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The Miocene granitoid plutons exposed in the footwalls of major detachment faults in the Menderes core complex in western Anatolia represent syn-extensional intrusions, providing important geochronological and geochemical constraints on the nature of the late Cenozoic magmatism associated with crustal extension in the Aegean province. Ranging in composition from granite, granodiorite to monzonite, these plutons crosscut the extensional deformation fabrics in their metamorphic host rocks but are foliated, mylonitized and cataclastically deformed in shear zones along the detachment faults structurally upward near the surface. Crystallization and cooling ages of the granitoid rocks are nearly coeval with the documented ages of metamorphism and deformation dating back to the latest Oligocene–early Miocene that record tectonic extension and exhumation in the Menderes massif. The Menderes granitoids (MEG) are represented by mainly metaluminous-slightly peraluminous, high-K calc-alkaline and partly shoshonitic rocks with their silica contents ranging from 62.5 to 78.2 wt%. They display similar major and trace element characteristics and overlapping inter-element ratios (Zr/Nb, La/Nb, Rb/Nb, Ce/Y) suggesting common melt sources. Their enrichment in LILE, strong negative anomalies in Ba, Ta, Nb, Sr and Ti and high incompatible element abundances are consistent with derivation of their magmas from a subduction-metasomatized, heterogeneous sub-continental lithospheric mantle source. Fractional crystalization processes and lower to middle crustal contamination also affected the evolution of the MEG magmas. These geochemical characteristics of the MEG are similar to those of the granitoids in the Cyclades to the west and the Rhodope massif to the north. Partial melting of the subduction-metasomatized lithospheric mantle and the overlying lower-middle crust produced the MEG magmas starting in the late Oligocene–early Miocene. The heat and the basaltic material to induce this partial melting were provided by asthenospheric upwelling caused by lithospheric delamination. Rapid slab rollback of the post-Eocene Hellenic subduction zone may have peeled off the base of the subcontinental lithosphere, triggering the inferred lithospheric delamination. Both slab retreat-generated upper plate deformation and magmatically induced crustal weakening led to the onset of the Aegean extension, which has migrated southward through time.

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