Toward a model of tectonic evolution of the Middle-East since Mesozoic

Category Paleontology and Stratigraphy
Group GSI.IR
Location International Geological Congress,oslo 2008
Author BARRIER, ERIC۱; VRIELYNCK, BRUNO۱; BRUNET, Marie-Françoise۱; BERGERAT, Françoise۱; SOSSON, Marc۲
Holding Date 11 October 2008

The set of 14 paleotectonic maps of the Middle East is one of the final products of the Middle East Basin Evolution Programme (MEBE), a 4-years consortium sponsored by Major Oil Companies and Research Organizations. MEBE drove together a group of scientists whose expertise includes several domains of tectonics (structural analysis, paleostress reconstruction, subsidence modeling), stratigraphy (paleontology, sequence stratigraphy, organic matter analysis), mechanical modeling, kinematics, and geophysics towards a common objective: characterizing the major tectonic events and establishing an accurate timing of tectonic evolution of the Middle-East domain since Mesozoic. We propose a reconstruction of the southern European and northern African-Arabian plates constituting the Middle-East since the end of the Eo-Cimmerian orogeny in Mid-Late Triassic. Our model includes both the Mesozoic-Early Cenozoic pre-collision periods and the Cenozoic Eurasia-Arabia collision. The palinspastic paleotectonic maps are based on an up-to-date kinematics reconstruction of Africa-Arabia with respect to Eurasia. We precise the age of the major tectonic events that have succeeded, as well as the main paleofacies at each time slice. The maps depict the major tectonic features including rifts, different types of basins, major orogens and fold belts, main transcurrent faults, subduction zones, accretionary prisms.... Following the Mid-Late Triassic collision of Gondwanian blocs with the Eurasian margin, developed for the rest of Mesozoic and Early Cenozoic (1) a northward subduction of the Neo-Tethys oceanic crust beneath the southern Eurasian margin, and (2) a passive margin bordering the African-Arabian plate to the North. In this latter plate, riftings and basins developed until Late Cretaceous when the Peri-Arabian obductions and major basin inversions occured. On the contrary, the Northern active margin recorded a complex tectonic evolution characterized by: (1) the opening of large back-arc and marginal basins from Jurassic to Early-Middle Cretaceous (Black Sea Basins, Geart Caucasus Basin, South Caspian Basin, Central Iranian Basins), (2) regional compressions associated with the inversions of basins. Main inversion periods are Mid-Jurassic, Early Cretaceous, and uppermost Cretaceous-Paleogene. The first compressional deformations related to the Arabia-Eurasia collision appeared in the southern Moesian margin in uppermost Cretaceous and then developed eastward during Paleogene. Eastward, the collision initiated in Late Eocene in Iran where the early stage of the collision involving the Eurasian and Arabian margins developed until Oligocene in inner Zagros. After complete closure of the remnant Tethyan oceanic domain, at the beginning of Neogene, the continent-continent collision started, originating the main orogenic belts of the Middle East: in Caucasus-Alborz, and in southern Turkey and Zagros for the for the northern and southern belts respectively.