Linking slab break-off, Hellenic trench retreat, and uplift of the Central and Eastern Anatolian plateaus

Schildgen T. F., Yıldırım C., COSENTINO D., STRECKER M. R.

EARTH-SCIENCE REVIEWS, vol.128, pp.147-168, 2014 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 128
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.earscirev.2013.11.006
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.147-168
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


The Central and Eastern Anatolian plateaus are integral parts of the world's third largest orogenic plateau. In the past decade, geophysical surveys have provided insights into the crust, lithosphere, and mantle beneath Eastern Anatolia. These observations are now accompanied by recent surveys in Central Anatolia and new data constraining the timing and magnitude of uplift along its northern and southern margins. Together with predictions from geodynamic models on the effects of various processes on surface deformation and uplift, the observations can be integrated to identify probable mechanisms of Anatolian Plateau growth. A changeover from shortening to extension along the southern margin of Central Anatolia that is coeval with the start of uplift can be most easily associated with oceanic slab break-off and tearing. This interpretation is supported by tomography, deep seismicity (or lack thereof), and gravity data. Based on the timing of uplift, geophysical and geochemical observations, and model predictions, slab break-off likely occurred first beneath Eastern Anatolia in middle to late Miocene time, and propagated westward toward Cyprus by the latest Miocene. Alternatively, the break-off near Cyprus could have occurred in late Pliocene to early Pleistocene time, in association with collision of the Eratosthenes Seamount (continental fragment) with the subduction zone. Uplift at the northern margin of Central Anatolia appears to result from crustal shortening starting in the late Miocene or early Pliocene, which has been linked to the broad restraining bend of the North Anatolian Fault. The uplift history of the interior of Central Anatolia since the late Miocene is unclear, although shortening there appears to have ended by the late Miocene, followed by NE SW extension. This change in the deformation style broadly coincides with faster retreat of the Hellenic trench as well as uplift of the northern and southern margins of Central Anatolia. These different events throughout the plateau may be linked, as faster retreat of the Hellenic trench has been predicted to occur after slab break-off, which could have induced extension of Central Anatolia and helped to form the North Anatolian Fault through accelerated westward movement of Anatolia relative to Eurasia. Correlative geochronologic evidence that we summarize here supports the hypothesis that the geodynamic activity throughout the Aegean Anatolian domain starting in latest Miocene to early Pliocene time defines a series of events that may all be linked to slab break-off. 0 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.