Quaternary continental shelf basins of Saronikos Gulf, Aegean Sea

Abstract

The Saronikos Gulf hosts the northwestern end of the South Aegean Active Volcanic Arc. It is affected by extensional back-arc tectonism in a prominent N-S direction, while older E-W rifting is also manifested. Recently acquired swath bathymetry and high-resolution seismic profiles led to the precise morphological mapping of five Quaternary continental shelf basins, along with their neotectonic delineations and their cross-correlation to the onshore active fault zones. Aegina and Methana basins, in the southeast Saronikos Gulf, display subsidence along ENE-WSW and NW-SE axes, and continuous marine sedimentation throughout the Upper Quaternary. Salamina basin in the northeast Saronikos Gulf is a shallow, relatively stable sedimentary basin, intermittently connected to the SE and NW Saronikos Gulf through the Aegina-Fleves and the Aegina-Salamina plateau respectively. In the western and most active region of Saronikos Gulf, the onshore E-W–trending faults of Kechrees and Agios Vassileios extend eastwards until the Salamina-Aegina plateau. The Megara basin is WNW-ESE oriented, possibly affected by the N-S Korfos fault valley, which connects the Megara and Epidavros basins. E-W–trending faults tilt the Quaternary sedimentary blocks, in compatibility to the N-S extensional tectonic regime of the adjacent Gulf of Corinth. Prograding clinoforms in the Megara and Epidavros basins reveal an Upper Quaternary-age intermittent connection to the open sea. Mass transport deposits and volcanic flows in-between the Upper Quaternary sediments of the Epidavros basin manifest the 500–400 ka tectonic phase that affected both the NE Peloponnese coast and the active N-S and NW-SE to WNW-ESE striking faults of the Epidavros basin margin.

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Acknowledgments

We gratefully acknowledge our colleagues V. Anagnostopoulos, G. Kontogonis, E. Markakis, and S. Petrakis for their participation, help, and companionship during the survey missions. We sincerely thank David Piper who read an earlier version of this paper. The authors are most grateful for the constructive and thoughtful reviews provided by two anonymous reviewers and the editor Prof. A. Green.

Funding

Panagiotis Foutrakis received a PhD grant co-financed by the European Union (European Social Fund—ESF) and Greek national funds through the Operational Program “Education and Lifelong Learning” of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF)—Research Funding Program: Heracleitus II.

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Foutrakis, P.M., Anastasakis, G. Quaternary continental shelf basins of Saronikos Gulf, Aegean Sea. Geo-Mar Lett 40, 629–647 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00367-020-00653-9

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Keywords

  • Continental shelf basins
  • Quaternary evolution
  • Rifting
  • Basin analysis
  • Seismic stratigraphy
  • Bathymorphology
  • Saronikos Gulf-Aegean Sea