Abstract

We document the establishment of the Aegea–Anatolia/Eurasia plate boundary in Pliocene–Pleistocene time. Before 2 Ma, no localized plate boundary existed north of the Aegean portion of the Anatolia plate and the shear produced by the motion of Anatolia–Aegea with respect to Eurasia was distributed over the whole width of the Aegean – West Anatolian western portion. In 4.5 Ma, a shear zone comparable to the Gulf of Corinth was formed in the present Sea of Marmara. The initial extensional basins were cut by the strike-slip Main Marmara Fault system after 2.5 Ma. Shortly after, the plate boundary migrated west of the Sea of Marmara along the northern border of Aegea from the North Aegean Trough, to the Gulf of Corinth area and to the Kefalonia Fault. There, it finally linked with the northern tip of the Aegean subduction zone, completing the system of plate boundaries delimiting the Anatolia–Aegea plate. We have related the change in the distribution of shear from Miocene to Pliocene to the formation of a relatively undeforming Aegea block in Pliocene that forced the shear to be distributed over a narrow plate boundary to the north of it. We attribute the formation of this block to the northeastward progression of the oceanic Ionian slab. We propose that the slab cuts the overlying lithosphere from asthenospheric sources and induces a shortening environment over it.

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