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Cenozoic geodynamic evolution of the Aegean

Abstract : The Aegean region is a concentrate of the main geodynamic processes that shaped the Mediterranean region: oceanic and continental subduction, mountain building, high-pressure and low-temperature metamorphism, backarc extension, post-orogenic collapse, metamorphic core complexes, gneiss domes are the ingredients of a complex evolution that started at the end of the Cretaceous with the closure of the Tethyan ocean along the Vardar suture zone. Using available plate kinematic, geophysical, petrological and structural data, we present a synthetic tectonic map of the whole region encompassing the Balkans, Western Turkey, the Aegean Sea, the Hellenic Arc, the Mediterranean Ridge and continental Greece and we build a lithospheric-scale N-S cross-section from Crete to the Rhodope massif. We then describe the tectonic evolution of this cross-section with a series of reconstructions from ~70 Ma to the Present. We follow on the hypothesis that a single subduction has been active throughout most of the Mesozoic and the entire Cenozoic, and we show that the geological record is compatible with this hypothesis. The reconstructions show that continental subduction (Apulian and Pelagonian continental blocks) did not induce slab break-off in this case. Using this evolution, we discuss the mechanisms leading to the exhumation of metamorphic rocks and the subsequent formation of extensional metamorphic domes in the backarc region during slab retreat. The tectonic histories of the two regions showing large-scale extension, the Rhodope and the Cyclades are then compared. The respective contributions to slab retreat, post-orogenic extension and lower crust partial melting of changes in kinematic boundary conditions and in nature of subducting material, from continental to oceanic, are discussed.
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Submitted on : Monday, February 22, 2010 - 2:05:23 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, August 26, 2020 - 4:30:50 PM

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Laurent Jolivet, Jean-Pierre Brun. Cenozoic geodynamic evolution of the Aegean. International Journal of Earth Sciences, Springer Verlag, 2010, 99 (1), pp.109-138. ⟨10.1007/s00531-008-0366-4⟩. ⟨insu-00458832⟩

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