Tethyan sutures of northern Turkey
The two main Tethyan sutures of Turkey, the İzmir-Ankara-Erzincan and the Intra-Pontide sutures, are reviewed through several well-studied transects crossing the suture regions. Both sutures have formed during the Early Tertiary continental collisions following northward subduction of Tethyan oceanic lithosphere. The İzmir-Ankara-Erzincan suture is represented along most of its c. 2000 km length by Paleocene and younger thrust, which emplace the upper crustal rocks of the northern continent over that of the southern continent with an intervening tectonic layer of Cretaceous subduction-accretion complexes. These thrusts constitutes a profound stratigraphic, structural, magmatic and metamorphic break, of at least Carboniferous to Palaeocene age and form the main boundary between Laurasia and Gondwana in the Turkish transect. Voluminous subduction-accretion complexes of Triassic and Cretaceous ages occur respectively to the north and south of the suture giving the antithetic subduction polarities during these two periods. This, and evidence for a major accretionary orogeny of Late Triassic age north of the İzmir-Ankara-Erzincan suture suggest that two separate oceanic lithospheres, of Carboniferous to Triassic (Palaeo-Tethys) and of Triassic to Cretaceous ages (Neo-Tethys) respectively have been consumed along the suture. The final continental collision along the İzmir-Ankara-Erzincan suture was slightly diachronous and occurred in the earliest Palaeocene to the west and in the Late Palaeocene to the east. The c. 800 km long Intra-Pontide suture is younger in age and have formed during the Early Eocene and younger continental collisions linked to the opening of the Western Black Sea Basin as an oceanic back-arc basin. At present the North Anatolian Fault, which came into existence in the Late Miocene, follows the course of the older Intra-Pontide suture.