Evidence of active fluid seepage (AFS) in the southern region of the central Mediterranean Sea

Attilio Sulli, Luca Basilone, Daniele Spatola, Daniele Spatola, Gualtiero Basilone, Aaron Micallef, Gualtiero Basilone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Active fluid seepage (AFS) at the seafloor is a global phenomenon associated with seafloor morphologies in different geodynamic contexts. Advanced geophysical techniques have allowed geoscientists to characterise pockmarks, mounds and flares associated with AFS. We present a range of new marine geological data acquired in the southern region of the central Mediterranean Sea (northern Sicily continental margin, northwestern Sicily Channel and offshore of the Maltese Islands), which allow us to identify AFSs. AFSs are spatially distributed as clusters, aligned or isolated at different depths, ranging from few decametres offshore of the Maltese Islands; up to 400 m offshore of northern Sicily and in the northwestern Sicily Channel. Mounds have heights ranging from 2 to 15 m and form hummocky surfaces. Seafloor samples were collected at the top of the mounds and were analysed using a SEM with an EDX. Geochemical features reveal that seafloor samples are slightly enriched in O, S and Ba and seem to indicate the existence of an external source of fluids and the occurrence of sediment-fluids interaction processes. Pockmarks with sub-circular planform shapes and U/V-shaped cross-sections are found in sizes ranging from 5 to 530 m. Gas flares occur on both the continental shelf as well as the upper slope.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-253
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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