Testing alternative models of continental collision in Central Turkey by a study of the sedimentology, provenance and tectonic setting of Late Cretaceous–Early Cenozoic syn-tectonic sedimentary basins.
Nairn, Steven Peter
In central Anatolia, Turkey, a strand of the former northern Neotethys Ocean subducted northwards under the Eurasian (Pontide) active margin during Late Cretaceous–Early Cenozoic time. Subduction and regional plate convergence were associated with the generation and emplacement of accretionary complexes and supra-subduction zone-type ophiolites onto former passive margins of microcontinents. The resultant suture zones contain Late Cretaceous to Middle Eocene basins (“The Central Anatolian Basins”) including: 1) the Kırıkkale Basin; 2) the Çankırı Basin, 3) the Tuz Gölü Basin and; 4) the Haymana - Polatlı Basin. Using stratigraphic logging, igneous geochemistry, micropalaeontology and provenance studies, this study tests two end-member models of basin evolution. In model one, the basins developed on obducted ophiolitic nappes following closure of a single northern Neotethys Ocean during the latest Cretaceous. In model two, northern Neotethys comprised two oceanic strands, the İzmir-Ankara-Erzincan Ocean to the north and the Inner Tauride Ocean to the south, separated by the Niğde-Kırşehir microcontinent, which was rifted from the Gondwana continent to the south. In this scenario, the basins developed as accretionary-type basins, associated with north-dipping subduction which persisted until the Middle Eocene when continental collision occurred. Where exposed, the basements of the Central Anatolian Basins comprise the Ankara Mélange, a mainly Upper Cretaceous subduction-accretion complex and the western/northern margin of the Niğde-Kırşehir microcontinent. New geochemical data from the composite basement of the Kırıkkale Basin identify mid ocean-ridge basalt (MORB), here interpreted to represent relict Upper Cretaceous Neotethyan oceanic crust. During the latest Cretaceous, the Kırıkkale and Tuz Gölü Basins initiated in deep water above relict MORB crust and ophiolitic mélange, bordered by the Niğde-Kırşehir microcontinent to the east where marginal facies accumulated. Further west, the Haymana-Polatlı Basin represents an accretionary-type basin constructed on the Ankara Mélange. To the north, the Çankırı Basin developed on accretionary mélange, bounded by the Pontide active margin to the north. Palaeocene sedimentation was dominated by marginal coralgal reef facies and siliciclastic turbidites. Latest Palaeocene–middle Eocene facies include shelf-type Nummulitid limestone, shallow-marine deltaic pebbly sandstones and siliciclastic turbidites. This thesis proposes a new model in which two north-dipping subduction zones were active during the late Mesozoic within northern Neotethys. In the south, ophiolites formed above a subduction zone consuming the Inner Tauride Ocean until the southward retreating trench collided with the northern margin of the Tauride continent emplacing ophiolites and mélange. In the north, subduction initiated outboard of the Eurasian margin triggering the genesis of supra-subduction zone ophiolites; the subduction zone rolled back southwards until it collided with the Niğde-Kırşehir microcontinent, again emplacing ophiolites during latest Cretaceous time. Neotethyan MORB still remained to the west of the Niğde-Kırşehir microcontinent forming the basement of the Kırıkkale and Tuz Gölü Basins. Latest Palaeocene–middle Eocene regional convergence culminated in crustal thickening, folding, uplift and strike-slip faulting which represent final continental collision and the geotectonic assembly of central Anatolia.