were ana -
lysed in the lab o ra tory of chem is try at the In sti tute of Geo log i cal
Sci ences of the Re pub lic of Ar me nia. Sil ica anal y ses were done
ac cord ing to NSAM (Re search Coun cil for an a lyt i cal meth ods
of re search) in struc tions.
This study is based on struc tural and morphostructural
anal y ses at dif fer ent scales (mi cro- to macro-scale), petro -
graphic stud ies and palaeomagnetic and iso to pic (K/Ar) age -
-dat ing. K/Ar dates of vol ca nic rocks were ob tained at the In sti -
tute of Ge ol ogy of Ore De pos its, Pe trog ra phy, Min er al ogy and
Geo chem is try of the Rus sian Acad emy of Sci ences (IGEM
RAS). The lab o ra tory used the con stants le = 0.581 x 10–10 a–1,
lb = 4 x 962 x 10–10 a–1, 40K/K=1.167 x 10 – 4. The fi nal er rors
were cal cu lated as ±2s. Ra dio car bon dat ing were ob tained and
cal i bra ted in Poznań Ra dio car bon Lab o ra tory (Po land) and in
Lab o ra tory of Beta An a lytic Ra dio car bon 406 Dat ing, Florida
(USA). For de ter mi na tion of remanent mag netic po lar ity, we
col lected ori ented sam ples from silt, sand, diatomaceous clay,
and vol ca nic ma te rial. All sam ples were de mag ne tized us ing
the al ter nat ing field up to 90 mT. De mag ne ti za tion of sam ples
and the mea sure ment of nat u ral remanent mag ne ti za tion
(NRM) were per formed at the Palaeomagnetic Lab o ra tory of
the In sti tute of Phys ics of the Earth of the RAS, Mos cow, us ing
a 2G En ter prise cryo genic SQUID-mag ne tom e ter and the stan -
dard tech nique.
The un der wa ter ac tive tec tonic in ves ti ga tions of Lake
Sevan were con ducted in co op er a tion with Ar me nian Cen ter of
Div ing and Sub aque ous Re search’’ (CARPS: French ac ro -
nym). CARPS has pro vided the en tire ma te rial-tech ni cal base,
which in cludes: a mo tor boat, a trans port ing cart, a so nar, a
charg ing com pres sor, and div ing ma te ri als. CARPS also pro -
vided four di vers of in ter na tional rank (K. Tulumjyan, S. Kojo -
yan, V. Melkonyan and A. Avagyan).
The gas emis sion was lo cal ized by a Humminbird 898c SI
Combo SONAR equipped with GPS (Humminbird Elec tron ics).
Gas bub bles were col lected in plas tic flasks by di vers and used
for anal y ses. The pre lim i nary com po si tions of gas sam ples
were de ter mined with a Biogas 5000 gas an a lyzer [Geo -
technical In stru ments (UK) Lim ited]. The de vice al lows mea sur -
ing meth ane, ox y gen, car bon di ox ide, and ni tro gen con tent.
The chem i cal com po si tion of MV gases was de ter mined at
Geo log i cal In sti tute, Rus sian Acad emy of Sci ences (GIN,
RAS), us ing a Crys tal 5000 gas chromatograph by ab so lute cal -
i bra tion for each com po nent us ing stan dard gas mix tures. The
er ror in the de ter mi na tion of each com po nent does not ex ceed
0.2 vol.%. To de ter mine the car bon iso to pic com po si tion in
gases (CO2 and CH4), a Thermoelectron Cor po ra tion equip -
ment com plex was used, in clud ing a mass spec trom e ter Delta
V Ad van tage and a GC gas chromatograph. Sam ples and stan -
dards were de com posed with 100% phos pho ric acid at 50°C in
a he lium at mo sphere and mea sured in a conflow mode. d13C
val ues are re ported rel a tive to V-PDB stan dard. The ac cu racy
of de ter mi na tion of d13C made up ±0.2‰. The C iso tope stud ies
were per formed at GIN RAS (Mos cow).
The chem i cal and trace el e ments of the ob sid ian tool are
an a lysed by the LA-ICP-MS method in lab o ra tory of CNRS
“IRAMAT” d’Orlean (France).
