Abstract

The Almacık Mountains in northwestern Turkey expose an upper-amphibolite-facies complex consisting of alternating ultramafic (harzburgitic and websteritic) and mafic (metagabbroic) rock types. In the eastern part of this complex are island arc meta-tholeiites and transitional to calc-alkaline metabasites that are chemically quite similar to those of the Permo-Triassic Çele mafic complex north of Bolu, and this suggests an equivalence. However, much of the section exposes structurally deeper and chemically different mafic and ultramafic rocks, which have no equivalent in the Çele mafic complex, and isotopic dating has suggested that these rocks also formed during the Permian period and underwent Triassic and Jurassic metamorphism. Furthermore, sparse inherited ages, unlike those from İstanbul Zone granitoids, suggest a link with North African-derived Armorican-type basement (and hence the Sakarya Zone), rather than Amazonia-derived Avalonian basement. Alternating mafic and ultramafic rocks suggest structural repetition, supported by the exposure of discrete high-strain zones or poorly exposed shattered rock west of each outcrop of ultramafic rocks. The high grade of metamorphism, and the absence of either extrusive lavas or sheeted dyke rocks, suggests that the Almacık complex was not an ophiolite, but formed instead as subcontinental lower crust and subjacent mantle. Dominantly calc-alkaline geochemistry suggests that it formed the basement to an active continental margin bounding the north side of the Sakarya Continent, with S-dipping subduction of Palaeotethys. The Almacık complex was uplifted as a late result of compression against the southern margin of the İstanbul Zone in the Jurassic period. Lack of coeval high-grade metamorphism in the İstanbul Zone indicates that the latter was overthrust southwards over the Sakarya margin, and that there was therefore a change of subduction polarity in the Triassic period. The evidence further casts doubt on the existence of a Mesozoic Intra-Pontide Ocean in northwestern Turkey and suggests that the latest Permian magmatism, with subsequent Triassic and Jurassic metamorphism, was instead related to the closure of the Palaeotethyan Ocean.

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