Testing models of Late Palaeozoic-Early Mesozoic orogeny in Western Turkey: Support for an evolving open-Tethys model

Alastair H F Robertson*, Timur Ustaömer, Elizabeth A. Pickett, Alan S. Collins, Theo Andrew, John E. Dixon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Field evidence from north-south transects tests three tectonic models for Tethys in Western Turkey for when a Late Palaeozoic ocean was closing and an Early Mesozoic ocean opening. In Model 1, a Palaeozoic ocean subducted southwards, rifting continental fragments from Gondwana and opening a Triassic Neo-Tethys to the south. Closure and collision occurred by latest Triassic time. In Model 2, a wide Palaeozoic Tethys subducted northwards with an active Eurasian margin and a passive Gondwana margin. The northern Gondwana margin rifted in the Triassic: fragments either remained nearby (Taurides) or drifted northwards (e.g. Karakaya) attached to a north-subducting plate. New oceanic crust replaced Palaeo-Tethys with Neotethys and back-arc marginal basins opened along the south Eurasian margin (e.g. Küre). In Model 3, a Palaeozoic ocean also subducted northwards opening wide marginal basins. A wide Southern Neotethys opened along the Gondwana margin. Rifted Eurasian (Anatolides) and Gondwana (Taurides) fragments collided in mid-Tethys by latest Triassic time. Field evidence from the Pontides supports north-dipping subduction models (Model 2 or 3 above). Key features are a south-vergent, HP-LT accretionary prism, magmatic arc and back-arc basin system bordering the Eurasian margin. Also, evidence from the Tauride Mountains favours Model 2 over Model 3. Critically, the Anatolides and Taurides appear to have a common history and were unlikely to have been located on opposite sides of Tethys, as in Model 3.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-511
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Geological Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2004


  • Subduction
  • Tethys
  • Triassic
  • Western Turkey


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