In or der to de fine the palaeoenvironmental set ting, 80 m of
sed i men tary rocks from the Noratus sec tion were de scribed in
de tail, in clud ing their grain size, tex tures and sed i men tary struc -
tures. The lower part of the sec tion is com posed of ~18 m thick
Up per Mio cene (?)–Plio cene con glom er ates. The con glom er -
ates are poorly to mod er ately sorted, clast- to ma trix-sup ported,
and con sist of peb bles and cob bles in a peb bly sand stone ma -
trix (Fig. 3). Nor mally graded clasts con sist of bas alts, andesites
and rare tuff peb bles, brought mostly from the un der ly ing Mio -
cene vol ca nic se quences. These de pos its bear a re cord of lim -
ited tur bu lence and sort ing dur ing trans for ma tion of gravely de -
bris flows. Thin interbeds of sand stone are rare and dis con tin u -
ous. The up per part of this con glom er ate unit dis plays lens of
Fig. 4. Part of the Noratus-Kanagegh Fault seg ment
1 – lower block of nor mal fault; 2 – upper block of nor mal fault; ar rows show dis lo cated
two ho ri zons of sco ria (black ar rows are on the lower block);
lo ca tion of the block is shown in Figure 2
white vol ca nic pum ice de posit (N16/41). The SiO2 con tent of
the pum ice (67.36 wt.%, N16/41, Fig. 3) re veals dacite com po -
si tion with to tal al kali of 6.60% (Na2O = 2.50%; K2O = 4.10%),
i.e. subalkaline se ries.
Due to the lack of fos sils, it is dif fi cult to iden tify whether the
con glom er ates are lac us trine or flu vial, but tak ing into ac count
the con form able con tact with the over ly ing thick sand stones
and diatomaceous clay, and the lack of palaeosoil, we as cribe it
to sub aque ous de bris flows in a shore line set ting. The con -
glom er ates are cov ered with sandy loams (N16/23) and diato -
maceous clay (N16/43) with volcaniclastic ma te rial in put. The
thick ness of the sand stone unit is ~10 m. These are well-bed -
ded and well-sorted de pos its with strat i fi ca tion and nor mal
grad ing from coarse-grained sand stone to fine sand. The third
unit (~12 m) is rep re sented by well-strat i fied sandy loam, clay
and, clayey di at o mite lay ers with con glom er ate interbeds. We
ob serve a wide range of oolitic tex tures in di cat ing a high -en ergy
shal low en vi ron ment of flood-tidal-delta, or iso lated set tings
such as a de tached shoal. The con glom er ate lay ers con tain
pum ice frag ments. Soft-sed i ment de for ma tion and liq ue fac tion
(N16-33) fea tures, re lated to tec tonic (seis mic) ac tiv ity, are ob -
served. The up per parts of the con glom er ate con tain peb bles
and pum ice frag ments that are over lain by two black sco ria lay -
ers (N16-34, 410/13). The sil ica con tent of the up per sco ria
layer is 56.88 wt.%, and the to tal al kali con tent is 5.60 wt.%
(Na2O = 3.60 wt.%; K2O = 2.00 wt.%). Be tween these two lay -
ers we found re worked sand with sco ria frag ments. This se -
quence is cov ered with palaeosoil which con tains peb bles.
In the vi cin ity of the Noratus-Kanagegh Fault, a ~20 m
down thrown block is pre served, 650 m in length and 250 m in
width (Fig. 4). Its lay ers are dip ping 11 to 18° to the W i.e.,
greater than the nearly hor i zon tal ones of the footwall. This in di -
cates that the fault plane has a listric shape.
The nor mal dis place ment is clearly out lined by the two black
sco ria lay ers (in di cated by black and white ar rows in Fig. 4),
which were also men tioned by Milanovsky (1960). One sam ple
taken from the up per sco ria layer yields a K/Ar age of 2.30
±0.15 Ma (Ta ble 1) cor re spond ing to the Gelasian. This means
that the fault was ac tive in both late and post-Gelasian time.
An ~42 m por tion of the Noratus sed i men tary se quence (the
footwall) has been sam pled for palaeomagnetic study (Fig. 3).
Ninety-five sam ples were col lected. As a whole the low er most
5 m of the out crop (ma trix of peb ble con glom er ates) showed re -
verse mag netic po lar ity (10 sam ples of 13 are re verse). The
rest 38 m of the se quence has nor mal mag netic po lar ity (83 of
85 sam ples are nor mal). Tak ing into ac count that the layer of
black sco ria, which rests 3 m above the sam pled sed i ments,
has a K-Ar age of 2.30 ±0.15 Ma, we at trib ute the lower part of
the peb bly con glom er ates with re verse po lar ity to the Kaena
event, and the rest of the por tion with nor mal po lar ity to the up -
per part of the Gauss ep och. Thus, the age of the se quence is
be tween 3.1–2.3 Ma.
At the north ern flank of the Noratus-Kanagegh Fault, a Ho -
lo cene de for ma tion is ev i denced in re cent Lake Sevan sed i -
ments (Fig. 5 and Fig. 2: as ter isk 2). The fault plane is sealed by
the ac cu mu la tion of sed i ments a (Fig. 5B), most likely formed
dur ing the ar ti fi cial de crease of the lake level since 1933. The
out crop clearly shows that the or i gin of the ob served nor mal
fault is not tec tonic and it is of seismogravitational or i gin.
