ACTIVE MUD VOLCANOES ALONG THE MAKRAN COASTAL BELT, SW PAKISTAN

Abstract: The Makran coastal belt is over one thousand km long stretching from Iran to east of Karachi in Pakistan. A major active subduction zone known as Makran subduction zone defined by the underthrusting of the Arabian plate beneath the Eurasian plate runs parallel to the coastline. The subduction zone is associated with a thick accretionary sedimentary wedge deposited in an active fore-arc basin containing very thick detrital sediments contributed by the accretion of the subducting plate since Late Eocene time. The sediments in the fore-arc basin are fine grained usually of clay size fraction deposited in highly fluidized conditions trapping methane gas. The fluidized mud diapirically moves upward along weak zones as mud volcanoes due to high sedimentation rates and escaping gas pressure piercing through the overlying sediment layers. The development of mud volcanoes shows a close relationship between the sedimentation rates, gas escape from sediments and tectonic activity. Mud volcanoes are found in abundance both onshore and offshore Makran Coast. Most of the mud volcano clusters in Makran coastal areas (onshore) are associated with fault zones and are believed to be triggered by tectonic activity. The area to the north of the Makran coastal belt is seismically active where sever earthquakes of magnitude 7 and above is a common phenomenon such as Awaran earthquake of 2013 measuring Mw=7.7 and Mw=8.2 of 1945. The seismic activity of this scale triggers appearance of new islands off the Makran coast in the Arabian Sea such as one that appeared with 2013 major earthquake. In this presentation we will review major mud volcanoes formed along the Makran coastal region by describing their evolution history and mechanism of their formation. It will also describe the sudden appearance of islands off Makran coast since 1945 major earthquake and their importance in the geological history of the coastal region.

Dr. Iftikhar Ahmed Abbasi ( Department of Earth Sciences, College of Science, Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Oman )

Dr. Iftikhar Ahmed Abbasi

Dr. Ahmad Abbasi has completed his Post-Doc from Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, State University of New York and his PhD in Earth Sciences from University of Cambridge. His research interest is Geology (Sedimentology & Stratigraphy). He has published more than 60 research publications in international journals. Currently he is working as a professor in Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Oman.