Bathymetry and Continuous Seismic Profiles of the Hot Brine Region of the Red Sea
A detailed bathymetric and geophysical study has been made of the three known deeps in the hot brine region of the central rift valley of the Red Sea. The largest, the Atlantis II Deep, is an elongate basin with an irregular and sometimes tilted bottom. The Discovery Deep is circular and flat-floored, and the Chain Deep is relatively narrow and V-shaped.
Continuous seismic profiling produced a distinct reflection from the hot brine-normal sea water contact in the Atlantis II and Discovery Deeps. In contrast, reflections from the sediment-brine interface are commonly indistinct.
Continuous seismic profiling, acoustic returns from the lowering of a pinger to the sea bottom, and coring indicate that the deeps are covered with a thin veneer of heavy-metal rich sediments. Evidence from the pinger lowerings suggests that a major portion of the Atlantis II Deep contains more than 20m of heavy metal deposits. The sediment distribution in the brine area is compatible with a brine source in the Atlantis II Deep and periodic overflows into Chain and Discovery Deeps at some time in the past.
A subsurface seismic reflector postulated to be an unconformity of late Miocene or early Pliocene age is common to records from the flanks of the deeps. If the age of this unconformity is correct, it suggests that the central rift valley of the Red Sea, in the studied area, has formed prior to this time.
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