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Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Research project: Crustal and sedimentary structure of the Eastern Black Sea Basin from long-offset seismic reflection data

Currently Active: 

In the Eastern Black Sea Basin (EBSB), the timing and kinematic of basin opening, and the presence and distribution of oceanic crust are still open to debate. In this study, we use long-offset seismic reflection data to map the deep seismo-stratigraphic and structural elements, and to infer the spatio-temporal distribution of rifting and breakup processes in the basin. Magnetic anomaly modelling is integrated to further constrain the presence and distribution of oceanic crust.

The Eastern Black Sea Basin (EBSB) is a deep extensional basin that opened during Late Cretaceous and the Early Tertiary in a back-arc setting. This area is also a frontier in oil and gas exploration and, therefore, crustal types and their distribution in this area are important parameters to be used for thermal modelling of hydrocarbon maturation. However, the presence of a thick sequence of sediments (~ 9 km) limit the ability of conventional geophysical methods to image deep structural and stratigraphic features of the central basin, thus leaving uncertainties in tectono-stratigraphic reconstruction. Furthermore, it is still debated whether the EBSB is underlain by stretched continental crust and/or oceanic crust.

In this study, we use long-offset seismic reflection data, acquired in 2011 by Geology Without Limits and ION GXT, to image the key elements of rift-basin settings such as thinned continental crust, tilted fault-blocks, syn- and post-kinematic sequences, and the top of the acoustic basement. The distribution of syn- and post-kinematic sequences provides an important record of the timing of rifting and breakup processes. The temporal and spatial migration of rifting and breakup in the basin, and the changes in morphological character of the seismic basement, provide insights on the presence of different crustal domains. The nature of these crustal domains is further constrained using magnetic anomaly modelling.

Funding dates:

September 2016 to June 2021

(PhD suspended for 9 months placement)

Funding provider:

NERC CDT Oil and Gas

Structural map (left) and summary of the main tectonic events (right) in the EBSB

Structural map (left) and summary of the main tectonic events (right) in the EBSB

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