The eastern Black Sea-Caucasus region during the Cretaceous: New evidence to constrain its tectonic evolution

Marc Sosson, Randell Stephenson, Yevgeniya Sheremet, Yann Rolland, Shota Adamia, Rafael Melkonian, Talat Kangarli, Tamara Yegorova, Ara Avagyan, Ghazar Galoyan, Taniel Danelian, Marc Hässig, Maud Meijers, Carla Müller, Lilit Sahakyan, Nino Sadradze, Victor Alania, Onice Enukidze, Jon Mosar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


We report new observations in the eastern Black Sea-Caucasus region that allow reconstructing the evolution of the Neotethys in the Cretaceous. At that time, the Neotethys oceanic plate was subducting northward below the continental Eurasia plate. Based on the analysis of the obducted ophiolites that crop out throughout Lesser Caucasus and East Anatolides, we show that a spreading center (AESA basin) existed within the Neotethys, between Middle Jurassic and Early Cretaceous. Later, the spreading center was carried into the subduction with the Neotethys plate. We argue that the subduction of the spreading center opened a slab window that allowed asthenospheric material to move upward, in effect thermally and mechanically weakening the otherwise strong Eurasia upper plate. The local weakness zone favored the opening of the Black Sea back-arc basins. Later, in the Late Cretaceous, the AESA basin obducted onto the Taurides-Anatolides-South Armenia Microplate (TASAM), which then collided with Eurasia along a single suture zone (AESA suture).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-32
Number of pages10
JournalComptes Rendus - Geoscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
These works were supported by the “Groupement De Recherche International” Géosciences Sud Caucase of the CNRS\INSU and also by the MEBE and DARIUS Programs.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Académie des sciences.


  • Black Sea
  • Caucasus
  • Cretaceous
  • Neotethys
  • Ophiolites
  • Paleotectonic reconstruction


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