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Abstract

A belt of Late Triassic deformation and metamorphism (Cimmeride Orogeny) extends east-west for 1100 km in northern Turkey. It is proposed that this was caused by the collision and partial accretion of an Early-Middle Triassic oceanic plateau with the southern continental margin of Laurasia. The upper part of this oceanic plateau is recognized as a thick Lower-Middle Triassic metabasite-marble-phyllite complex, named the Nilüfer Unit, which covers an area of 120 000 km2 with an estimated volume of mafic rocks of 2 × 105 km3. The mafic sequence, which has thin stratigraphic intercalations of hemipelagic limestone and shale, shows consistent within-plate geochemical signatures. The Nilüfer Unit has undergone a high-pressure greenschist facies metamorphism, but also includes tectonic slices of eclogite and blueschist with latest Triassic isotopic ages, produced during the attempted subduction of the plateau. The short period for the orogeny (< 15 Ma; Norian-Hettangian) is further evidence for the oceanic plateau origin of the Cimmeride Orogeny. The accretion of the Nilüfer Plateau produced strong uplift and compressional deformation in the hanging wall. A large and thick clastic wedge, fed from the granitic basement of the Laurasia, represented by a thick Upper Triassic arkosic sandstone sequence in northwest Turkey, engulfed the subduction zone and the Nilüfer Plateau.

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