Joint reports

Subsidence mechanisms within the South Caspian Basin

  • The executive companies: Keele University,  University of Fribourg
  • The year of publication: November 2003
  • Code: -
  • Volumes: total 1 


Some of the deepest sedimentary basins (and largest sources of hydrocarbons) in the world (occur within intra-continental settings, but they are poorly understood in terms of the mechanisms that have controlled their subsidence history. The aim of this project is to investigate the geological and geodynamic processes that have controlled the evolution of one of the deepest intra-continental basins, namely the South Caspian basin. Although it is widely accepted that the basin was initiated Ьу Mesozoic back-arc extension related to the subduction of the Tethys plate to the south (e.g. Zonenshain and Le Pichon, 1986), more than half of the 20 km subsidence presently observed occurred within the framework of the Alpine-Himalayan orogenic belt. Work, to date, has shown that this basin cannot bе attributed entirely to either extensional or compressional tectonics. Indeed, offshore seismic data shows а lack of extensional faulting within the basin, while compressional deformation is dominant at the basin edges. Our aim is to decipher the role of the main subsidence mechanisms and their timing: mainly extensional with crustallmantle changes during the Mesozoic and compressional deformation during most of the Cainozoic history.

The project provides an excellent opportunity to gain insights into the evolution of one of the most interesting and, as yet, poorly understood basins within the geological record. Project resu1ts will also have economic implications bу elucidating how the magnitude and frequency of tectonic movements have controlled depocentre-migration and hydrocarbon generation within the South Caspian Sea region. Primarily, however, this investigation will offer the prospect of significantly advancing our understanding at а global scale of the role played bу deep crustal and mantle lithosphere processes during the evolution of basins trapped between continental blocks (e.g. the Black Sea, the Pannonian basin, the Precaspian basin).




The Geological Evolution of the South Caspian Basin

Offshore Data

Fieldwork in Eastern Great Caucasus, Azerbaijan

Integrated structural and geodynamic modeling

Summary and future work


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