Structural and geochronological relationships of metamorphic soles of eastern Mediterrranean ophiolites to surrounding units: indicators of intra-oceanic subduction and emplacement

Cakir U.

INTERNATIONAL GEOLOGY REVIEW, vol.51, no.3, pp.189-215, 2009 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 51 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/00206810802605554
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.189-215
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: No


This paper is a synthesis of structural and geochronological data from eastern Mediterranean ophiolitic metamorphic rocks and surrounding units to interpret the intra-oceanic subduction and ophiolite emplacement mechanism. Metamorphic rocks occur as discontinuous tectonic slices at the base of the ophiolites, generally between the peridotite tectonites and volcanic-sedimentary units, and locally in fault zones in the overlying peridotites. They consist essentially of amphibolite, and in lesser quantities, micaschist, quartzite, epidotite and marble. Geological and geochronological data indicate that recrystallization of the metamorphic rocks occurred in the oceanic environment. The contact between the metamorphic rocks and the hanging-wall is parallel to the foliation of the metamorphic rocks, and is interpreted as the fossil plane of intra-oceanic subduction. Structural relationships suggest that intra-oceanic subduction was situated between two lithospheric blocks separated by an oceanic fracture zone. Therefore the Neotethyan ophiolites with metamorphic soles represent the remnants of the overriding oceanic lithosphere's training slices of the metamorphic rocks at the base. In the Anatolian region, radiometric dating of metamorphic rocks from the Taurus and Izmir-Ankara-Erzincan zone ophiolites yield nearly identical ages. Besides, palaeontological and structural data indicate coeval opening and similar oceanic ridge orientation. Consequently it is highly probable that Taurus and Izmir-Ankara-Erzincan zone ophiolites represent fragments of the same oceanic lithosphere derived from a single spreading zone. Palaeontological data from underlying volcanic and sedimentary units point out that the opening of the Neotethyan ocean occurred during Late Permian-Middle Triassic time in the Iranian-Oman region, during Middle Triassic in Dinaro-Hellenic area, and finally during Late Triassic in the Anatolian region. Radiometric dating of the metamorphic rocks exhibit that the intra-oceanic thrusting occurred during late Lower-early Late Jurassic for Dinaro-Hellenic ophiolites, late Lower-early Late Cretaceous for Anatolian, Iranian and Oman ophiolites well before their obduction on the Gondwanian continent. Neotethyan ophiolites were obducted onto various sections of the Gondwanian continent from late Upper Jurassic to Palaeocene time, Dinaro-Hellenic ophiolites during late Upper Jurassic-early Lower Cretaceous onto the Adriatic promontory, Anatolian, Iranian and Oman ophiolites from late Lower Cretaceous to Palaeocene onto the Aegean, Anatolian and Arabic promontories.