About 7 km to the SSE from the vil lage of Noratus, an other
down thrown block, 400 m long and 100 m wide, is pre served
(Fig. 6A). The fault ki ne mat ics is well man i fested on the rup ture
plane onthe south flank of the dis placed block (Fig. 6D). Ac -
cord ing to the geo log i cal map of Karapetyan et al. (2011), the
fault cuts through an Up per Plio cene lava flow.
In the graben struc ture (Fig. 6B) the re mains of an an cient
set tle ment show seismogenic de for ma tions. They are par tic u -
larly well-ev i dent from the dif fer ent in cli na tions of stelas (Fig. 6C).
To see the rup ture in stra tig ra phy, a sin gle slot type of
trench was cut through the N–S-trending fault scarp (Fig. 7).
The ob served fault planes dip 82°W. A min i mum of 1.5 m of ver -
ti cal dis place ment is ob served in the trench. The event oc -
curred be tween 1951 ±75 cal BC and 376 ±53 cal AD (dated
and cal i brated in Poznań Ra dio car bon Lab o ra tory). The re -
verse ki ne mat ics is ap par ent, de vel oped and guided by a
pre-ex ist ing fis sure near the sur face. In re al ity, the fault is of nor -
mal ki ne mat ics and the com mon dip is to the east.
Along one of the aban doned val leys of the Gavar Horst,
~3.5 km north from the vil lage of Eranos and ~8 km SSW from
trench site (Fig. 6), an ar chae o log i cal com plex is lo cated (Fig.
2B: as ter isk 1 and Fig. 8). The gi ant block walls and an ar ti fi cial
dam or a bridge can be iden ti fied. Sam ples for ra dio car bon dat -
ing were taken be low a fallen block (Fig. 8C). An age of 166
±80 cal AD is ob tained from the sed i ments be low the block
clearly as so ci ated with the man-made wall (Fig. 8C). These
ages fit well with the ob tained tim ing of the seis mic event as re -
vealed by the trench ing. As sum ing that the dis cussed block is
fallen as a con se quence of an earth quake, we can con sider that
the rup ture ob served in the trench is of tec tonic or i gin.
ORIGIN OF PEBBLES IN THE CRATER
OF NORATUS VOLCANO
Two Qua ter nary vol ca nic cen tres are lo cated in the Noratus
Pen in sula near the study area, namely Noratus and Karap (Fig.
Ta ble 1
K-Ar ages of sam ples from the SW coast of Lake Sevan, Noratus area (Ar me nia*)
Sam ple No Lo ca tion Co or di nates Rocks K, % ±s
(in sam ple) Age, Ma
410/13 v. Noratus, s
410, H=2005 N40.369983o
E45.205217oBlack tuff Q1(?) 2.21 ±0.03 0.354 ±0.009 89.3 2.30 ±0.15
* – dated by V.A. Lebedev (In sti tute of Ge ol ogy of Ore De pos its, Pe trog ra phy, Min er al ogy and Geo chem is try of Rus sian
Acad emy of Sci ences)
Fig. 5. Seismogenic de for ma tions in the re cent Lake Sevan sed i ments
A – field pho to graph of the out crop; B – in ter pre ta tion, seismogravitational de for ma tion in the up per part
of layer b sealed by sed i ments a; lo ca tion is shown (by as ter isk 2) in Fig ure 2B
Fig. 6A – graben struc ture on a sat el lite im age ~7 km to the SSE from the vil lage of Noratus (lo ca tions in -
di cated in Fig. 2); B – in ter pre ta tion of the struc tures; C – seismogenic de for ma tions ev i denced from dif -
fer ent in cli na tions of stelas; D – nor mal fault planes south of the dis placed block, the ar rows in di cate the
blocks move ments
Fig. 7A – cross-sec tion of a palaeoseismological trench (see Fig ure 6 for lo ca tion); B – drone im age of the trench
Fig. 8A – aerial pho tog ra phy (drone) of the tec toni cally aban doned val ley (ob ser va tion point 1, Fig. 2);
B – wall de stroyed by man; C, D – ra dio car bon dat ing of sed i ments be low fallen blocks
2C). The di am e ter of the base of Noratus vol cano is ~460 m, its
rel a tive height from the base is ~39 m, and the crater di am e ter
is ~150 m. Karap vol cano is a much smaller eroded cin der
cone, partly bur ied un der the Lake Sevan sed i ments. The di am -
e ter of the cone is ~160 m, its rel a tive height ~11 m, and the
crater is 34 m in di am e ter. Well-rounded peb bles of 10 to15 cm
in di am e ter ob served in the crater of Noratus vol cano (Fig. 2C)
and on its slopes are the sub ject of sci en tific de bate.
