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The Vourinos Complex, an allochthonous alpine ophiolite, overlies a melange and a sequence of deformed, recrystallized Triassic-Jurassic neritic to intertidal carbonate rocks along a tectonic contact. Rocks subjacent to the complex, including Paleozoic metasedimentary and metaigneous rocks which underlie the Mesozoic sequence along a bedding-parallel fault, have been subjected to regional greenschist-grade metamorphism.

The Zygosti Ultramafic-Mafic Belt, separated from the Vourinos massif by Triassic-Jurassic marble, is probably equivalent to the upper portion of the Vourinos Ultramafic Zone.

The Vourinos Complex is lithologically similar to current models of oceanic crust and upper mantle. The four-stage mechanism proposed by Temple and Zimmerman (1969), in which the edge of a continental sialic plate is partially subduced beneath simatic oceanic crust, is used to explain emplacement of the Vourinos Complex. Fragments or thrust sheets of oceanic material are emplaced upon shelf sediments and the crystalline basement of the continental margin during subduction. Lower density of the sialic plate will inhibit and eventually halt its downward movement, and it will be raised by subsequent isostatic readjustment. Because continued subduction of the continental plate is no longer possible, the orientation of the subduction zone will flip to the opposite sense, or the zone will shift to a new location. During the subduction phase, pelagic sedimentation may supplant shallow shelf conditions along the continental margin, and the sediment and underlying sialic basement may be subjected to low-grade regional metamorphism.

Stratigraphic evidence, the orientation of fabric elements and large-scale structures in units directly beneath the complex, the direction of dominant regional thrusting, and the present distribution of ultramafic rocks in Greece suggest that the Vourinos Complex was thrust southwestward from the Vardar Zone during a period of subduction and related orogeny in latest Jurassic or Early Cretaceous time. Additional transport to the southwest, probably involving portions of the Pelagonian Zone and overlying rocks including the Vourinos Complex and its associated units, occurred during an Alpine orogenic phase.

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