The Thrace Basin: stratigraphic and tectonic-palaeogeographic evolution of the Palaeogene formations of northwest Turkey

Elmas A.

INTERNATIONAL GEOLOGY REVIEW, vol.54, no.12, pp.1419-1442, 2012 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 54 Issue: 12
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/00206814.2011.644732
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.1419-1442


The Palaeogene deposits of the Thrace Basin have evolved over a basement composed of the Rhodope and Sakarya continents, juxtaposed in northwest Turkey. Continental and marine sedimentation began in the early Eocene in the southwest part, in the early-middle Eocene in the central part, and in the late Lutetian in the north-northeast part of the basin. Early Eocene deposition in the southern half of the present Thrace Basin began unconformably over a relict basin consisting of uppermost Cretaceous-Palaeocene pelagic sediments. The initial early-middle Eocene deposition began during the last stage of early Palaeogene transtension and was controlled by the eastern extension (the Central Thrace Strike-Slip Fault Zone) of the Balkan-Thrace dextral fault to the north. Following the northward migration of this faulting, the Thrace Palaeogene Basin evolved towards the north during the late Lutetian. From the late Lutetian to the early Oligocene, transpression caused the formation of finger-shaped, eastward-connected highs and sub-basins. The NW-SE-trending right-lateral strike-slip Strandja Fault Zone began to develop and the Strandja Highland formed as a positive flower structure that controlled the deposition of the middle-upper Eocene alluvial fans in the northern parts of the Thrace Palaeogene Basin. Also, in the southern half of the basin, the upper Eocene-lower Oligocene turbiditic series with debris flows and olistostrome horizons were deposited in sub-basins adjacent to the highs, while shelf deposits were deposited in the northern half and southeast margin of the basin. At least since the early Eocene, a NE-trending magmatic belt formed a barrier along the southeast margin of the basin. From the late Oligocene onwards, the Thrace Palaeogene Basin evolved as an intermontane basin in a compressional tectonic setting.