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Abstract

The geological understanding of the opening of the Western Black Sea Basin appears to be quite far from being reasonably resolved. The main faults used in the existing map-view reconstruction schemes are either very poorly defined (West Black Sea fault) or simply nonexistent as interpreted earlier (West Crimean fault) and therefore they need be redefined or replaced by other structural elements.

Various kinematic elements and facies boundaries on the conjugate margins of the Western Black Sea (i.e., the Bulgarian, Romanian and Ukrainian margin in the northwest versus the Turkish margin in the southeast) appear to be a key in constraining the opening geometry of the basin. The along-strike changes in the synrift structural pattern of the Bulgarian-Romanian margin, reflecting contrasting crustal rheologies inherited from prerift deformational phases, do appear to have their counterparts in the offshore part of the conjugate Turkish margin including the Pontides. A correlation of regional 2D reflection seismic and well data, and the critical review of the relevant onshore geology did provide some preliminary corresponding tie-points to constrain the kinematics of the basin opening.

If the European margin is fixed in a kinematic reconstruction, the clockwise opening of the rift basin occurred along northwest–southeast trending transform faults around an Euler rotation pole positioned to the southwest of the present Black Sea. The rotational element in the opening of the Western Black Sea Basin, as opposed to the dominantly translational kinematics used in some of the existing kinematic models, is also supported by the broadly triangular shape of oceanic crust imaged in the basin center.

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