Regional gravity analysis of the crustal structure of Tunisia


Gravity data were integrated with seismic refraction/reflection data, well data and geological investigations to determine a general crustal structure of Tunisia. The gravity data analysis included the construction of a complete Bouguer gravity anomaly map, residual gravity anomaly maps, horizontal gravity gradient maps and a 2.5-D gravity model. Residual gravity anomaly maps illustrate crustal anomalies associated with various structural domains within Tunisia including the Sahel Block, Saharian Flexure, Erg Oriental Basin, Algerian Anticlinorium, Gafsa Trough, Tunisian Trough, Kasserine Platform and the Tell Mountains. Gravity anomalies associated with these features are interpreted to be caused either by thickening or thinning of Palaeozoic and younger sediments or by crustal thinning. Analysis of the residual gravity anomaly and horizontal gravity gradient maps also determined a number of anomalies that may be associated with previously unknown structures. A north-south trending gravity model in general indicated similar subsurface bodies as a coincident seismic model. However, thinner Mesozoic sediments within the Tunisian Trough, thinner Palaeozoic sediments in the Gafsa Trough, and a greater offset on the Saharian Flexure were required by the gravity data. Additionally, basement uplifts under the Kasserine Platform and Gafsa Trough, not imaged by seismic data, were required by the gravity data. The gravity model revealed two previously unknown basins north and south of the Algerian Anticlinorium (5 km), while the Erg Oriental Basin is composed of at least two sub-basins, each with a depth of 5 km.

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Journal of African Earth Sciences