The geodynamic evolution of the Alpine orogen in the Cyclades (Aegean Sea, Greece): Insights from diverse origins and modes of emplacement of ultramafic rocks
Y. Katzir, Z. Garfunkel, D. Avigad, A. Matthews, 2007. "The geodynamic evolution of the Alpine orogen in the Cyclades (Aegean Sea, Greece): Insights from diverse origins and modes of emplacement of ultramafic rocks", The Geodynamics of the Aegean and Anatolia, T. Taymaz, Y. Yilmaz, Y. Dilek
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The Alpine orogen in the Cyclades, wherein both high-pressure metamorphic rocks and ultramafic rocks co-occur, is a key area in studying the emplacement of mantle rocks into the crust. Within the Cyclades three distinct ultramafic associations occur: (1) HP–LT ophiolitic mélanges of the Cycladic Blueschist Unit (CBU) on Evia and Syros; (2) meta-peridotites associated with migmatized leucogneisses on Naxos, which represent the deepest exposed levels of the CBU; (3) a greenschist-facies metamorphosed dismembered ophiolite juxtaposed on top of the CBU by an extensional detachment on Tinos. Most of the Cycladic ultramafic rocks were serpentinized prior to Alpine metamorphism, suggesting denudation prior to reburial. The Naxos meta-peridotites preserve, however, relict mantle assemblage and mantle-like oxygen isotope ratios, and thus indicate direct emplacement from the mantle into an underthrust continent during collision and HP metamorphism (M1). Thus conditions for M1 in the Naxos leucogneiss core are constrained by ultramafic assemblages to 550–650 °C and ≥14 kbar. Mafic blocks of the ophiolitic mélanges in the NW Cyclades span a wide range of chemical compositions indicating derivation from variable oceanic settings and sequential events of alteration and metasomatism. Given the comparable geochemical heterogeneity in the Syros and Evian mélange intervals, the garnet-bearing meta-basites of the Syros mélange record higher M1 temperatures (450–500 °C) than the garnet-free epidote blueschists of the Evian mélanges (400–430 °C). It follows that going southeastwards from Evia progressively deeper (i.e. hotter) levels of the subducted plate are exposed. Correspondingly, temperatures of the M2 overprint also increase from pumpellyite-bearing assemblages on southern Evia, through greenschists on Syros to upper-amphibolite, sillimanite-bearing gneisses on Naxos. The diverse P–T paths of the CBU form an array wherein the deeper a rock sequence is buried, the ‘hotter’ is its exhumation path. Such a pattern is predicted by thermal modelling of tectonically thickened crust unroofed by either erosion or uniform extension.
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The complexity of plate interactions and associated crustal deformation in the Eastern Mediterranean region is reflected by the numerous destructive earthquakes that have occurred throughout its history. Many of these have been well documented and studied. In addition, the Aegean region provides examples of core-complex formation, synchronous basin evolution and subsequent graben formation and continental extensional deformation following orogenic contraction. It is therefore considered to be a perfect natural laboratory for the study of these mechanisms. The region has been the subject of intensive research for several decades. This book contains current results and ideas regarding the geodynamics of the Aegean and Anatolia. It will be essential reading for all geoscientists with an interest in the structural evolution of the Eastern Mediterranean.