Linking the NE Anatolian and Lesser Caucasus ophiolites: evidence for large-scale obduction of oceanic crust and implications for the formation of the Lesser Caucasus-Pontides Arc

Haessig M., ROLLAND Y., SOSSON M., GALOYAN G., SAHAKYAN L., Topuz G. , ...More

GEODINAMICA ACTA, vol.26, pp.311-330, 2013 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 26
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/09853111.2013.877236
  • Title of Journal : GEODINAMICA ACTA
  • Page Numbers: pp.311-330


In the Lesser Caucasus and NE Anatolia, three domains are distinguished from south to north: (1) Gondwanian-derived continental terranes represented by the South Armenian Block (SAB) and the Tauride-Anatolide Platform (TAP), (2) scattered outcrops of Mesozoic ophiolites, obducted during the Upper Cretaceous times, marking the northern Neotethys suture, and (3) the Eurasian plate, represented by the Eastern Pontides and the Somkheto-Karabagh Arc. At several locations along the northern Neotethyan suture, slivers of preserved unmetamorphozed relics of now-disappeared Northern Neotethys oceanic domain (ophiolite bodies) are obducted over the northern edge of the passive SAB and TAP margins to the south. There is evidence for thrusting of the suture zone ophiolites towards the north; however, we ascribe this to retro-thrusting and accretion onto the active Eurasian margin during the latter stages of obduction. Geodynamic reconstructions of the Lesser Caucasus feature two north dipping subduction zones: (1) one under the Eurasian margin and (2) farther south, an intra-oceanic subduction leading to ophiolite emplacement above the northern margin of SAB. We extend our model for the Lesser Caucasus to NE Anatolia by proposing that the ophiolites of these zones originate from the same oceanic domain, emplaced during a common obduction event. This would correspond to the obduction of non-metamorphic oceanic domain along a lateral distance of more than 500km and overthrust up to 80km of passive continental margin. We infer that the missing volcanic arc, formed above the intra-oceanic subduction, was dragged under the obducting ophiolite through scaling by faulting and tectonic erosion. In this scenario part of the blueschists of Stepanavan, the garnet amphibolites of Amasia and the metamorphic arc complex of Erzincan correspond to this missing volcanic arc. Distal outcrops of this exceptional object were preserved from latter collision, concentrated along the suture zones.