Mesozoic to Early Tertiary tectonic-sedimentary evolution of the Northern Neotethys Ocean: evidence from the Beyşehir-Hoyran-Hadim Nappes, Southern Turkey
The Beyşehir-Hoyran-Hadim Nappes crop out over 700km, from east to west in the Pisidian and Central Taurus Mountains of southern Turkey. During this study, field obsevations of lithological, structural and sedimentological features are combined with igneous geochemical data derived from samples collected to help redefine a series of tectono-stratigraphic units and also determine the origin of the Beyşehir-Hoyran-Hadim Nappes. Above a regionally autochthonous Tauride carbonate platform, the Beyşehir-Hoyran Nappes begin with Ophiolitic Melange, consisting of blocks of neritic and pelagic limestone, basalt, serpentinite, radiolarian chert and, in places, amphibolite-grade metamorphic sole-type rocks, together set in a highly sheared siltstone and mudstone matrix. Locally, large slices of serpentinized harzburgite are incorporated in the melange. The peridotite sheets include lenses of chromitite and dunite and are cut by a series of dolerite dykes. The higher thrust sheets in the Hadim area begin with the Korualan Unit; a thrust sheet (ca. 400m thick) of mainly redeposited carbonates, quartzose sandstones and mudstones of Mid-Late Triassic age, interpreted as a proximal slope/base-of-slope succession. Regionally above is the Huğlu-type Unit; a thrust sheet (ca. 1 km thick) of Mid-Late Triassic intermediate-acidic extrusives, volcaniclastics and minor pelagic carbonates, interpreted as a continental rift. Post-rift subsidence in this thrust sheet is recorded by thin (<100m thick) Upper Triassic-Upper Cretaceous pelagic carbonate and radiolarian chert, depositionally above. The uppermost thrust sheet, the Boyali Tepe-type Unit, comprises broken formation and melange, including Jurassic shallow-water carbonate, Ammonitico Rosso condensed pelagic limestone, radiolarian chert and Upper Cretaceous pelagic limestone, representing a Bahaman-type carbonate platform which subsided in Early Jurassic time. Anastomosing zones of tectonic-sedimentary melange separate these higher units. The Beyşehir-Hoyran Nappes document Triassic rifting and Jurassic-Cretaceous passive margin subsidence bordering the Northern Neotethyan Ocean. The Late Cretaceous harzburgitic ophiolite probably formed above a northerly dipping subduction zone within the Neotethyan ocean basin. Ophiolitic melange formed along the leading edge of the overiding plate. The ophiolite was emplaced southwards onto the northern margin of the Tauride platform in latest Cretaceous time, probably during collision of the passive margin with a trench. The nappe pile and underlying platform (Hadim Nappe) were thrust ca. 150km further south in Late Eocene time during regional continental collision and suture zone tightening. Several alternative palaeo-tectonic models are considered and tested in the light of data presented from this study. Assuming ‘in-sequence’ thrusting, the Beyşehir-Hoyran Nappes restore to a location north of a northerly Neotethyan spreading axis. More probably, they originated near the south margin of the northern Neotethys, but reached their position by ‘out-of-sequence thrusting’. Formation within a localised southerly strand of the northern Neotethys (Inner Tauride ocean) is more probable than within the main Neotethys further north. Wider implications for the Tethyan ocean as a whole and several other orogenic belts are also considered.