The structural elements and tectonics of the Lake Van basin (Eastern Anatolia) from multi-channel seismic reflection profiles

Frank.Niessen [ at ]


This study analyzed multi-channel seismic reflection data from Lake Van, Eastern Anatolia, to provide key information on the structural elements, deformational patterns and overall tectonic structure of the Lake Van basin. The seismic data reveal three subbasins (the Tatvan, northern and Ahlat subbasins) separated by structural ridges (the northern and Ahlat ridges). The Tatvan basin is a tilted wedge-block in the west, it is a relatively undeformed and flat-lying deep basin, forming a typical example of strike-slip sedimentation. Seismic sections reveal that the deeper sedimentary sections of the Tatvan basin are locally folded, gently in the south and more intensely further north, suggesting a probable gravitational “wedge-block” instability, oblique to the northern margin. The northern subbasin, bounded by normal oblique faults, forms a basin-margin graben structure that is elongated in a northeast-southwest direction. The east-west trending Ahlat ridge forms a fault-wedged sedimentary ridge and appears to offset by reverse oblique faults forming as a push-up rhomb horst structure. The Ahlat subbasin is a fault-wedged trough fill that is elongated in the west-east direction and appears as a horst-foot graben formed by the normal oblique faults. The northeast-southwest directed northern ridge is a faulted crestal terrace of a sublacustrine basement block. Its step-like morphology, in response to the downfaulting of the Tatvan basin, as well as its backthrusted appearance, indicates the normal oblique nature of the bounding faults. The lacustrine shelf and slope show distinctive stratigraphic features; progradational deltas, submerged fluvial channels, distorted and collapsed beddings and soft sediment deformation structures, characterizing a highly unstable nature of shelf caused by strong oblique faulting and related earthquakes. The faulting caused uplift of the Çarpanak spur zone, together with the northeastern Erek delta, deformation of deltaic structures and subsequently exposing the shelf and slope areas. The exposed areas are evident in the angular unconformity surface of the Çarpanak basement block with the northeastern Erek delta and thinned sediments. The uplift resulted in the asymmetric depositional emplacement of the southeastern delta that is controlled by a series of ramp anticlines/low angle reverse faults. The Deveboynu subbasin and Varis spur zone form wide fault-controlled depressions with thick sediments that are elongated in the north-south direction. These subbasins appear as a small pull-apart boundary formed by normal oblique faults at the western end of the southeastern delta.

Item Type
Primary Division
Primary Topic
Peer revision
ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
Publication Status
Eprint ID
DOI 10.1016/j.jafrearsci.2017.01.002

Cite as
Toker, M. , Sengor, C. A. M. , Demirel Schluter, F. , Demirbag, E. , Cukur, D. , Imren, C. and Niessen, F. (2017): The structural elements and tectonics of the Lake Van basin (Eastern Anatolia) from multi-channel seismic reflection profiles , Journal of African Earth Sciences, 129 , pp. 165-178 . doi: 10.1016/j.jafrearsci.2017.01.002



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