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Geodynamics and Synchronous Filling of Flexural Basins: The Northern Margin of the Levant Basin

Abstract

The eastern Mediterranean region is known as a tectonically complex region where giant hydrocarbon fields have been discovered in the past decade, such as Leviathan, Tamar, Dalit and Aphrodite-A fields (www.nobleenergyinc.com). New insights on the geodynamic development of the Eastern Mediterranean region has been provided by recent. This region owes its complex nature to the movement of the continental plates of Africa, Arabia and Eurasia-Anatolia, thus making the interpretation of the area difficult to grasp and understand. The direct connection between the plates motion of the region is well observed onshore Cyprus, which is situated in the farthest corner of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, accounting for 225km in length from East to West of the island and 95km from North to South. The most prominent features that govern the topography of the island are the Troodos ophiolite complex, the Mamonia mélange mainly composed of volcanosilisiclastic sediments to the West, which tectonic history directly controlled the sedimentation since the Late Cretaceous onward. The objective of this contribution is to investigate the timing and the mechanisms of flexural subsidence as well as the sedimentary filling of the Polis and the Limasol basins located onshore Cyprus, and to show how this is linked with the geodynamics of the region. The Limasol and Polis basins are bounded to the North by the Troodos ophiolite complex, and to the South by the external Cyprus arc thrust belt. These basins have a complex sedimentary infill directly linked with the N-S Cyprus arc compression, as well as the strike slip movement due to the Levant fault activity and the Anatolian fault, that accommodate the compression of the African plate and the Eurasian plate. Based on field campaigns, tectono-stratigraphic reconstructionsacross the Polis Basin and the Limassol basin was constructed from the Late Cretaceous onward in order to propose a model of the evolution of the NortherLevant margin. Concepts of sequence stratigraphy, facies distribution analysis as well as structural analysis invoke tectonically controlled stratigraphic evolution, and enable us to propose a link between the stratigraphic evolution of onshore Cyprus with the major geodynamic events that occured in the Eastern Mediterranean region since the Late Cretaceous.