Subduction, ophiolite genesis and collision history of Tethys adjacent to the Eurasian continental margin: new evidence from the Eastern Pontides, Turkey

Robertson A., PARLAK O., Ustaomer T., Tasli K., Inan N., Dumitrica P., ...More

GEODINAMICA ACTA, vol.26, pp.230-293, 2013 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 26
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/09853111.2013.877240
  • Journal Name: GEODINAMICA ACTA
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.230-293


This paper presents several types of new information including U-Pb radiometric dating of ophiolitic rocks and an intrusive granite, micropalaeontological dating of siliceous and calcareous sedimentary rocks, together with sedimentological, petrographic and structural data. The new information is synthesised with existing results from the study area and adjacent regions (Central Pontides and Lesser Caucasus) to produce a new tectonic model for the Mesozoic-Cenozoic tectonic development of this key Tethyan suture zone.The Tethyan suture zone in NE Turkey (Ankara-Erzincan-Kars suture zone) exemplifies stages in the subduction, suturing and post-collisional deformation of a Mesozoic ocean basin that existed between the Eurasian (Pontide) and Gondwanan (Tauride) continents. Ophiolitic rocks, both as intact and as dismembered sequences, together with an intrusive granite (tonalite), formed during the Early Jurassic in a supra-subduction zone (SSZ) setting within the zmir-Ankara-Erzincan ocean. Basalts also occur as blocks and dismembered thrust sheets within Cretaceous accretionary melange. During the Early Jurassic, these basalts erupted in both a SSZ-type setting and in an intra-plate (seamount-type) setting. The volcanic-sedimentary melange accreted in an open-ocean setting in response to Cretaceous northward subduction beneath a backstop made up of Early Jurassic forearc ophiolitic crust. The Early Jurassic SSZ basalts in the melange were later detached from the overriding Early Jurassic ophiolitic crust.Sedimentary melange (debris-flow deposits) locally includes ophiolitic extrusive rocks of boninitic composition that were metamorphosed under high-pressure low-temperature conditions. Slices of mainly Cretaceous clastic sedimentary rocks within the suture zone are interpreted as a deformed forearc basin that bordered the Eurasian active margin. The basin received a copious supply of sediments derived from Late Cretaceous arc volcanism together with input of ophiolitic detritus from accreted oceanic crust.Accretionary melange was emplaced southwards onto the leading edge of the Tauride continent (Munzur Massif) during latest Cretaceous time. Accretionary melange was also emplaced northwards over the collapsed southern edge of the Eurasian continental margin (continental backstop) during the latest Cretaceous. Sedimentation persisted into the Early Eocene in more northerly areas of the Eurasian margin.Collision of the Tauride and Eurasian continents took place progressively during latest Late Palaeocene-Early Eocene. The Jurassic SSZ ophiolites and the Cretaceous accretionary melange finally docked with the Eurasian margin. Coarse clastic sediments were shed from the uplifted Eurasian margin and infilled a narrow peripheral basin. Gravity flows accumulated in thrust-top piggyback basins above accretionary melange and dismembered ophiolites and also in a post-collisional peripheral basin above Eurasian crust. Thickening of the accretionary wedge triggered large-scale out-of-sequence thrusting and re-thrusting of continental margin and ophiolitic units. Collision culminated in detachment and northward thrusting on a regional scale.Collisional deformation of the suture zone ended prior to the Mid-Eocene (similar to 45Ma) when the Eurasian margin was transgressed by non-marine and/or shallow-marine sediments. The foreland became volcanically active and subsided strongly during Mid-Eocene, possibly related to post-collisional slab rollback and/or delamination.