The Central Pontides of N Turkey represents a mobile orogenic belt of the southern Eurasian margin that experienced several phases of exhumation associated with the consumption of different branches of the Neo-Tethys Ocean and the amalgamation of continental domains. Our new low-temperature thermochronology data help to constrain the timing of these episodes, providing new insights into associated geodynamic processes. In particular, our data suggest that exhumation occurred at (1) ~110 to 90 Ma, most likely during tectonic accretion and exhumation of metamorphic rocks from the subduction zone; (2) from ~60 to 40 Ma, during the collision of the Kirşehir and Anatolide-Tauride microcontinental domains with the Eurasian margin; (3) from ~40 to 25 Ma, either during the early stages of the Arabia-Eurasia collision (soft collision) when the Arabian passive margin reached the trench, implying 70 to 530 km of subduction of the Arabian passive margin, or during a phase of trench advance predating hard collision at ~20 Ma; and (4) ~11 Ma to the present, during transpression associated with the westward motion of Anatolia. Our findings document the punctuated nature of fault-related exhumation, with episodes of fast cooling followed by periods of slow cooling or subsidence, the role of inverted normal faults in controlling the Paleogene exhumation pattern, and of the North Anatolian Fault in dictating the most recent pattern of exhumation.
Ballato, P., Parra, M., Schildgen, T.F., Dunkl, I., Yıldırım, C., Özsayın, E., et al. (2018). Multiple Exhumation Phases in the Central Pontides (N Turkey): New Temporal Constraints on Major Geodynamic Changes Associated With the Closure of the Neo-Tethys Ocean. TECTONICS, 37(6), 1831-1857 [10.1029/2017TC004808].