Ac cord ing to Paffenholtz (1946) and Milanovsky (1953) the
pres ence of peb bles is re lated to the evo lu tion of the vol ca nic
struc ture and spe cif i cally to the pro cess when the magma
passed through the Noratus sed i men tary peb ble units. Ac cord -
ing to Karapetian (1965), the peb bles in the crater of Noratus
vol cano in di cate that Noratus and the neigh bour ing Karap vol -
cano (Fig. 2) were cov ered by Lake Sevan. This hy poth e sis is
sup ported also by Qocharyan and Shirinyan (1978). Kara -
khanyan et al. (2016) sug gested that in Lake Sevan, es pe cially
in Big Lake Sevan (south ern part), the high wa ter waves as so ci -
ated with the fault and the land slide ac tiv ity may re sult in ac cu -
mu la tion of tsu nami sed i ments on the shore line.
Our in ves ti ga tions show that peb bles are ab sent at the
sum mit of Karap vol cano, in spite of the fact that its top is ~23 m
lower com pared to the Noratus crater sum mit, while Karap vol -
cano is be tween Noratus vol cano and the Lake Sevan shore -
line. There are no peb bles in side the Noratus vol ca nic rock out -
crops, as al ready ac knowl edged by Karapetian (1965). This au -
thor also no ticed about the ar chae o log i cal mon u ment on the
Noratus crater slopes. For tress wall of ~3 m thick ness is ob -
served along the per im e ter of the Noratus crater. We also no -
ticed ev i dence for the pres ence of ar ti fi cial struc tures at the bot -
tom of the crater. It is note wor thy that the quan tity of peb bles in -
creases along the old road to the crater. Based on all these ob -
ser va tions, we con sider that the peb bles in the crater are re -
lated to the an cient hu man oc cu pa tion and ac tiv ity.
Dur ing the last sev eral years, many new out crops ap peared
due to wa ter abra sion re lated to the in creas ing wa ter lev els in
Lake Sevan. An in ter est ing strati graphic se quence is ob served
on the lake shore near the vil lage of Berdkunk (in Fig. 1B: as ter -
isk 3 and Fig. 9). Here, a 0.8–1.0 m thick light to dark grey sandy
layer is sandwiched be tween lava boul ders. The up per one is
com posed of an gu lar lava boul ders of ba saltic an de site and
forms a 0.5–0.8 m thick layer. There are mol lusc shells in all sand
lev els with dif fer ent quan tity. Molluscs of the fam i lies
Lymnaeidae, Planorbidae and Pisidiidae were ob served (Arutu -
nova et al., 2011). On top of the sandy layer, a car bon ate crust is
formed. Sim i lar strati graphic se quences are ex am ined by
Sayadyan (2009) and Karakhanyan et al. (2004) ~2.5 km to the
NW, along the road (40.462489°N, 45.082956°E) near the vil -
lage of Lchap (Fig. 2B: as ter isk 4). At this site, the vol ca nic ac tiv -
ity re sulted in lava flows be tween 7860 ±100–2090 ±70 yr BP,
cov er ing the Lake Sevan sed i ments (Karakhanyan et al., 2004).
Our in ves ti ga tions give fur ther in sights and are based on more
ac cu rate data. About 15 cm from the up per limit of the lake sed i -
ments, bones of bo vine mam mals (with en tire skull) have been
found (Fig. 9B). Ra dio car bon (C14) dat ing of the bones (Lab o ra -
tory of Beta An a lytic Ra dio car bon Dat ing) re veals an age of 3460
±40 BP cor re spond ing to 1890–1680 BC (2 sigma).
One piece of ob sid ian tool was also dis cov ered to gether
with the mam mal bones, sug gest ing that the an i mal was prob a -
bly hunted by man (Fig. 9C). The chem i cal and trace el e ment
anal y sis of the ob sid ian tool shows that it is from Geghasar vol -
cano sit u ated ~30 km from the out crop and in the Gegham Vol -
ca nic High land.
Fig. 9A – out crops near Berdkunk vil lage;
B – en tire skull of bo vine mam mal; C – piece of ob sid ian tool
Thus, the sim i lar ity of strati graphic po si tion in the vi cin ity of
the site in di cates that the up per blocky lava flow can be as
young as ~3400 years BP. This age fits well with the in ter val
based on abun dant finds of Early Bronze age pot tery (IV–III Mil,
BC) in lake sed i ments that are cov ered by the same lava flows
(Sayadyan, 2009; Karakhanyan et al., 2016).
SEISMITES AND LIQUEFACTIONS
In the ter ri tory of the Re pub lic of Ar me nia, there were no
com plex in ves ti ga tions re lated to seismites and liq ue fac tions.
They must be man i fested in the Ara rat, Shirak and Sevan sed i -
men tary bas ins sit u ated in the seis mi cally ac tive zone. His tor i -
cal liq ue fac tion for the 1840 Ara rat strong earth quake is de -
scribed by Stepanyan (1964). In the Sevan Ba sin, a pre lim i nary
de scrip tion about liq ue fac tion has been pro vided by M. Sosson
and A. Avagyan (Avagyan, 2013) and Korzhenkov et al. (2014).
