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Abstract

Potassium-argon dating indicates two episodes of basaltic magmatism in south eastern Turkey at c. 19–15 and c. 2.3–0.6 Ma. Each produced olivine-titanaugite basalts, whose chemical compositions are difficult to classify using any conventional model in both the Anatolian continental fragment and the Arabian Platform. It is proposed here that both episodes of volcanism, and the associated crustal thickening and surface uplift, result from heating of the mantle lithosphere by crustal thickening caused by inflow of plastic lower crust from adjoining regions. Thus, although this study region has remained in a plate boundary zone for tens of millions of years, its volcanism has no direct relationship to local plate motions. It is suggested instead that both episodes of volcanism are the result of loading effects caused by glacial to interglacial sea-level variations, which will cause net flow of lower crust from beneath the offshore shelf to beneath the land: the moderate glaciations of Antarctica which began in the Early-Middle Miocene, and the more intense lowland glaciations of the northern hemisphere which began around c. 2.5 Ma.

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