J. I. Soto, M. D. Tranos, Z. Bega, T. P. Dooley, P. Hernández, M. R. Hudec, P. A. Konstantopoulos, E. Lula, K. Nikolaou, R. Pérez, J. P. Pita, J. A. Titos, C. Tzimeas, A. Herra Sánchez de Movellán

Contrasting Styles of Salt‐Tectonic Processes in the Ionian Zone (Greece and Albania): Integrating Surface Geology, Subsurface Data, and Experimental Models

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics

AbstractThe Ionian Zone (IZ) is one of the key elements of the fold and thrust belt (FTB) of the Albanian and Hellenides orogen and contains large outcrops of Triassic evaporites. The IZ consists of various thrust sheets with a general westward vergence, stacking over the Apulian and Pre‐Apulian zones, and repeating a thick carbonate sequence of Upper Triassic to Eocene age. Thrusting becomes younger toward the west with a piggyback sequence, starting during the latest Oligocene Epoch in the Internal Ionian and ending in the Pliocene in the External Ionian. We have studied the IZ in southern Albania and northwestern Greece using field observations and borehole data and by fully interpreting a recently acquired 2D seismic data set. Our objectives are to establish the geometry and nature of the contacts associated with the major Triassic outcrops, to unravel precursor salt diapirs, and to assess their role during the Alpine contraction. Salt structures include gentle salt pillows, isolated salt plugs and diapirs, thrust welds, and salt walls. Combining these observations with experimental modeling results, we show how these structures control the geometry and kinematics of the Alpine thrusts or the location and kinematics of recent strike‐slip faults. Salt minibasins have also been identified, demonstrating salt mobility conditioned Mesozoic sedimentation in the Ionian Basin. The use of salt‐tectonics principles to evaluate the structural style and evolution of the IZ FTB also opens new directions for interpreting the subsurface structure and evolution of the region.

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