What triggered the early-to-mid Pleistocene tectonic transition across the entire eastern Mediterranean?

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Subduction plays a fundamental role in plate tectonics and when interrupted it may trigger a series of geodynamic and sedimentary responses. Synchronous structural modifications recorded across the entire eastern Mediterranean region are dated to a relatively short period - early-to-mid Pleistocene. These deformations are documented within plates (e.g., Arabian, Sinai and African plates), along plate boundaries (e.g., Dead Sea and North Anatolian faults and Cyprus Arc), and in the Mediterranean basin. During the same period the northward subduction of the Sinai plate was interrupted when the Eratosthenes Seamount-Cyprus Arc collision initiated. Subduction-collision processes of the eastern Mediterranean serve as a unique modern analogue for similar settings worldwide. Understanding their association with accompanying neo-tectonic processes is therefore predominantly important. By fostering a detailed and comprehensive approach this research provides a coherent tectonic picture for the eastern Mediterranean early-to-mid Pleistocene tectonic transition in order to explore its triggering mechanisms. Since the Neogene convergence across the eastern Mediterranean was accompanied by Eurasian indentation by Arabia northward motion, westwards Anatolia escape and southwards Aegean propagation. This semi counterclockwise plate motion was temporarily interrupted by the incipient Seamount-Arc collision which is suggested here as a trigger of the early-to-mid Pleistocene tectonic transition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-548
Number of pages10
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 31 Jan 2010


  • Calabrian arc
  • Cyprus Arc
  • Dead Sea fault
  • Eratosthenes Seamount
  • Hellenic arc
  • Levant basin
  • North Anatolian fault
  • Pleistocene
  • Quaternary geology
  • continental collision
  • eastern Mediterranean
  • geodynamics
  • subduction
  • tectonics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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