Late Cretaceous-Early Eocene tectonic development of the Tethyan suture zone in the Erzincan area, Eastern Pontides, Turkey

Rice S. P. , Robertson A. H. F. , Ustaomer T. , Inan N., Tasli K.

GEOLOGICAL MAGAZINE, vol.146, no.4, pp.567-590, 2009 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 146 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Doi Number: 10.1017/s0016756809006360
  • Title of Journal : GEOLOGICAL MAGAZINE
  • Page Numbers: pp.567-590


Six individual tectonostratigraphic units are identified within the Izmir-Ankara-Erzincan Suture Zone in the critical Erzincan area of the Eastern Pontides. The Ayikayasi Formation of Campanian-Maastrichtian age is composed of bedded pelagic limestones intercalated with polymict, massive conglomerates. The Ayikayasi Formation conformably overlies the Tauride passive margin sequence in the Munzur Mountains to the south and is interpreted as an underfilled foredeep basin. The Refahiye Complex, of possible Late Cretaceous age, is a partial ophiolite composed of similar to 75 % (by volume) serpentinized peridotite (mainly harzburgite), similar to 20 % diabase and minor amounts of gabbro and plagiogranite. The complex is interpreted as oceanic lithosphere that formed by spreading above a subduction zone. Unusual screens of metamorphic rocks (e.g. marble and schist) locally Occur between sheeted diabase dykes. The Upper Cretaceous Karayaprak Melange exhibits two lithological associations: (1) the basalt + radiolarite + serpentinite association, including depleted arc-type basalts; (2) the massive neritic limestone + lava + volcaniclastic association that includes fractionated, intermediate-composition lavas, and is interpreted as accreted Neotethyan seamount(s). The several-kilometre-thick Karadag Formation, of Campanian-Maastrichtian age, is composed of greenschist-facies volcanogenic rocks of mainly basaltic to andesitic composition, and is interpreted as an emplaced Upper Cretaceous volcanic arc. The Campanian-Early Eocene Sutpinar Formation (similar to 1500 m thick) is a coarsening-Upward succession of turbiditic calcarenite, sandstone, laminated mudrock, volcaniclastic sedimentary rocks that includes rare andesitic lava, and is interpreted as a regressive forearc basin. The Late Paleocene-Eocene Sipikor Formation is a laterally varied succession of shallow-marine carbonate and siliciclastic lithofacies that overlies deformed Upper Cretaceous units with an angular unconformity. Structural study indicates that the assembled accretionary prism, supra-subduction zone-type oceanic lithosphere and volcanic are units were emplaced northwards onto the Eurasian margin and also southwards onto the Tauride (Gondwana-related) margin during Campanian-Maastrichtian time. Further, mainly southward thrusting took place during the Eocene in this area, related to final closure of Tethys. Our preferred tectonic model involves northward subduction, supra-subduction zone ophiolite genesis and arc magmatism near the northerly, Eurasian margin of the Mesozoic Tethys.