Tectonic evolution of the Mediterranean: a dame with four husbands

Cómo citar

Şengör, A. M. C. (2011). Tectonic evolution of the Mediterranean: a dame with four husbands. Trabajos De Geología, 29(29). Recuperado a partir de https://reunido.uniovi.es/index.php/TDG/article/view/264


The tectonics of the Mediterranean Region since the end of the Hercynian orogeny in Europe has been dominated successively by four major developments largely outside it, whose effects interacted in the Mediterranean to give it its extremely complicated geology. The first influence was that of the consumption of the Paleo-Tethys under Gondwanaland in regions east of the present-day Bulgaria. A second concurrent influence was the right-lateral transpression along the Scythides as far west as the North Dobrudja: this led to the Triassic extension and partial ocean-floor generation in theCarpathians, the Alps and the Pyrenees. These two influences were still active when the CentralAtlantic began opening, adding a third influence. This rifted new oceans in the Betics, the AtlasMountain complex, the Apennines and the Alps. When Gondwanaland began rifting in Late Jurassic,its extensional tectonics began influencing places as far into the Mediterranean as the northern Africancontinental margin east of Libya and parts of the Arabian Peninsula, adding a fourth influence. TheAptian-Albian opening in the South Atlantic finally halted the extension in these areas, but it imposedon Africa a northerly drift component with respect to Laurasia. This led to the generation of new subductionzones and the obduction of giant ophiolite nappes. In the northern African continental margineast of Libya, aborted ophiolite obduction led to the generation of the Syrian Arcs orogen, a forelandfold/thrust system with no corresponding internides. Major continental collisions began in theEocene, but the final pinching of the Mediterranean basin at both ends was a Miocene affair.