Salt Tectonics of Basin and Range Systems in the Sub-Himalayas of Northern Pakistan Using InSAR and 2D Seismic Interpretation

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Ismail Ahmad Abir1, Shuhab Khan1, Abuduwasiti Wulamu2, Shahina Tariq3 and Mohammad Tahir Shah4, (1)University of Houston, Houston, TX, United States, (2)Saint Louis University Main Campus - SLU, Saint Louis, MO, United States, (3)COMSATS Institute of Information Techonolgy, Islamabad, Pakistan, (4)National Centre of Excellence in Geology, University of Peshawar, Pakistan, Peshawar, Pakistan
The western end of the Sub-Himalayas is located in northern Pakistan, where salt tectonics greatly affects its deformation style of geological structures, hydrocarbon exploration and seismology. Three foreland sub-basins are located adjacent to each other in this area: the Potwar Plateau-Salt Range, Kohat Plateau-Surghar Range and the Bannu Basin-Marwat-Khisor Ranges. It is strongly believed that the difference in deformation intensity between these sub-basins is attributed to the presence or absence of a Pre-Cambrian salt layer. This study is an attempt to investigate the extent and role of salt in the geological deformation of northern Pakistan using the Small Baseline Subset Interferograms (SBAS) technique and 2-D seismic interpretations. 10 PALSAR images and 5 seismic profiles from the Potwar Plateau-Salt Range region were used in this study. SBAS results, derived from PALSAR images spanning from 2007 to 2010, suggest that the Potwar Plateau-Salt Range may still be tectonically active with the western portion of the region experiencing an uplift at an average rate of 12 mm/year. Time-migrated seismic profiles were interpreted, showing basement ramps due to normal faults. These ramps are believed to act as transition zones between different roles of salt; the salt layer acts as a decollement in northern Potwar Plateau while salt flow-induced structures are prominent in southern Potwar Plateau. These normal fault ramps are located in the central Salt Range and may be affecting the flow of salt by impeding the flow, which results in the salt being pushed to either side of the ramp. The integration of SBAS and 2D seismic interpretation has led to the suggestion that both the presence of the salt layer and the geometry of the basement influence the deformation style in northern Pakistan.