The Eastern Anatolia Region exhibits one of the world's best exposed and most complete transects across a volcanic province related to a continental collision zone. Within this region, the Erzurum-Kars Plateau is of special importance since it contains the full record of collision-related volcanism from Middle Miocene to Pliocene. This paper presents a detailed study of the volcanic stratigraphy of the plateau, together with new K-Ar ages and several hundred new major- and trace-element analyses in order to evaluate the magmatic evolution of the plateau and its links to collision-related tectonic processes. The data show that the volcanic units of the Erzurum-Kars Plateau cover a broad compositional range from basalts to rhyolites. Correlations between six logged, volcano-stratigraphic sections suggest that the volcanic activity may be divided into three consecutive Stages, and that activity begins slightly earlier in the west of the plateau than in the east. The Early Stage (mostly from 11 to 6 Ma) is characterised by bimodal volcanism, made up of mafic-intermediate lavas and acid pyroclastic rocks. Their petrography and high-Y fractionation trend suggest that they result from crystallization of anhydrous assemblages at relatively shallow crustal levels. Their stratigraphy and geochemistry suggest that the basic rocks erupted from small transient chambers while the acid rocks erupted from large, zoned magma chambers. The Middle Stage (mostly from 6-5 Ma) is characterised by unimodal volcanism made up predominantly of andesitic-dacitic lavas. Their petrography and low-Y fractionation trend indicate that they resulted from crystallization of hydrous (amphibole-bearing) assemblages in deeper magma chambers. The Late Stage (mostly 5-2.7 Ma) is again characterised by bimodal volcanism, made up mainly of plateau basalts and basaltic andesite lavas and felsic domes. Their petrography and high-Y fractionation trend indicate that they resulted from crystallization of anhydrous assemblages at relatively shallow crustal levels. AFC modelling shows that crustal assimilation was most important in the deeper magma chambers of the Middle Stage. The geochemical data indicate that the parental magma changed little throughout the evolution of the plateau. This parental magma exhibits a distinctive subduction signature represented by selective enrichment in LILE and LREE thought to have been inherited from a lithosphere modified by pre-collision subduction events. The relationships between magmatism and tectonics support models in which delamination of thickened subcontinental lithosphere cause uplift accompanied by melting of this enriched lithosphere. Magma ascent, and possibly magma generation, is then strongly controlled by strike-slip faulting and associated pull-apart extensional tectonics. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.