Mediterranean ridge structure: Results from IMERSE

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Abstract

As the African plate is subducted beneath Eurasia at the Mediterranean Ridge (Figure 1), part of its sediment cover is scraped off to form an accretionary wedge. The International Mediterranean Ridge Seismic Experiment (IMERSE) project has collected over 2650 km of high-quality seismic reflection data and a grid of wide-angle recordings to investigate the structure of this wedge. The data show that offscraped sediments include the thick Messinian evaporites which were deposited about 5–6 million years ago during desiccation of the Mediterranean Sea (Figure 2). The presence of these evaporites distinguishes the Mediterranean Ridge, which is characterized by an extremely broad and flat wedge, short wavelength folding at the seafloor, and large-scale evaporite dissolution, from other accretionary systems.

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