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TECTONIC EVOLUTION

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The geological genesis of Cyprus took place through a series of tectonic episodes. It was initiated with the subduction of the African Plate beneath the Eurasian Plate and the formation of the Troodos Ophiolite (Upper Cretaceous, 90 Ma) and continued with its detachment, a sinistral rotation of 90° and the collision to its southern and western part of older rocks ranging in age from 230 to 75 Ma. A period of relative tectonic inactivity followed, spanning in time from approximately 75 to 10 Ma, was characterised by the deposition of carbonate sediments and gradual shallowing of the sedimentary basin (Lefkara and Pachna Formations). The placement of the Keryneia Terrane in the northern part of the Troodos Terrane and the uplift of the island to almost its present position (Miocene, 10 -15 Ma) constitutes an important tectonic episode.

With the subduction of the plates and their relevant readjustment, the plates moved northwards so that their southern edges were placed in the area where the Pentadaktylos Range would finally be positioned. Marine sedimentation and relative tectonic inactivity dominated south of that area following the collision of the Troodos and the Mamonia Terranes. At the same time, periodic uplift of the Troodos began creating an island. At the end of Miocene (6 Ma), in the north-most part of the region which would constitute Cyprus, a series of allochthonous limestones (Pentadaktylos Zone) was placed over the flanks of the Troodos Zone, folding and displacing all of the younger sediments. East of Cyprus, the Tethys Sea was closed and the Mediterranean Sea obtained approximately its present shape.

During the Messinian, the Mediterranean Salinity Crisis, which was a result of its isolation from the the Atlantic, created condition of extreme sea-water evaporation and deposition of evaporate sediments of evaporite sediments locally being gypsum deposits (Kalavasos Formation).

Re-connection of the Mediterranean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean (with the opening of the Gibraltar) and the rise of sea level, resulted in the deposition of new sediments, which are today represented by the marls and calcarenites of the Nicosia Formation. An abrupt uplift of the area occurred during the Pleistocene (approximately the last 2,5 million years) when the Troodos and Pentadaktylos Ranges were uplifted to elevations even higher than today’s. This significant uplift combined with the intense climatic changes of the Pleistocene, resulted in extensive erosion of the ranges, particularly that of Troodos and the transportation of large quantities of erosional material (gravels, sand and silts). These clastic sediments were deposited in large valleys and in the Mesaoria region, forming the Pleistocene Fanglomerates.



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