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Structure and evolution of mass transport deposits in the South Caspian Basin, Azerbaijan

Authors

  • Steve E. J. Richardson,

    1. CeREES (Centre for Research into Earth Energy Systems), Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University, Science Labs, Durham DH1 3LE, UK
    2. BP Exploration Operating Company Ltd., Sunbury-on-Thames, Middlesex TW16 7LN, UK
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  • Richard J. Davies,

    1. CeREES (Centre for Research into Earth Energy Systems), Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University, Science Labs, Durham DH1 3LE, UK
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  • Mark B. Allen,

    1. CeREES (Centre for Research into Earth Energy Systems), Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University, Science Labs, Durham DH1 3LE, UK
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  • Simon F. Grant

    1. BP Exploration Operating Company Ltd., Sunbury-on-Thames, Middlesex TW16 7LN, UK
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Steve E. J. Richardson, CeREES (Centre for Research into Earth Energy Systems), Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University, Science Labs, Durham DH1 3LE, UK. E-mail: stephen.richardson@uk.bp.com

ABSTRACT

The Quaternary to late Pliocene sedimentary succession along the margin of the South Caspian Basin contains numerous kilometre-scale submarine slope failures, which were sourced along the basin slope and from the inclined flanks of contemporaneous anticlines. This study uses three-dimensional (3D) seismic reflection data to visualise the internal structure of 27 mass transport deposits and catalogues the syndepositional structures contained within them. These are used to interpret emplacement processes occurring during submarine slope failure. The deposits consist of three linked structural domains: extensional, translational and compressive, each containing characteristic structures. Novel features are present within the mass transport deposits: (1) a diverging retrogression of the headwall scarp; (2) the absence of a conventional headwall scarp around growth stratal pinch outs; (3) restraining bends in the lateral margin; (4) a downslope increase in the throw of thrust faults. The results of this study shed light on the deformation that occurred during submarine slope failure, and highlight an important geological process in the evolution of the South Caspian Basin margin.

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