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Extensional Tectonics in Western Anatolia, Turkey: Eastward continuation of the Aegean Extension
  • Elizabeth Catlos,
  • Thomas Etzel,
  • Ibrahim Çemen
Elizabeth Catlos
The University of Texas at Austin

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Thomas Etzel
ExxonMobil, 22777 Springwoods Village, Parkway Spring, TX 77389, USA
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Ibrahim Çemen
University of Alabama, Dept. of Geological Sciences, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 35487-0338, USA
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Western Anatolia is located at the boundary between the Aegean and Anatolian microplates. It is considered a type-location for marking a significant transition between compressional and extensional tectonics across the Alpine-Himalayan chain. The onset of lateral extrusion in Western Anatolia and the Aegean during the Eocene is only one of its transitional episodes. The region has a geological history marked by diverse tectonic events starting from the Paleoproterozoic through the Cambrian, Devonian, and Late Cretaceous, as recorded by its suture zones, metamorphic history, and intrusions of igneous assemblages. Extension in Western Anatolia initiated in a complex lithospheric tectonic collage of multiple sutured crustal fragments from ancient orogens. This history can be traced to the Aegean microplate, and today both regions are transitioning or have transitioned to a stress regime dominated by strike-slip tectonics. The control for extension in Western Anatolia is widely accepted as the rollback of the African (Nubian) slab along the Hellenic arc, and several outstanding questions remain regarding subduction dynamics. These include the timing and geometry of the Hellenic arc and its connections to other subduction systems along strike. Slab tear is proposed for many regions across the Anatolian and Aegean microplates, either trench-parallel or perpendicular, and varies in scale from regional to local. The role of magma in driving and facilitating extension in Western Anatolia and where and why switches in stress regimes occurred along the Anatolia and Aegean microplates are still under consideration. The correlation between Aegean and Anatolian tectonic events requires a better understanding of the detailed metamorphic history recorded in Western Anatolia rocks, possible now with advances in garnet-based themobarometric approaches. Slab tear and ultimate delamination impact lithospheric dynamics, including generating economic and energy deposits, facilitating lithospheric thinning, and influencing the onset of transfer zones that accommodate deformation and provide conduits for magmatism.