Abstract

It is generally accepted that the 5–10-km-wide zone of wrench faulting preserved in the Arakapas valley and Limassol Forest areas of Cyprus, along the southern margin of the Troodos ophiolite, is part of a fossil oceanic transform fault system. However, despite detailed study of this, the “Southern Troodos transform fault zone,” and neighboring part of the main Troodos massif, no consensus has been reached as to its sense of motion. Some have postulated sinistral slip, some dextral, whereas others have suggested that it slipped both ways and reversed its sense of motion by ridge jumping. To resolve this issue and better determine the spreading history of the Troodos ophiolite we present new field observations from the transform tectonized area, and reexamine existing evidence for the sense of slip of the transform. Although we find evidence for both sinistral and dextral shear along the fault zone while in an oceanic environment, the overwhelming indications are for dextral slip. Genuine sinistral-slip indicators are restricted to a few mylonitic shear zones, of limited extent, which can be related to local geometrical complexities associated with intrusion of gabbroic plutons into the transform zone. There is no need to invoke wholesale reversals of slip along the transform fault, nor, therefore, the radical reorganizations of the Troodos spreading system that have previously been proposed.

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