In the area in di cated by as ter isk 5 in Fig ure 2B, Milanovsky
(1953) de scribed microdislocations, diapiric folds ~1–1.5 m
long, which were formed in the clayey sands. Ac cord ing to this
au thor, such fea tures de velop in sed i ments when they slided
slowly over the lake floor. Our in ves ti ga tion shows that this in -
ter pre ta tion can not ex plain all de for ma tion styles and tex tures
ob served at var i ous lev els >6 m of the sandy layer out crop ping
at the base of the sec tion (Fig. 10 A). Convulations and in jec -
tions of var i ous sizes are ob served, some of them E-W strik ing.
Above the de scribed sandy layer, two ad di tional lay ers are ob -
served. The lower one con sists of coarse-grained sand and is
yel low ish in col our as a re sult of Fe ox i da tion. There are seismi -
tes of smaller size in both lay ers (Fig. 10B, C). Some of them
have a clear mush room shape. These fea tures are of seis mic
or i gin and cor re spond to two or three earth quakes of Mw >5,
with the first be ing of the stron gest in ten sity.
Liesegang rings are ob served as well, and in ter preted as re -
sult ing from per co la tion of ground wa ter down through the al -
ready de pos ited sand stone, and formed af ter chem i cal seg re -
ga tion of iron ox ides and other min er als. The top of the sec tion
is cov ered by trachyandesites (Fig. 10) with the sil ica con tent of
60.9 wt.% and the to tal al kali of 8 wt.%.
Some valu able data of un der wa ter re search from the lower
ba sin of the Gavaraget River were re ceived: it was stated that
the ac tual river es tu ary is not sit u ated in the con tin u a tion of the
un der wa ter val ley (shown by black and white ar rows in Fig. 2B).
The land area of the ac tual river es tu ary is a cu mu la tive coastal
area, where the ero sional val ley is not re flected in the vol ca nic
bed rock. The ex is tence of the un der wa ter bed rock val ley has
been con firmed by sub aque ous re search (dives). The val ley
con tin ues at least down to 35 m depth. It can be as sumed that
the lake level dur ing ero sional ac tiv ity was ~35 m lower and a
rapid rise of the wa ter level oc curred af ter damm ing of the
Hrazdan River due to vol ca nic ac tiv ity. A sim i lar value
(30–35 m) has been ob tained by Vardanyants (1948) based on
anal y ses of dis tri bu tion of Bronze age graves on the lake shore
af ter the ar ti fi cial drop of the Lake Sevan wa ter lev els. There -
fore, dur ing the above dis cussed ero sional ac tiv ity, the shal low
Big Lake Sevan (south of Noratus Pen in sula) did not ex isted
and the lake formed in its cur rent bor ders only re cently and af ter
the ero sion of vol ca nic rocks of the east ern clus ter of the
Gegham Vol ca nic High land by the old Gavaraget River took
place. Ac cord ing to Karakhanyan et al. (2004), the age of the
east ern vol ca nic clus ter of the Gegham Vol ca nic High land is of
post-Würm gla cial age, in di cat ing the Up per Pleis to cene ep och.
In some places, the Noratus-Kanagegh Fault is near the
coast line of Lake Sevan. Tak ing into ac count the fault plane dip -
ping to ward the lake and the re gres sive weath er ing of the fault
scarp, we can sug gest that in some sec tions the fault trace can
be placed in the shal low un der wa ter part of Lake Sevan (Fig.
10D), where it is cov ered by re cent lake sed i ments.
In a bore hole near Noratus vil lage the ground wa ter with
the com po si tion close to lake wa ter is re cov ered in a peb -
ble-con glom er ate ho ri zon at a depth of 84 m (Balyan and
Boshna ghyan, 1964). The peb ble-con glom er ate ho ri zon is sit -
u ated be tween non-per me able clay and thick vol cano-sed i -
men tary lay ers. We as sume that the Gavar Horst un der ground
wa ter flows over the non-per me able layer up to the Noratus -
-Kanagegh Fault seg ment plane that serves as a par tial bar rier
for its cir cu la tion. Con se quently, the un der ground wa ter could
at least partly get to the sur face through the fault planes as
shown in Fig ure 10D. It is pos si ble that there are other par al lel
seg ments fur ther to the east, as in di cated by Karakhanyan et
More than three dozen points of un der wa ter sources and
gas emis sions were iden ti fied lin early strik ing north-south over
>8 km (Fig. 1: as ter isk 2; Figs. 2B and 11). In some places,
there were nu mer ous emis sion points (Fig. 11C, D). In some
cases, gas emis sion is ob served at the sur face with the size of
3.5 to 2 m (Fig. 11D). Some times, the emis sion is so pow er ful
that it forms crat ers in the sand with di am e ters that can reach
0.9 m (Fig. 11B). It is im por tant to note that the wa ter can partly
be not ver ti cally out flow through col lu vium and lake sed i ments,
whereas the gases tend to flow out ver ti cally.
