, Volume 46, Issue 8, pp 1024-1029

The mud volcanoes of Pakistan

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Abstract

Marine-geologic investigations on the Arabian Sea by Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe (BGR) in 1995 and 1998, and land expeditions in 1998 and 1999 to the coastal regions of the Makran Desert/Pakistan have extended the knowledge of the aerial distribution of mud volcanoes. These structures rise from under-compacted formations within the regional accretionary prism, which is built by the subduction of the oceanic crust of the Arabian Sea and its km-thick sedimentary load. The occurrence of mud volcanoes is limited to the abyssal plain near the accretionary front, to the coastal region of the Makran Desert and to a region in the interior of the Desert to the south to southeast of the so-called Hinglay Synform. The location of mud volcanoes in Pakistan is clearly tied to fault systems. Mud volcanoes are conspicuously absent on the lower slope of the accretionary prism, where thick gas hydrate layers have developed. The presence of large gas plumes emerging from the seafloor landward of the gas hydrate stability zone at water depths of less than 800 m points to a redirection of fluids from depth, which might explain the absence of mud volcanoes along the lower slope.