The modern physiography of central Turkey is dominated by the 1-km-high Central Anatolian Plateau and the Central Tauride mountains that form the southern plateau margin. These correspond to a Cretaceous–Eocene backarc extensional province and forearc fold-thrust belt, respectively. The extent to which the morphology of the Miocene plateau was inherited from the physiography of the Cretaceous–Eocene subduction zone that assembled the Anatolian crust has not been tested but is important if we are to isolate the signal of Miocene and younger subduction dynamics in the formation of the modern plateau margin. There is no known stratigraphic record of the post-Eocene pre-Miocene evolution of the Taurides. We therefore collected rock samples across the Taurides and used zircon (U-Th)/He (ZHe), apatite (U-Th)/He (AHe), and apatite fission-track (AFT) low-temperature thermochronometers to constrain cooling; we interpret these thermochronometers to signal erosional exhumation. We use inverse thermal modeling to aid interpretation of our results and find that: (1) thermochronometers across the Taurides were reset as a result of heating by the emplacement of the Antalya and Bozkır nappes; (2) AFT and ZHe Eocene cooling ages are related to structurally driven uplift and erosional exhumation on major thrust culminations; (3) dispersed AHe ages record low rates of Oligocene–early Miocene cooling and hence low rates of erosional exhumation; and (4) fast rates of cooling were determined for samples along the margin of the Köprüçay Basin. We interpret that early Miocene cooling is a signal of active erosion of the western Central Taurides at a time of marine sedimentation in the Mut Basin on the southern Central Taurides, and these differing histories may reflect evolution above the Antalya and Cyprus slabs. Our thermochronological data, the enigmatic development of the Antalya Basin, and thrusting within the basin may be explained as the surface expression of stepwise delamination of the Antalya slab from the Tauride hinterland to its current position below the Gulf of Antalya since early Miocene time over a distance of ~150 km.

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