The study of the emit ted gas and wa ter com po si tion is im -
por tant for un der stand ing the sub soil geo chem i cal com po si tion
and eco log i cal in ter ac tions. It should be noted that the sam ple
is an odor less and colour less gas mix ture. More del i cate anal y -
ses were con duced with a gas chromatograph and did not re -
veal meth ane or other gases. Low ox y gen and ni tro gen con tent
(Ta ble 2) of the emit ted gas ses are in ter preted to in di cate the
ab sence of ad mix ture of at mo spheric gases.
In 2018, we con ducted un der wa ter sam pling of the gases
re leased at three points from bot tom sed i ments of Lake Sevan
(Ta ble 2). Two of them are lo cated near the SW shore of the
lake and char ac ter ized gas emis sions re corded along the strike
of the Noratus-Kanagegh Fault (Fig. 1: as ter isk 2 and Fig. 2B).
The third sam ple was taken near the NE side of Small Sevan
Lake in a zone of the ac tive Pambak-Sevan-Sunik Fault (PSSF)
(Fig. 1: as ter isk 1). Ear lier, an as sump tion was made based on
data from meth ane emis sions from the sur face of Lake Sevan
about the re lease of meth ane from the fault zone at the lake bot -
tom (Karakhanyan et al., 2001). In 2017–2018, us ing a so nar,
we re corded the emis sion of gases, mainly meth ane, from the
PSSF ac tive zone at the floor of Small Lake Sevan (Fig. 1: as -
ter isk 1; Karakhanyan et al., 2018). We re peated the mea sure -
ment at the same place in Sep tem ber 2018 and re cov ered wa -
ter and gas sam ples with dives down to a depth of 42.5 m. The
depth of gas emis sions on the SW shore (Noratus-Kanagegh
Fault zone) var ied from 30 cm to 3 m. The com po si tion of the
gas sam ples from NE and SW shores of the lake dif fered dra -
mat i cally. The south west ern gas emis sions were rep re sented
by al most pure car bon di ox ide (up to 96%) with a small ad mix -
ture of ni tro gen (up to 4.5%) and meth ane (<0.05%) among
other gases (Ta ble 2). In con trast to that, meth ane (75.6%) and
ni tro gen (21%) pre vailed in gas emit ters in the NE shore. Here,
the con cen tra tion of CO2 made up only 2.5%.
In or der to un der stand the na ture of stud ied gas em a na -
tions, iso to pic com po si tion of car bon in the gases was ana -
lysed. Re sults dem on strate that meth ane is char ac ter ized by
low d13C in CH4 (–67.7‰). Al most equal low d13C val ues are ob -
served in the ac com pa ny ing CO2 (–49.1‰). Such low d13C val -
ues are in dic a tive of biogenic or i gin of gases: meth ane is a
prod uct of the mi cro bial de com po si tion of or ganic res i dues, and
CO2 is formed, most likely, dur ing the mi cro bial ox i da tion of
CH4. These gases are as so ci ated with ni tro gen show ing d15N
(N2) = –0.6‰, which is only slightly dis tin guish able from the cor -
re spond ing value in at mo spheric air [d15N (N2) = 0‰]. Prob a bly,
about a zero value of d15N (N2) re flects the early diagenetic gen -
e sis of meth ane in this sam ple (it is formed in the up per layer of
lake sed i ments rich in organics).
In terms of iso to pic char ac ter is tics, al most the same C and
N gases were col lected by us from the bot tom sed i ments of the
small lake lo cated in the crater of the vol cano Armagan in the
east ern part of the Gegham Vol ca nic High land (Ta ble 2). There
Fig. 10A – lithostratigraphic col umn of the site in di cated by as ter isk 2 in Fig ure 1; B, C – pho tos
of seismites; D – sche matic cross-sec tion of the wa ter sources and gas emis sion in the
Kanagegh area (1 – col lu vium, 2 – sand); lo ca tion is shown by as ter isk 5 in Fig ure 1
were no signs of con cen trated un load ing of gases (they started
to stand out in tensely when mix ing a gas-sat u rated silt layer ly -
ing on the bot tom of the lake).
The emis sions from the south west ern part of Lake Sevan,
along seg ments of the Noratus-Kanagegh Fault, sharply dif fer
from those stud ied in the NE. For ex am ple, they have high d13C
val ues in CO2 (–0.9 and –1.4‰). Ac cord ing to the d13C and N in
N2, the de tected CO2 are close to an a logues of min eral spring
sources that we an a lysed on the Lake Sevan shores
(Shahinyan et al., 2019; Ta ble 2). All of these are as so ci ated
with ei ther young vol ca nic cen tres or large ac tive fault sys tems.
