Numerous active mud volcanoes have been recognized for the first time from seismic reflection and sidescan surveys carried out in 2002 over the Hyblean-Malta Plateau, 10 miles from the southern coast of Sicily (Southern Italy, Mediterranean Sea), along faults adjacent to the Scicli fracture zone. Our geophysical data show clearly the presence of several tens of mud volcanoes at water depths between 70 and 170 m. They have scales of order 10 m in diameter and several meters in height. Gas apparently vents from most of the mud volcanoes and is detected acoustically in the sediments around the cones to distances of about 50 m. This discovery represents a new important step in the study of mud volcanism distribution and highlights the potential of the Sicilian shelf as a hydrocarbon-prone area and a natural source of greenhouse gases.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geochemistry and Petrology