Abstract

The Eastern Pontide Arc, a major fossil submarine arc of the world, was formed by northward subduction of the northern Neo-Tethys lithosphere under the Eurasian margin. The arc’s volcano-sedimentary sequence and its cover contain abundant fossils. Our new systematical paleontological and structural data suggest the Late Cretaceous arc volcanism was initiated at early-middle Turonian and continued uninterruptedly until the end of the early Maastrichtian, in the northern part of the Eastern Pontides. We measured ∼5500-m-thick arc deposits, suggesting a deposition rate of ∼220 m Ma–1 in ∼25 m.y. We have also defined four different chemical volcanic episodes: (1) an early-middle Turonian–Santonian mafic-intermediate episode, (2) a Santonian acidic episode; when the main volcanic centers were formed as huge acidic domes-calderas comprising the volcanogenic massive sulfide ores, (3) a late Santonian–late Campanian mafic-intermediate episode, and (4) a late Campanian–early Maastrichtian acidic episode. The volcaniclastic rocks were deposited in a deepwater extensional basin until the late Campanian. Between late Campanian and early Maastrichtian, intra-arc extension resulted in opening of back-arc in the north, while the southern part of the arc remained active and uplifted. The back-arc basin was most probably connected to the Eastern Black Sea Basin. In the back-arc basin, early Maastrichtian volcano-sedimentary arc sequence was transitionally overlain by pelagic sediments until late Danian suggesting continuous deep-marine conditions. However, the subsidence of the uplifted-arc-region did not occur until late Maastrichtian. We have documented a Selandian–early Thanetian (57–60 Ma) regional hiatus defining the closure age of the İzmir-Ankara-Erzincan Ocean along the Eastern Pontides. Between late Thanetian and late Lutetian synorogenic turbidites and postcollisional volcanics were deposited. The Eastern Pontide fold-and-thrust belt started to form at early Eocene (ca. 55 Ma) and thrusting continued in the post-Lutetian times.

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