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AAPG Bulletin


AAPG Bulletin, V. 86, No. 1 (January 2002), P. 161-182.

Copyright ©2002. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved.

Sedimentation and basin evolution of the Oligocene-Miocene Mesohellenic basin, Greece

A. Zelilidis,1 D. J. W. Piper,2 N. Kontopoulos3

1Department of Geology, University of Patras, Patras 26110, Greece; email: [email protected]
2Geological Survey of Canada (Atlantic), Bedford Institute of Oceanography, P.O. Box 1006, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, B2Y 4A2, Canada; email: [email protected]
3Department of Geology, University of Patras, Patras 26110, Greece; email: [email protected]


Abraham Zelilidis received his B.Sc. degree in geology in 1984 and a Ph.D. in sedimentology in 1988 from the University of Patras, Greece. From 1993 he worked as lecturer and from 1999 as assistant professor in the Department of Geology at the University of Patras, specializing in basin analysis.

David J. W. Piper is a marine geologist with the Geological Survey of Canada who is presently assigned to work on slope instability on the Nova Scotian margin. He has a longstanding interest in the evolution of turbidite systems and the application of insights from the marine realm to ancient sedimentary successions.

Nikolaos Kontopoulos received his B.Sc. degree in geography and natural sciences from the University of Athens, Greece, in 1969 and his Ph.D. in sedimentology from the University of Patras, Greece, in 1979. In 1980 he was a postdoctoral fellow at Dalhousie University in Canada. He is now a professor at the University of Patras, specializing in recent and ancient sedimentary environments.


Our best thanks are to the Public Petroleum Corporation of Greece, particularly T. Fokianou, C. Alexiadis, and N. Rigakis, for their support of this work, the provision of data, and permission to publish the data. Nannofossil determinations were made by Krystallina Stojkova, Geological Institute, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. We thank Andrew MacRae, Trevor Elliot, and Paul Weimer for constructive reviews of this article.


The Oligocene-Miocene Mesohellenic basin of northern Greece and southern Albania is filled with up to 4 km of marine turbidites and basin margin strata. Surface outcrops include fan deltas, prodeltaic facies, and sandy and shaly submarine fan facies. All these facies in outcrop can be directly correlated with seismic facies in the subsurface, which in turn are compared with seismic facies in modern sandy submarine fans. Twelve seismic markers provide a stratigraphic framework that has been dated by new nannofossil biostratigraphy. Lowstand facies include erosional channels on the basin slope that aggrade basinward with sandy overbank levees to give composite sand bodies with an overall lobelike character. Distally, these pass into sandy channel-termination depositional lobes. Highstand facies are characterized by shaly basin slopes and shaly turbidites in the basin, with irregular reflections interpreted to represent shallow channels and slumps. The stratigraphic occurrence of lowstand facies compares closely with published eustatic sea level curves. The basin has the potential for significant gas, principally in stratigraphic traps. The Mesohellenic basin developed as a strike-slip half graben, synchronous with the Ionian foreland basin to the west of a mountain belt formed by the Pindos nappes.

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