It is also im por tant to note that the min eral wa ter and as so ci -
ated CO2 emis sions stud ied by us near the south west ern shore
of Lake Sevan were so pow er ful that they even in flu enced the
pH value of lake wa ters in the coastal zone. Usu ally, the wa ter
of Lake Sevan is char ac ter ized by slightly al ka line pH (8.8).
How ever, near the south west ern shore, the pH value was sig -
nif i cantly lower – up to 7.34, and we as sume that this change is
re lated to a mas sive in flow of min eral wa ters from seg ments of
the Noratus-Kanagegh ac tive fault sys tem.
In gen eral, we as sume that meth ane-rich gas emis sions
found in the NE part of Lake Sevan, as so ci ated with the PSSF,
have a diagenetic or i gin, judg ing by the d13C in CH4, and are not
re lated with deep fluid res er voirs. How ever, tak ing into ac count
the con cen trated na ture of their emis sions, it can be as sumed
that the sys tem of ac tive faults is the path way of drain age of
gases gen er ated by diagenetic al ter ations in loose Lake Sevan
sed i ments and may in di cate ac tiv ity of PSSF in the lake bot tom.
The stud ied gases are con trasted by gas emis sions of the
SW shore of the lake, which mark the ex ten sion of the Noratus -
-Kanagegh Fault. In terms of their geo chem i cal char ac ter is tics,
they can be con sid ered an a logues of CO2 min eral springs, as -
so ci ated with young vol ca nic cen tres in the Lake Sevan Ba sin.
Car bon di ox ide of the SW shore is of vol ca nic or mixed
volcanogenic-meta mor phic or i gin. It is also ac com pa nied by ni -
tro gen with lower d15N = –2.3‰. Such d15N val ues do not ex -
clude the pos si bil ity of man tle N de gas sing, since d15N in MORB
= –5 ±2‰ (Cartigny and Marty, 2013), which ul ti mately em pha -
sizes the volcanogenic or i gin of these gases.
The dif fer ence be tween the com po si tion of gas from the NE
and SW points of emis sion can be ex plained by geo log i cal and
struc tural set tings. The NE point is sit u ated in the PSSF zone
(~400 km long), which is the great est struc ture of the Lesser
Cau ca sus. On the con trary, the SW point is sit u ated in the
~25 km long zone of the Noratus-Kanagegh Fault. The lat ter is
on the east slope of the Neo gene-Qua ter nary vol ca nic high -
land. The sug gested mag matic cham ber feeds the ground wa ter
In situ tem per a ture, elec tri cal con duc tiv ity, and pH trac ing in
the sam pling point and its sur round ing did not re veal any no tice -
able anom a lies. There fore, the source wa ter does not sig nif i -
cantly dif fer from the lake wa ter.
The ex is tence of the un der wa ter val ley of the Gavaraget
River shows that the level of Lake Sevan dur ing ero sional ac tiv -
ity was ~35 m lower and the shal low Big Sevan did not ex ist.
The study of the out crops at the Lake Sevan shore line al -
lowed the iden ti fi ca tion of very young lake sed i ments sand -
wiched be tween lava boul ders. The sim i lar ity of strati graphic
po si tion ev i denced in the vi cin ity of the site in di cates (Kara -
Fig. 11. Un der wa ter pho to graphs
A – a diver-ge ol o gist is re cord ing the ob ser va tion in a spe cial note book,
B–D – emis sion of gases in dif fer ent vol umes
khanyan et al., 2004) that the up per blocky lava flow can be at
most ~3400 years old.
The Noratus-Kanagegh Fault, bor der ing Lake Sevan from
the SW, is a young ac tive struc ture prin ci pally of nor mal ki ne -
mat ics. The fault lim its the Gavar Horst to the east. The fault af -
fects the Noratus strata se quence. About 42 m of the fault
footwall por tion has been sam pled for palaeomagnetic study.
The low er most 5 m of the out crop (peb ble con glom er ates)
showed re verse mag netic po lar ity of the Kaena event and the
rest 38 m por tion of the se quence has nor mal mag netic po lar ity
of the up per part of the Gauss ep och (Fig. 3). Thus, the age of
the lower part of the se quence is be tween 3.1 and 2.3 Ma.
The up per and post-Gelasian ac tiv ity of the Noratus -
-Kanagegh Fault is proven by dis place ment of the sco ria layer
of 2.30 ±0.15 Ma K/Ar age. The fault plane has a listric shape.
The fault spatiotemporal ac tiv ity shows its ge netic re la tion to
vol ca nic ac tiv ity.
