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Evolution of deformation and fault-related fluid flow within an ancient methane seep system (Eocene, Varna, Bulgaria)
De Boever, E.; Muchez, P.; Swennen, R.; Dimitrov, L. (2011). Evolution of deformation and fault-related fluid flow within an ancient methane seep system (Eocene, Varna, Bulgaria). Geofluids 11(2): 166-183.
In: Geofluids. Blackwell: Oxford. ISSN 1468-8115; e-ISSN 1468-8123, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Bulgaria; carbonate; cold seep; fault zone; fluid flow; methane

Authors  Top 
  • De Boever, E., more
  • Muchez, P., more
  • Swennen, R., more
  • Dimitrov, L.

    Faults are often important in fuelling methane seep systems; however, little is known on how different components in fault zones control subsurface fluid circulation paths and how they evolve through time. This study provides insight into fault-related fluid flow systems that operated in the shallow subsurface of an ancient methane seep system. The Pobiti Kamani area (NE Bulgaria) encloses a well-exposed, fault-related seep system in unconsolidated Lower Eocene sandy deposits of the Dikilitash Formation. The Beloslav quarry and Beloslav N faults displace the Dikilitash Formation and are typified by broad, up to 80 m wide, preferentially lithified hanging wall damage zones, crosscut by deformation bands and deformation band zones, smaller slip planes and fault-related joints. The formation of a shallow plumbing system and chimney-like concretions in the Dikilitash Formation was followed by at least two phases of fault-related methane fluid migration. Widespread fluid circulation through the Dikilitash sands caused massive cementation of the entire damage zones in the fault hanging walls. During this phase, paths of ascending methane fluids were locally obstructed by decimetre-thick, continuous deformation band zones that developed in the partly lithified sands upon the onset of deformation. Once the entire damage zone was pervasively cemented, deformation proceeded through the formation of slip planes and joints. This created a new network of more localized conduits in close vicinity to the main fault plane and around through-going slip planes. 13C-depleted crustiform calcite cements in several joints record the last phase of focused methane fluid ascent. Their formation predated Neogene uplift and later meteoric water infiltration along the joint network. This illustrates how fault-related fluid pathways evolved, over time, from 'plumes' in unconsolidated sediments above damage zones, leading to chimney fields, over widespread fluid paths, deflected by early deformation structures, to localized paths along fracture networks near the main fault.

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