The Troodos Massif of Cyprus, rising to nearly 2000 meters above sea level, encompasses one of the world's classic ophiolites. Following its formation at a seafloor spreading center in Late Cretaceous times, this slice of the NeoTethyan oceanic lithosphere was uplifted and eventually exposed on mountain tops during the Neogene. The final uplift and exhumation of the Troodos was previously assigned to Pleistocene age by observations in the circum-Troodos sedimentary strata. However, quantitative thermochronological and geomorphological data from the Massif itself were not available. Here we use apatite (U-Th)/He low-temperature thermochronology complemented by zircon (U-Th)/He and apatite fission track data, and combined with geomorphic analysis to constrain the exhumation and uplift history of the Troodos ophiolite. Apatite (U-Th)/He ages vary with depth from ~ 22 Ma at the top of the Gabbro sequence to ~ 6 Ma at the bottom of the sequence. The deepest sample from a Gabbro pegmatitic dyke intruding the ultramafic sequence yielded an age of ~ 3 Ma. Thermal modeling of apatite (U-Th)/He and fission track data delineates Plio - Pleistocene initiation of rapid uplift and exhumation of the Troodos ophiolite. The estimated cumulative exhumation since its initiation is 2-3 km. No evidence was found for significant uplift of the central Troodos area prior to that time. The geomorphic analysis delineates a bull's-eye zone at the center of the Troodos Massif, where local relief and channel steepness index are highest. The boundaries of this zone roughly correspond with the Mt. Olympus mantle outcrop and suggest recent, differential uplift of this zone relative to its surroundings. The most likely mechanism, which could drive such a focused bull's-eye uplift pattern is hydration of ultramafic rocks (serpentinization) leading to a decrease in rock density and subsequent diapiric uplift of the serpentinized lithospheric mantle.
|Title of host publication
|American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2013
|Published - 2013