Integrated Radiolaria, Benthic Foraminifera And Conodont Biochronology Of The Pelagic Permian Blocks/Tectonic Slices And Geochemistry Of Associated Volcanic Rocks From The Mersin Melange, Southern Turkey: Implications For The Permian Evolution Of The Northern Neotethys
Tekin, Ugur Kagan
Noble, Paula J.
Goncuoglu, Mehmet Cemal
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Blocks and tectonic slices within the Mersin Melange (southern Turkey), which are of Northern Neotethyan origin (Izmir-Ankara-Erzincan Ocean (IAE)), were studied in detail by using radiolarian, conodont, and foraminiferal assemblages on six different stratigraphic sections with well-preserved Permian succesions. The basal part of the Permian sequence, composed of alternating chert and mudstone with basic volcanics, is assigned to the late Asselian (Early Permian) based on radiolarians. The next basaltic interval in the sequence is dated as Kungurian. The highly alkaline basic volcanics in the sequence are extremely enriched, similar to kimberlitic/lamprophyric magmas generated at continental intraplate settings. Trace element systematics suggest that these lavas were generated in a continental margin involving a metasomatized subcontinental lithospheric mantle source (SCLM). The middle part of the Permian sequences, dated by benthic foraminifera and conodont assemblages, includes detrital limestones with chert interlayers and neptunian dykes of middle Wordian to earliest Wuchiapingian age. Higher in the sequence, detrital limestones are overlain by alternating chert and mudstone with intermittent microbrecciated beds of early Wuchiapingian to middle Changhsingian (Late Permian) age based on the radiolarians. A large negative shift at the base of the Lopingian at the upper part of section is correlated to negative shifts at the Guadalupian/Lopingian boundary associated with the end-Guadalupian mass extinction event. All these findings indicate that a continental rift system associated with a possible mantle plume existed during the late Early to Late Permian period. This event was responsible for the rupturing of the northern Gondwanan margin related to the opening of the IAE Ocean. When the deep basinal features of the Early Permian volcano-sedimentary sequence are considered, the proto IAE oceanic crust formed possibly before the end of the Permian. This, in turn, suggests that the opening of the IAE Ocean dates back to as early as the Permian.