There has been longstanding academic interest in the Comoros region due to the interplay of volcanics with the complex tectonic history during the break up of Gondwanaland.
Investigations into the volcanism, composition of the lavas and evolution of the Comoros islands date back to the 1960s with the most notable publications being Flower and Strong (1969), Esson et al. (1970), Wright & McCurry (1970), Ludden (1977) and Montaggioni & Nougier (1981).
Significant academic seismic surveys acquired within the deep offshore Mozambique Channel include the Sea Gap survey (1976) and the Lamont–Doherty East African Margin Study (1988) but excited little interest from oil and gas explorationists. Nevertheless, the apparent bathymetry of the Ruvuma Delta and its intriguing Comoros extension led Bahari’s founders to enter into discussion with the Government in 2010 and to begin to work with them to promote the region’s prospectivity. The first ‘commercial’ offshore seismic data were acquired in 2011 by ION Geophysical GX Technology Corporation (IonGXT) as part of their EastAfricaSPAN basin program covering the east coast of Africa. This large scale regional program of high quality seismic data included some line excursions into the Comoros EEZ and showed clear extension of the Ruvuma’s stratigraphy into the country’s waters.
In 2014, in cooperation with Bahari and its partner Discover, IonGXT augmented their existing SPAN program with a new phase of acquisition devoted entirely to the Comoros region.
Academic research meanwhile continued with several missions in the region undertaken by a consortium of the Alfred Wegener Institute of Bremerhaven and BGR of Hannover. The most recent cruise occurred in 2014 in which small incursions into Comorian waters were made.
On Blocks 35, 36 and 37 Bahari and its partner Discover undertook detailed interpretation of the stratigraphy and basement architecture using both seismic and potential fields data. AVO/EEI processing of gather data supplemented the emerging picture of thickly layered sediments over attenuated continental crust. In late 2016, Bahari undertook several field trips on the island of Anjouan to investigate the presence of large xenoliths or rifts of clastic sediments within the volcanic complexes. Age dating and petrological analysis of these sediments were clearly indicative of continental underpinnings and are revising the long-standing picture of the Gondwanaland break-up and the Mozambique Channel.