Deformation of western Greece during Neogene clockwise rotation and collision with Apulia

  • D. J. J. van Hinsbergen
  • D. G. van der Meer
  • W. J. Zachariasse
  • J. E. Meulenkamp
Original Paper


Following an Early Miocene phase of N–S extension affecting the entire Hellenides, 50° clockwise rotation affected western Greece. Modern GPS analyses show rapid southwestward motion in southwestern Greece over subducting oceanic lithosphere and no motion in the northwest, where Greece collided with Apulia. We aim to identify the deformation history of western Greece associated with the rotation and the collision with Apulia. The timing of the various phases of deformation is constrained via detailed analysis of vertical motions based on paleobathymetry evolution of sedimentary sequences overlying the evolving structures. The results show that accompanying the onset of rotation, compression was re-established in western Greece in the early Langhian, around 15 Ma. Subsequently, western Greece collided with the Apulian platform, leading in the Late Miocene to a right-lateral strike-slip system running from the Aliakmon Fault Zone in northern Greece via the Kastaniotikos Fault and the Thesprotiko Shear Zone to the Kefallonia Fault Zone, offshore western Greece. NE–SW compression and uplift of the Ionian Islands was accompanied by NE–SW extension in southwestern Greece, associated with faster southwestward motion in the south than in the north. This led in the middle Pliocene (around 3.5 Ma) to collision without further shortening in northwestern Greece. From then onward, NW–SE to N–S extension east of Apulia, and gradually increasing influence of E–W extension in the south accommodated motion of the Hellenides around the Apulian platform. As a result, curved extensional basin systems evolved, including the Gulf of Amvrakikos-Sperchios Basin–Gulf of Evia system and the Gulf of Corinth–Saronic Gulf system.


Vertical motions Paleobathymetry Aegean Neogene Biostratigraphy 



This contribution to the geology of the western Aegean is dedicated to the late Professor Theodor Doutsos, who took the time and the effort to thoroughly review the Ph.D. thesis of DJJvH, despite his illness. We thank Dr. Frisch and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments. Rinus Wortel and Reinoud Vissers are acknowledged for the critical review of earlier versions of the manuscript and Cor Langereis (Paleomagnetic Laboratory “Fort Hoofddijk”) is thanked for comments on earlier versions of the manuscript and providing the data previously collected from Kefallonia and Zakynthos by Charon Duermeijer. Mark-Jan Sier, Suzanne Bijl and Allard van der Molen are thanked for their assistance during the sampling campaigns of 2001 and 2002. The sedimentary column of Akros Liakkas on Kefallonia was constructed by Erwin van der Laan and Frank Huiskamp. Erik Snel and Mariana Marunteanu are gratefully acknowledged for biostratigraphic dating by means of nannofossils. Gerrit van ‘t Veld and Geert Ittman are thanked for the preparation of the samples that were used for foraminiferal analysis. This project was conducted under the research programs of the Vening Meinesz Research School of Geodynamics (VMSG).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. J. J. van Hinsbergen
    • 1
    • 3
  • D. G. van der Meer
    • 1
  • W. J. Zachariasse
    • 2
  • J. E. Meulenkamp
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Vening Meinesz Research School of Geodynamics (VMSG), Faculty of Earth SciencesUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Institute for Paleoenvironments and Paleoclimate, Faculty of Earth Sciences Utrecht (IPPU)Utrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of GeologyUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterEngland

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