New evidence on the geologic setting of Medjerda Valley plain (northern Tunisia) from integrated geophysical study of Triassic evaporite bodies

Amira Ayed-Khaled, Taher Zouaghi, Mohamed Atawa, Mohamed Ghanmi


Integrated gravity, two dimensional (2D) seismic and field data (lithostratigraphy and tectonic deformations) help to understand the structural setting of the Triassic evaporites in the Atlas Mountains of northern Tunisia. In the Medjerda Valley plain, Triassic outcrops are bounded by NE-, ENE-, and NW-trending faults. These faults have been reactivated and have controlled the basin framework. The gravity analysis included the construction of a gravity anomaly maps, and 2D gravity model. Corresponding gravity responses of the complete Bouguer anomaly, the residual gravity anomaly, and upward continued maps reveal that the Triassic evaporites do not have a neat gravity signature. 2D seismic profiles show rising structures of Triassic strata associated with Mesozoic and Cenozoic tectonic edifices. The seismic horizons, calibrated to outcrop and well data, reveal paleohighs and diapirs of Triassic strata that were existed during the Jurassic and Early Cretaceous. These structural features induced a lateral outpouring of evaporitic strata within Late Cretaceous strata. A NW–SE-trending gravity model, which crosses the Medjerda Valley plain, highlights geometry identified on seismic lines. In the Medjerda plain, Mesozoic extensional and transtensional movements were associated with rising of Triassic evaporites, thus resulting in diapiric structures. The Late Cretaceous-Eocene structural setting was marked by outpouring of locally extruded Triassic evaporites. The Tertiary and Quaternary times are marked by major contractional events, causing inversion of pre-existing tectonic edifices. This integrated geophysical study provides a greater understanding of the Thibar deep structure, and a new geometry model of the Triassic evaporite bodies in the North Tunisia.


Tunisia; Atlas Mountains; Lineaments; Structuring; Triassic; Evaporites; Gravity modelling

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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X