For the first time in the Re pub lic of Ar me nia, in the frame -
work of sci en tific pro ject fi nanced by the Com mit tee of Sci ence
of RA, in col lab o ra tion with CARPS, com plex sub aque ous stud -
ies were car ried out in the shal low area of Lake Sevan
(Noratus-Kanagegh tec tonic fault zone). The re sults al low us to
re veal the re lief char ac ter is tics, as well as the pres ence of a tec -
tonic fault be low the re cent de pos its of the lake. Based on spa -
tial dis tri bu tion of sub aque ous sources and emit ted gases, an
un known seg ment of the 8 km long fault is mapped.
The dis cov ery of the sub aque ous seg ment of the ac tive
fault shows the pres ence of an other nat u ral risk of lake tsu nami
re lated to a fu ture rup ture of the fault.
De tailed geo chem i cal and iso tope stud ies of gas em a na -
tions within the seg ments of PSSF in the NE part of the lake,
rep re sented by meth ane and ni tro gen, re veal a diagenetic
(biogenic) na ture of the meth ane. In con trary, abun dant un der -
wa ter gas emis sions in the SW part of Lake Sevan within the
seg ments on the Noratus-Kanagegh ac tive Fault, rep re sented
mostly by car bon di ox ide, are of vol ca nic or mixed volcano -
genic -metamorphogenic or i gin and can be re lated to un load ing
of deep fluid sys tems. The dif fer ence be tween the com po si tion
of gas from the NE and SW points of emis sion is partly ex -
plained by geo log i cal and struc tural set tings re lated to the Neo -
gene-Qua ter nary vol ca nic ac tiv ity.
Ac knowl edge ments. We thank Dr. I. Savov, Dr. H. Nazari
and anon y mous re view ers for their con struc tive re views. The
CARPS mem bers, par tic u larly its pres i dent Claude Tulumjyan,
and di vers S. Kojoyan and V. Melkonyan are ac knowl edged for
their as sis tance in un der wa ter re search and sam pling of gas
em a na tions. V.A. Lebedev (In sti tute of Ge ol ogy of Ore De pos -
its, Pe trog ra phy, Min er al ogy and Geo chem is try of the RAS,
Rus sia) is thanked for K/Ar dat ing, and V.G. Trifonov for his
valu able advices. The re search was sup ported by the Com mit -
tee of Sci ence of Min is try of Ed u ca tion, Sci ence, Cul ture and
Sports of Re pub lic of Ar me nia (CS MESCS of Ar me nia) in the
frame work of the re search pro ject 15T-1E041, and by Rus sian
Foun da tion for Ba sic Re search (RFBR), pro ject 17-05-00727.
Parts of the re search were sup ported by ISTC re search pro ject
#G-2153. Field cam paign, un der wa ter sam pling, geo chem i cal
and iso tope in ves ti ga tions of gas em a na tions from the ac tive
fault zones from the bot tom of Lake Sevan were un der taken in
the frame work of an Ar me nian-Rus sian re search pro ject jointly
funded by CS MESCS of Ar me nia (# 18RF-126) and RFBR
Ta ble 2
Chem i cal and iso tope com po si tions of Lake Sevan bot tom and nearshore min eral spring gas emis sions
Sam ple # 4V/18 5V/18 6V/18 Gavar Lichk Ttujur Gridsor Ahberg Zod Dadjur Atash
lo ca tion
CH4 em a -
CO2 em a -
CO2 em a na -
tions 150 m
shore, 3 m
spring bore hole min eral
spring min eral
spring min eral
spring min eral
spring min eral
spring min eral
Lat i tude,
dec i mal
de grees 40.6137 40.2668 40.2668 40.350184 40.168188 40.644249 40.231511 40.5474 40.23725 39.97829 39.9573
Lon gi tude,
dec i mal
de grees 45.0206 45.2205 45.2223 45.129894 45.247027 45.316627 45.01076 45.27396 45.90029 45.43084 45.14925
Ar 0.421 0.141 0.094 ––0.114 0.989 0.077 0.878 0.614 0.072
He –0.001 0.001 0.0069 –0.001 0.0069 0.001 0.084 0.011 –
O2–0.013 0.013 0.027 0.059 0.054 0.027 0.019 –0.994 0.014
N221.011 4.477 3.081 1.12 0.53 1.430 1.12 2.119 58.940 22.846 1.506
CH475.561 0.050 0.021 0.0026 0.00035 0.0026 0.011 9.347 –0.001
CO 0.001 0.010 0.011 0.0011 0.00047 0.010 0.0011 0.012 0.008 –0.010
CO22.451 95.189 95.992 98.29 99.32 98.072 98.29 97.223 30.552 75.521 98.298
To tal [%] 99.457 99.881 99.213 99.45 99.91 99.681 99.45 99.462 99.809 99.986 99.901
[‰]–0.6 –2.3 –2.3 –0.3 –2.6 –2.0 –0.3 –0.7 0.1 –0.1 –1.3
[‰] –49.1 –0.9 –1.4 –7.2 –2.9 –0.7 –7.2 –0.5 –5.4 +0.1 +0.2
[‰] –67.7 ––––––––––
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