Abstract

Abstract: Flat-lying extensional detachment faults have been imaged in the inside corner regions of ridge–transform intersections on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Exposed detachment surfaces are 10 km or more across, and are corrugated in the direction of spreading, as are continental detachments. Beneath the detachments lie core complexes of peridotite and gabbro; these are overlain by blocks of crustal material. We argue here that similar detachments are an essential component of the Limassol Forest area of the Troodos ophiolite in Cyprus, which lies south of the Arakapas Fault zone, previously recognized as a palaeo-transform fault, and here interpreted as a transform fault that evolved into a fracture zone. In the Limassol Forest, core complexes of mantle peridotite can be shown to have been exposed at the sea floor, or to have been covered by overlapping crustal blocks, separated from the peridotite core and from each other by low-angle extensional faults. The extension can be shown to have occurred shortly after crustal construction, and the already extended terrain was then intruded by swarms of dykes and plutons. We interpret these relations as arising when crust is constructed in an inside corner area, extended by detachment faulting, deformed further during slip along the transform, and then intruded by new magma as it passes the second spreading centre. The structurally deeper parts of the crustal blocks that overlie the detachment lie broadly towards the west, indicating that the spreading axis lay in that direction. The ophiolite north of the transform is much less extended, and we interpret this as a section of outside corner crust. In this interpretation, the Troodos ophiolite formed to the east (in its current orientation) of a ridge–transform–ridge intersection, in which the transform had a dextral offset and sinistral slip. The part of the ophiolite that forms the Limassol Forest was produced at the western inside corner, and spread eastwards until it passed the second spreading axis, at which point the ophiolite north of the Arakapas Fault was created and welded to the Limassol Forest when the transform became a fracture zone.

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