New paper on leaky salt in the Eastern Mediterranean

Thanks to a collaboration with colleagues at the Imperial college London, University of Napoli Federico II, University of Aberdeen, and Dalhousie University, we investigated the cross-evaporite fluid escape in the Eastern Mediterranean. You can read the paper here.

Despite salt being regarded as an extremely efficient, low-permeability hydraulic seal, an increasing number of cross-evaporite fluid escape features have been documented in salt-bearing sedimentary basins. Because of this, it is clear that our understanding of how thick salt deposits impact fluid flow in sedimentary basins is incomplete. We here examine the causes and evolution of cross-evaporite fluid escape in the northern Levant Basin, Eastern Mediterranean. High-quality 3D seismic data offshore Lebanon image hundreds of supra-salt fluid escape pipes distributed widely along the margin. The pipes consistently originate at the crest of prominent sub-salt anticlines, where overlying salt is relatively thin. The fact the pipes crosscut the salt suggests that hydrofracturing occurred, permitting focused fluid flow. Sequential pipes from unique emission points are organized along trails that are several kilometres long, and which are progressively deformed due to basinward gravity gliding of salt and its overburden. Correlation of pipes in 12 trails suggests margin-wide fluid escape started in the Late Pliocene/Early Pleistocene, coincident with a major phase of uplift of the Levant margin. We interpret that the consequent transfer of overpressure from the central basin area, in addition to gas exsolution from hydrocarbons already trapped in sub-salt anticlines, triggered seal failure and cross-evaporite fluid flow. We infer that other causes of fluid escape in the Eastern Mediterranean, such as subsurface pressure changes driven by sea-level variations and salt deposition associated with the Messinian Salinity Crisis, played only a minor role in triggering cross-evaporite fluid flow in the northern Levant Basin. Further phases of fluid escape are unique to each anticline and cannot be easily correlated across the margin. Therefore, despite a common initial cause, long-term fluid escape proceeded according to structure-specific characteristics, such as local dynamics of fluid migration and anticline geometry. Our work shows that the mechanisms triggering cross-evaporite fluid flow in salt basins vary in time and space.

New article showcased on EOS by AGU

Recently, Dr. Oppo et al. published a study on Scientific Reports where, by using methane-derived authigenic carbonates, they reconstruct the trends of methane emission from the global seafloor over the last 150 Ma (you can read it open access here). At the long geological time scale, the sea level change and the burial of organic matter have been identified as major controls on the methane release.
The article has been showcased on a science news piece on EOS, published by AGU.

Students doing well

With the start of the new Academic Year, we are continuing to showcase the SBRG work.

This time it was Cyle’s turn. He had a great time at the AAPG Student Expo in Houston, presenting some of his thesis research on the seismic interpretation of SW Gippsland Basin, Australia.


I am so glad to announce that the first graduate of my research group here at the School of Geosciences has been amazing at presenting her work on the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale at the AAPG ACE 2019! And now she’s heading out to a full time job at Shell in New Orleans! Great start for the Sedimentary Basins Research Group!

Great experience at GSA2018

I can certainly say that the GSA 2018 Annual Meeting in Indianapolis has been a success for the Sedimentary Basins Research Group!

Great work of all my attending students in presenting their research results to a varied and a numerous number of attendees.

Next step, AGU 2018 in Washington DC!

ULL master student Grace Stone with her Tuscaloosa Marine Shale geochemistry project

Ai Lena Tomioka and Melody Chan, together with Prof. Andrew Moore and myself, showing a study on depositional dynamics of a tidal delta in Tanzania


GSA 2018, Indianapolis

GSA 2018

It’s almost time to pack for the 2018 GSA Meeting in Indianapolis!

A new student poster has been added to the list:

  • Grace Stone*, Raphael Gottardi and Davide Oppo (2018) – A Geochemical Analysis of the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale (Upper Cretaceous) Core Recovered from Eads Poitevent et al. #1

Do not forget to have look also to the research conduct in Tanzania, Africa together with colleagues from Earlham College (IN), the University of Aberdeen (UK) and the University of Dar es Salaam:

  • Che M.*, Maselli V., Moore A., Mulaya E., Oppo D., Tomioka A.* (2018) – Stratigraphy of a tidal delta near Mbweni, Tanzania
  • Tomioka, A*, Che, M*, Maselli V., Moore A., Mulaya E., Oppo D. (2018) – SFM Sediment flux estimation on a tidal delta near Mbweni, Tanzania

Welcome to Zachary !

Let’s welcome Zachary Lukaszeski in our group!


Zachary got his BS in Geological Engineering from the University of Mississippi (2013) and soon after he started working for Halliburton as a logging geologist in the deep water Gulf of Mexico. Zachary is now pursuing a MS in Petroleum Geology at the School of Geosciences of UL Lafayette.
His thesis project will investigate the relationships between structural evolution and sediment dynamics in the offshore of Australia.

Ph.D. in Earth and Energy Sciences

Applications are now being accepted for the new PhD program in Earth and Energy Science at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette! This new program prepares students to embrace an inter- and multi-disciplinary understanding of issues central to meeting the energy and environmental challenges of today and the future. For more information, see here!

Download the Curriculum

Application Deadlines

  • Fall: February 1
  • Spring: October 1

Professor of the Month!

I’m very pleased to be named Professor of the Month by the students at Theta Xi. It is always rewarding to see that the constant efforts made to be a better teacher are working and are recognized by the students.

Thank you guys!


2018 Geological Society of America Meeting – Indianapolis, November 4-7

GSA 2018
Dr. Oppo will be attending the 2018 GSA meeting in Indianapolis.
Together with colleagues from Earlham College (IN) and the University of Aberdeen (UK), students Melody and Ai Lena will be presenting two posters on his recent research in Tanzania, Africa

  • Che M.*, Maselli V., Moore A., Mulaya E., Oppo D., Tomioka A.* (2018) – Stratigraphy of a tidal delta near Mbweni, Tanzania
  • Tomioka, A*, Che, M*, Maselli V., Moore A., Mulaya E., Oppo D. (2018) – SFM Sediment flux estimation on a tidal delta near Mbweni, Tanzania