Middle-Late Jurassic sedimentary mélange formation related to ophiolite obduction in the Alpine-Carpathian-Dinaridic Mountain Range

Hans-Jürgen Gawlick, Sigrid Missoni

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23 Citations (Scopus)


The Middle-Late Jurassic mountain building process in the Western Tethyan realm was triggered by west- to northwestward-directed ophiolite obduction onto the wider Adriatic shelf. This southeastern to eastern Adriatic shelf was the former passive continental margin of the Neo-Tethys, which started to open in the Middle Triassic. Its western parts closed from around the Early/Middle Jurassic boundary with the onset of east-dipping intra-oceanic subduction. Ongoing contraction led to ophiolite obduction onto the former continental margin since the Bajocian. Trench-like basins formed concomitantly within the evolving thin-skinned orogen in a lower plate situation. Deep-water basins formed in sequence with the northwest-/westward propagating nappe fronts, which served as source areas of the basin fills. Basin deposition was characterized by coarsening-upward cycles, i.e. sedimentary mélanges as synorogenic sediments. The basin fills became sheared successively by ongoing contractional tectonics with features of typical mélanges. Analyses of ancient Neo-Tethys mélanges along the Eastern Mediterranean mountain ranges allow both, a facies reconstruction of the outer western passive margin of the Neo-Tethys and conclusions on the processes and timing of Jurassic orogenesis. Comparison of mélanges identical in age and component spectrum in different mountain belts figured out one Neo-Tethys Ocean in the Western Tethyan realm, instead of multi-ocean and multi-continent scenarios.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-172
Number of pages29
JournalGondwana research
Issue numberOctober
Early online date11 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019

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