The Alpine orogenic belt of the Hellenides has been strongly reworked by ductile and brittle extensional tectonics. Extensional structures have affected the central Aegean region and obliterated much of the original orogenic architecture since at least early Miocene times. In the area of Almyropotamos (on the island of Evia, flanking the western part of the Aegean) a unique remnant compressional nappe stack involving Tertiary metamorphic rocks has been preserved. This nappe sequence comprises a high-pressure rock unit on top of a lower grade unit. The upper unit (South Evia Blueschist Belt) is thought to be the westward continuation of the Cycladic blueschist belt metamorphosed at high-pressure conditions during Late Cretaceous–Eocene times. The underlying unit (the Almyropotamos Unit) is a continental margin sequence covered by a flysch and containing Lutetian nummulites, indicating that this unit accumulated sediments until at least late Eocene times.
In the present study we analyse the petrology of the Almyropotamos nappe stack and define the P–T conditions of each of the different rock units exposed there. The presence of glaucophane, lawsonite rimmed by epidote, and jadeite (70 mol. %) suggest that peak P–T conditions in the South Evia Blueschist Belt reached approximately 10–12 kbar and 350–450 °C. Unlike previous studies, which estimated that the underlying Almyropotamos Unit reached only greenschistfacies conditions, glaucophane relics and Si-rich phengites were found by us in this unit. These indicate that high-pressure metamorphism and crustal thickening in this part of the Aegean lasted until at least the late Eocene or early Oligocene. We note that in this respect the architecture of southern Evia resembles that of northern Greece (Olympos, Ossa). Our structural data indicate that rock units in the Almyropotamos area record different folding phases, with the South Evia Blueschist Belt having a more complex fold history than the underlying Almyropotamos Unit. The entire nappe stack shares large-scale folds which are E–W trending, and locally overturned-to-the-south, and which may represent (at present coordinates) N–S contraction and nappe transport.