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AAPG Bulletin

Abstract


Volume: 65 (1981)

Issue: 7. (July)

First Page: 1299

Last Page: 1319

Title: Mesozoic and Cenozoic Rocks from Malta Escarpment (Central Mediterranean)

Author(s): P. Scandone (2), E. Patacca (2), R. Radoicic (3), W. B. F. Ryan (4), M. B. Cita (5), M. Rawson (4), H. Chezar (4), E. Miller (4), J. McKenzie (6), and S. Rossi (7)

Abstract:

Sedimentary rocks of Triassic-Neogene age are present on the Malta Escarpment of the eastern Mediterranean.

Upper Triassic dolomitic limestones of shallow-water origin, at depths between 2.5 and 3.5 km, are similar in lithofacies to coeval platform carbonates of the Siracusa (Syracuse) belt of southern Sicily. Jurassic rocks include lower-middle Liassic shallow-water limestones followed by condensed hemipelagic lime deposits indicative of sinking and starving of the former platform. Cretaceous materials are represented by both red marls rich in planktonic faunas and reworked volcaniclastic breccias including shallow-water skeletal material.

Paleogene rocks are both shallow-water limestones with corals, algae, and bivalves, and redeposited calcarenites of lithofacies similar to those from surface and subsurface of the Ragusa zone. Oligocene-?lower Miocene rocks from the escarpment are also similar in lithology to the coeval Ragusa deposits. Tortonian is represented by hemipelagic marls indicating open-marine environment. Pervasive dolomitization on lime crusts and on initial-stage fissure fillings with strongly positive isotopic oxygen ratio is thought to be a product of Messinian evaporitic drawdown. Pliocene sediments belong to the Trubi facies and consist of pelagic foraminiferal chalk.

An impressive vertical relief existed by Miocene times, as attested by Messinian crusts and veins on or in rocks as old as Late Triassic. Our data do not provide evidence that this morphologic feature necessarily coincides with a continent-ocean transition. The present escarpment was produced by faulting, erosion, and defacement.

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