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Transition from compression to strike-slip tectonic styles along the northern margin of the Levant Basin

Abstract : The Cyprus Arc system is major plate boundary of the Eastern Mediterranean where different plates interact, namely Arabia, Africa, Eurasia, as well as the Anatolian micro-plate. It constitutes the northern boundary of the Levant Basin (of thin stretched continental crust) and the Herodotus Basin (of oceanic crust). The Cyprus Arc is directly linked with the northward convergence of the African continental plate with respect to the Eurasian continental plate since Late Cretaceous time. The indentation of the Arabian plate and the slab pull effect of the African plate roll back in the Aegean region on the eastern and western part of the Anatolian plate respectively, leads to the westward escape of Anatolia from Late Miocene to Recent, which results in a strike-slip component along the Cyprus Arc system and onshore Cyprus. Several scientific questions with regard to the geological setting of the region were investigated during this project. How is the deformation accommodated at the Cyprus Arc system? Is this deformation style affected by the variation of the crustal nature at each domain? How is this deformation recorded on the sedimentary pile onshore Cyprus? How does the onshore and offshore deformation connect within the geodynamic context of the region? In order to answer these scientific questions, 2D reflection seismic data were utilized, that image the main plate structures and their lateral evolution south and east of Cyprus. Interpretation of these data lead to the identification of nine tectono-sedimentary packages in three different crustal domains south of the Cyprus Arc system: (1) The Levant Basin (attenuated continental crust), (2) The Eratosthenes micro-continent (continental crust) and (3) The Herodotus Basin (oceanic crust). Within these domains, numerous tectonic structures were documented and analysed in order to understand the mechanism and timing of deformation. At the northern boundary of the Levant Basin domain, thrust faults verging towards the south were documented in the Cyprus Basin with the thrust movement commencing in Early Miocene time as indicated by on the Larnaca and Margat Ridges. On the Latakia Ridge no activity was identified during this time interval. The acme of deformation occurred in Middle to Late Miocene time, with the activity of the Latakia Ridge indicating the forward propagation of the deformation front towards the south. This southward migration was documented from the development of flexural basins and from stratigraphic onlaps in the Cyprus Basin. Successive tectonic pulses through the Late Miocene until Recent times, are indicated from the angular unconformities and the piggy back basins. In Plio-Pleistocene time, the westward escape of the Anatolian micro-plate resulted in the reactivation of existing structures. The evolution of deformation along the plate boundary is identified from the creation of positive flower structures revealing transpressive movements along the Larnaca and Latakia Ridges (eastern domains). The central domain includes the Eratosthenes Seamount which is characterized as a Mesozoic carbonate platform covered by a thin sequence of sediments ranging from Miocene-Messinian to Pliocene-Pleistocene depositions.
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Vasilis Symeou. Transition from compression to strike-slip tectonic styles along the northern margin of the Levant Basin. Earth Sciences. Sorbonne Université, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018SORUS003⟩. ⟨tel-02078777⟩



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