Jurassic-Cretaceous low paleolatitudes from the circum-Black Sea region (Crimea and Pontides) due to True Polar Wander

Maud J.M. Meijers, Cor G. Langereis, Douwe J.J. van Hinsbergen, Nuretdin Kaymakci, Randell A. Stephenson, Demir Altiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


In a recent study, paleomagnetic and paleoenvironmental data from Adria (as part of the African plate) suggest a trend toward much lower (~15°) latitudes from Early Jurassic to Earliest Cretaceous at the position of Adria than suggested by the apparent polar wander (APW) paths. The smoothing of existing (APW) paths has most likely caused this low-latitude episode to be overlooked. In this study, we test if the low paleolatitudes in the Jurassic to Early Cretaceous can also be found in Eurasia, i.e. Crimea (Ukraine) and the Pontides (Turkey) that are situated in the present-day Black Sea region. Our Eurasian data suggest the same low Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous paleolatitudes as shown for Africa. The Jurassic to Lower Cretaceous time span is characterized by Tethys subduction between the African and Eurasian continents and these subduction zones likely functioned as an anchor in the mantle. Therefore, we regard it unlikely that both the African and Eurasian plates moved by > 1500 km south and subsequently north with respect to the mantle, as suggested by the paleomagnetic results. True polar wander (TPW) provides a mechanism that rotates the Earth's crust and mantle with respect to its core, and it was recently quantified. The period from 195-135. Ma (Early Jurassic to Earliest Cretaceous) is subject to clockwise TPW, which could well explain our results. We conclude that TPW rather than plate tectonics is the cause of low Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous African and Eurasian paleolatitudes in the eastern Mediterranean area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)210-226
Number of pages17
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Aug 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Nuretdin Kaymakcı for discussion. We would like to acknowledge the following people for their help in the field: Wout Krijgsman, Martijn Deenen, Aline Saintot, Stephen Vincent, Vladimir Bakhmutov, Sergei Bolotov, Oleg Rusakov, Evgeniy Polyachenko, Galina Slivinskaya, Sergei Yudin, Elena Yudina, Viktor Yudin, Aral Okay, Nuretdin Kaymakcı, Bora Rojay, Pinar Ertepınar Kaymakcı and Ane Wiersma. V.V. Arkadiev is thanked for age determination of Crimean ammonite samples. We would like to thank Bernhard Steinberger for providing the Eurasian and African TPW-corrected paths. We would like to thank Aral Okay, Rob van der Voo and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments. M.J.M.M. acknowledges The Netherlands Research Centre for Integrated Solid Earth Sciences (ISES) and The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) for financial support. D.J.J.v.H. acknowledges financial support from Statoil (SPlates project). The global paleomagnetic database can be found at: http://www.ngu.no/geodynamics/gpmdb/ .


  • Eurasia
  • Inclination error
  • Low latitudes
  • Mesozoic
  • Paleomagnetism
  • True Polar Wander
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine


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