Palaeogeographic and palaeotectonic evolution of the Eastern Mediterranean Neotethys

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Integrated basin-scale field and laboratory studies form the basis of detailed discussions of three important areas of the Eastern Mediterranean Neotethys, here termed the Pindos ocean (Greece), the Antalya ocean (SW Turkey) and the Cyprus ocean. These three areas preserve remnants of interconnected Mesozoic small ocean basins, sited along the north margin of Gondwanaland. The most powerful tools available for basin analysis are biostratigraphy, facies trends, tectonic discrimination of basalts and structural evidence of emplacement directions. It is shown that, despite some important differences in the timing of events, individual oceanic basins went through essentially predictable stages, including rifting, spreading, subduction/accretion, displacement/emplacement and collision. An idealised model of small ocean basin evolution can, thus be envisaged. However, in detail, individual areas show considerable palaeogeographic variety, particularly in the size, distribution and shape of carbonate platforms, margins and seamounts and no one area exemplifies Neoethyan evolution as a whole. Rifting in each of the three areas took place in Late Permian? to Mid Triassic time, followed by continental break-up in the Late Triassic. The Pindos ocean developed into a significantly wide small ocean basin (ca. 1000 km) by the Early Jurassic, while the Antalya ocean remained narrower (less than 500 km). The rifted continental fragments subsided and were capped by carbonate platforms that were fringed by slope and deep-water basinal sediments. Intra-oceanic carbonate platforms were present in both the Pindos and Antalya oceans. Ophiolites formed above an inferred west-dipping subduction zone in Greece in the Mid Jurassic, followed by displacement and metamorphic sole formation, then regional emplacement onto a microcontinent, the Pelagonian Zone, in the Late Jurassic. Above-subduction zone spreading took place in the Late Cretaceous in the Cyprus ocean and, probably also in the Antalya ocean basin. Diachronous collisions closed both the Pindos and Antalya oceans by the Early Tertiary, while the Cyprus ocean basin survived as an oceanic remnant until Quaternary-Recent time. Finally, an attempt is made to position the Pindos, Antalya and Cyprus oceanic units in the context of our understanding of the Eastern Mediterranean Neotethys. © 1991.

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Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology

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