Tethyan ophiolite emplacement, Africa to Europe motions, and Atlantic spreading

Author(s): Smith, A. G.
Author Affiliation(s): Primary:
Sedgwick Museum, Department of Earth Sciences, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Aristotle University, Greece
Volume Title: Tectonic development of the eastern Mediterranean region
Volume Author(s): Robertson, Alastair H. F., editor; Mountrakis, D.
Source: Tectonic development of the eastern Mediterranean region, edited by Alastair H. F. Robertson and D. Mountrakis. Geological Society Special Publications, Vol.260, p.11-34. Publisher: Geological Society of London, London, United Kingdom. ISSN: 0305-8719 CODEN: GSLSBW
Note: In English. 96 refs.; illus., incl. 3 tables, sketch maps
Summary: Final emplacement of the mid-Jurassic and mid-Cretaceous supra-subduction zone (SSZ) ophiolites onto adjacent continental areas in the Mediterranean region is synchronous with reductions in the rate of motion between Africa and stable Europe. The Apennine-Ligurian-Alpine ophiolites lack SSZ chemistry, are mid-ocean ridge basalt (MORB)-like, range in age from c. 169 to 148 Ma, and were emplaced-in late Cretaceous and Cenozoic time. The Hellenic-Dinaric SSZ ophiolites include some MORB, ranging from 173 to 168 Ma, and were emplaced, eroded, and covered by younger sediments by c. 140 Ma. The creation of the Apennine-Ligurian-Alpine and Hellenic-Dinaric suites is attributed to the motion of Adria, which formed a promontory on Africa, or essentially moved with it, as the central Atlantic opened. Extension to the west of Adria gave rise to the Ligurian Sea, generating MORB crust; to the east, a pre-existing Triassic ocean was subducted, with rollback creating Jurassic SSZ ophiolites that were emplaced onto adjacent continental margins in the later stages of convergence. The two episodes of slower motions between Africa and Europe are attributed to two episodes of attempted subduction of a passive continental margin. This speculation suggests that emplacement of some SSZ ophiolites may exert a significant control on oceanic spreading patterns.
Year of Publication: 2006
Research Program: ODP Ocean Drilling Program
Key Words: 18 Geophysics, Solid-Earth; Adriatic Plate; African Plate; Alpine Geosyncline; Alps; Apennines; Atlantic Ocean; Basalts; Continental drift; Continental margin; Crust; Dinaric Alps; Eastern Alps; Eurasian Plate; Europe; Greece; Hellenides; Igneous rocks; Italy; Jurassic; Liguria Italy; Ligurian Alps; Ligurian Sea; Magmatism; Mantle; Mantle plumes; Mediterranean Sea; Mediterranean region; Mesozoic; Mid-ocean ridge basalts; Movement; North Atlantic; Ocean Drilling Program; Oceanic crust; Ophiolite complexes; Paleogeography; Paleomagnetism; Paleozoic; Passive margins; Permian; Plate collision; Plate tectonics; Rifting; Sea-floor spreading; Southern Europe; Tectonics; Tethys; Volcanic rocks; West Mediterranean; Western Alps
Coordinates: N350000 N400000 E0150000 E0100000
Record ID: 2007020735
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