Two distinct series of slumps deform the upper part of the sedimentary sequence along the continental margin of the Levant. One series is found along the base of the continental slope, where it overlies the disrupted eastern edge of the Messinian evaporites. The second series of slumps transects the continental margin from the shelf break to the Levant Basin. It seemed that the two series were triggered by two unrelated, though contemporaneous, processes. The shore-parallel slumps were initiated by basinwards flow of the Messinian salt, that carried along the overlying Plio-Quaternary sediments. Seawater that percolated along the detachment faults dissolved the underlying salt to form distinctly disrupted structures. The slope-normal slumps are located on top of large canyons that cut into the pre-Messinian sedimentary rocks. A layer of salt is found in the canyons, and the Plio-Quaternary sediments were deposited on that layer. The slumps are bounded by large, NW-trending faults where post-Messinian faulted offset was measured. We presume that the flow of the salt in the canyons also drives the slope-normal slumps. Thus thin-skinned halokynetic processes generated the composite post-Tortonian structural patterns of the Levant margin. The Phoenician Structures are a prime example of the collapse of a distal continental margin due to the dissolution of a massive salt layer.
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