Abstract

The Cyclades in the backarc region of the present Hellenic subduction zone are known for widespread Late Cretaceous to Eocene high-pressure metamorphism in the Cycladic blueschist unit. We report 40Ar/39Ar and Rb/Sr phengite ages of 24–21 Ma for high- pressure metamorphism (8–10 kbar, 350–400 °C) in the lowest tectonic unit in the Cyclades, the Basal unit, which structurally underlies the Cycladic blueschist unit. The Basal unit is correlated with the Tripolitza unit of the External Hellenides in the forearc region of the Hellenic subduction zone. The Tripolitza unit is unmetamorphosed on Crete, where it is separated from the underlying high-pressure (8–10 kbar, 300–400 °C) Plattenkalk and Phyllite-Quartzite units by the extensional Cretan detachment. The age for high- pressure metamorphism in the latter units is similar to our age for the Basal unit in the Cyclades. Because pressure-temperature conditions in the Plattenkalk and Phyllite- Quartzite units on Crete and the Basal unit in the Cyclades are also similar, they must have been in close proximity in the early Miocene Hellenic subduction zone. A palinspastic reconstruction suggests a subsequent displacement of >100 km on the Cretan detachment. This is one of the greatest displacement magnitudes ever reported from detachment faults. Because of this large offset, the Cretan detachment was an efficient agent for exhuming high-pressure rocks.

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