Mediterranean extension and the Africa‐Eurasia collision

Mediterranean extension and the Africa‐Eurasia collision A number of tectonic events occurred contemporaneously in the Mediterranean region and the Middle East 30–25 Myr ago. These events are contemporaneous to or immediately followed a strong reduction of the northward absolute motion of Africa. Geological observations in the Neogene extensional basins of the Mediterranean region reveal that extension started synchronously from west to east 30–25 Myr ago. In the western Mediterranean it started in the Gulf of Lion, Valencia trough, and Alboran Sea as well as between the Maures massif and Corsica between 33 and 27 Ma ago. It then propagated eastward and southward to form to Liguro‐Provençal basin and the Tyrrhenian Sea. In the eastern Mediterranean, extension started in the Aegean Sea before the deposition of marine sediments onto the collapsed Hellenides in the Aquitanian and before the cooling of high‐temperature metamorphic core complexes between 20 and 25 Ma. Foundering of the inner zones of the Carpathians and extension in the Panonnian basin also started in the late Oligocene‐early Miocene. The body of the Afro‐Arabian plate first collided with Eurasia in the eastern Mediterranean region progressively from the Eocene to the Oligocene. Extensional tectonics was first recorded in the Gulf of Aden, Afar triple junction, and Red Sea region also in the Oligocene. A general magmatic surge occurred above all African hot spots, especially the Afar one. We explore the possibility that these drastic changes in the stress regime of the Mediterranean region and Middle East and the contemporaneous volcanic event were triggerred by the Africa/Arabia‐Eurasia collision, which slowed down the motion of Africa. The present‐day Mediterranean Sea was then locked between two collision zones, and the velocity of retreat of the African slab increased and became larger than the velocity of convergence leading to backarc extension. East of the Caucasus and northern Zagros collision zone the Afro‐Arabian plate was still pulled by the slab pull force in the Zagros subduction zone, which created extensional stresses in the northeast corner of the Afro‐Arabian plate. The Arabian plate was formed by propagation of a crack from the Carlsberg ridge westward toward the weak part of the African lithosphere above the Afar plume. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Tectonics Wiley

Mediterranean extension and the Africa‐Eurasia collision

Tectonics, Volume 19 (6) – Dec 1, 2000

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2000 by the American Geophysical Union.
ISSN
0278-7407
eISSN
1944-9194
DOI
10.1029/2000TC900018
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

A number of tectonic events occurred contemporaneously in the Mediterranean region and the Middle East 30–25 Myr ago. These events are contemporaneous to or immediately followed a strong reduction of the northward absolute motion of Africa. Geological observations in the Neogene extensional basins of the Mediterranean region reveal that extension started synchronously from west to east 30–25 Myr ago. In the western Mediterranean it started in the Gulf of Lion, Valencia trough, and Alboran Sea as well as between the Maures massif and Corsica between 33 and 27 Ma ago. It then propagated eastward and southward to form to Liguro‐Provençal basin and the Tyrrhenian Sea. In the eastern Mediterranean, extension started in the Aegean Sea before the deposition of marine sediments onto the collapsed Hellenides in the Aquitanian and before the cooling of high‐temperature metamorphic core complexes between 20 and 25 Ma. Foundering of the inner zones of the Carpathians and extension in the Panonnian basin also started in the late Oligocene‐early Miocene. The body of the Afro‐Arabian plate first collided with Eurasia in the eastern Mediterranean region progressively from the Eocene to the Oligocene. Extensional tectonics was first recorded in the Gulf of Aden, Afar triple junction, and Red Sea region also in the Oligocene. A general magmatic surge occurred above all African hot spots, especially the Afar one. We explore the possibility that these drastic changes in the stress regime of the Mediterranean region and Middle East and the contemporaneous volcanic event were triggerred by the Africa/Arabia‐Eurasia collision, which slowed down the motion of Africa. The present‐day Mediterranean Sea was then locked between two collision zones, and the velocity of retreat of the African slab increased and became larger than the velocity of convergence leading to backarc extension. East of the Caucasus and northern Zagros collision zone the Afro‐Arabian plate was still pulled by the slab pull force in the Zagros subduction zone, which created extensional stresses in the northeast corner of the Afro‐Arabian plate. The Arabian plate was formed by propagation of a crack from the Carlsberg ridge westward toward the weak part of the African lithosphere above the Afar plume.

Journal

TectonicsWiley

Published: Dec 1, 2000

References

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