TitleMass wasting at the easternmost Cyprus Arc, Off Syria, Eastern Mediterranean
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsTahchi E., Urgeles R., Hübscher C., Benkhelil J.
Conference NameSubmarine Mass Movements and Their Consequences - 4th International Symposium
PublisherKluwer Academic Publishers
ISBN Number9789048130702
KeywordsContour current, Debris-flow deposits, Mass failure, Seafloor bathymetry, Syrian Margin
AbstractThe seafloor topography at the easternmost deformation front between the African and the Anatolian plate off Syria is dominated by the Latakia Ridge, which obliquely intersects the Syrian margin. In this study, we investigate post-Miocene depositional processes of this topographically intricate area and their relationship with mass-wasting phenomena by means of bathymetric, multi-channel seismic reflection and sediment sub-bottom profiler data. Northward of the Latakia Ridge, the Latakia Slope is characterized by steep scarps of up to 500 m height. The Pliocene-Quaternary strata are truncated by the scarps, which are located in the upward prolongation of normal fault planes. Some scarps are from erosion or non-deposition as a consequence of contour currents. Evidence for recent active tectonics is also present in the Latakia Ridge. A basement outcrop along the crest of the northern Latakia Ridge presumably reflects the transtensional faulting of this easternmost section of the African-Anatolian deformation front. The western side of the northern Latakia Ridge shows evidence of more cohesive slumping, probably owing to the overconsolidated nature of the sediment. Here a potential future slide of 11 km3 associated with a rotational fault has been identified. The sedimentary and tectonic setting has resulted in frequent mass wasting. Abundant scars and debris flow-like deposits have been observed on the flanking slopes of the Latakia canyon and the Syrian Margin. The Latakia canyon is fed by several tributary canyons which are incised into the Syrian Slope. Steep slopes, high sediment accumulation rates and active strike-slip tectonics appear to have a fundamental role in submarine mass-failure initiation. Mass-failure characteristics indicate that geohazards may exist from subsequent potential tsunami generation. © Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2010.