The detailed uplift history of a portion of Late Cretaceous Tethyan oceanic lithosphere is documented by in situ sedimentary sequences around the Troodos massif of Cyprus. The pre-uplift tectonic setting first involved genesis of the Troodos massif at a spreading ocean ridge of Late Cretaceous age, followed by deformation in Maastrichtian time. Then, after a brief period of latest Cretaceous deep-water pelagic sedimentation, much of the area was blanketed in early Tertiary time by a wedge of pelagic carbonates derived from the northeast. Gradual uplift to the middle Miocene is documented by shallowing-upward carbonate sequences culminating in lagoons and localized reefs that were adjacent to emergent areas of vegetated and deeply weathered Troodos rocks.
A pulse of vastly accelerated middle Miocene uplift is recorded by slumping, widespread erosion, and folding of the south Troodos sedimentary sequences. This uplift was associated with rapid deposition of both clastic and carbonate sediments in subsiding basins to the south. The Miocene uplift culminated in localized reef development and gypsum deposition, then pervasive peneplanation of the Troodos massif. In contrast, much of the Troodos massif remained low-lying and tectonically stable during Pliocene time, whereas to the north, sedimentary basins developed along high-angle faults initiated during the late Miocene emplacement of the adjacent Kyrenia Range. Major uplifts during the Pleistocene epoch were renewed, as shown by thick deposits of marine and continental fanglomerates.
The uplift of Troodos oceanic crust is attributed to the progressive serpentinization of ultramafic rocks of the oceanic layer 4. These rocks, which were first deformed and partly serpentinized in Late Cretaceous time, were subsequently remobilized during periods of regional tectonic instability, especially during the middle Miocene and Pleistocene. The dominant driving force may have involved the liberation of water from a subduction zone dipping northward beneath Cyprus.