Crustal and Upper Mantle Structure of the Anatolian Plate: Imaging the Effects of Subduction Termination and Continental Collision with Seismic Techniques
AdvisorBeck, Susan L.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe neotectonic evolution of the eastern Mediterranean is intimately tied to interactions between the underthrusting/subducting slab along the southern margin of Anatolia and the overriding plate. The lateral variations in the subduction zone can be viewed as a temporal analogue of the transition between continuous subduction and subduction termination by continent-continent collision. By investigating the lateral variations along this subduction zone in the overriding plate, we can gain insight into the processes that precede continent collision. This dissertation summarizes the results of three studies that focus on different parts of the subduction margin: 1) In the west, where the development of a slab tear represents the transition between continuous and enigmatic subduction, 2) In the east, where continent-continent collision between the Arabian and Eurasian Plate is leading to the development of the third largest orogenic plateau on earth after complete slab detachment, and 3) In central Anatolia, where the subducting slab is thought to be in the processes of breaking up, which is affecting the flow of mantle material leading to volcanism and uplift along the margin. In the first study, we interpret that variations in the composition of material in the downgoing plate (i.e. a change from the subduction of oceanic material to continental material) may have led to the development of a slab tear in the eastern Aegean. This underthrusting, buoyant continental fragment is controlling overriding plate deformation, separating the highly extensional strains of western Anatolia from the much lower extensional strains of central Anatolia. Based on intermediate depth seismicity, it appears that the oceanic portion of the slab is still attached to this underthrusting continental fragment. In the second study, we interpret that the introduction of continental lithosphere into the north-dipping subduction zone at the Arabian-Eurasian margin led to the rollback and eventual detachment of the downgoing oceanic lithosphere attached to the Arabian Plate. After detachment, high rates of exhumation in the overriding plate are recorded due to the removal of the oceanic lithosphere and accompanying rebound of the Arabian continental lithosphere. In the third study, we image a transitional stage between the complete slab breakoff of the second study and the continuous subduction slab of the first study. We interpret that trench-perpendicular volcanism and ~2 km of uplift of flat-lying carbonate rocks along the southern margin of Turkey can be attributed to the rollback and ongoing segmentation of the downgoing slab as attenuated continental material is introduced into the subduction zone. Combining these three studies allows us to understand the terminal processes of a long-lived subduction zone as continental material is introduced.
Degree ProgramGraduate College