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Geomorphological evolutionary history of the Melendiz River Valley, Cappadocia, Turkey

Abstract

The Melendiz River is located at the east of Tuz Gölü Fault Zone in western Cappadocia. In the central part of Melendiz River Valley, Ihlara Canyon attracts many tourists due to its landscape, cultural and archaeological values. The Melendiz Valley also encompasses geological and geomorphological features that exemplify the evolutionary history of western Cappadocia. In this study, the late Miocene–Quaternary geomorphological evolution of the Melendiz River Valley was investigated. The results indicate that a fluvial sedimentary sequence with ignimbrite intercalation was deposited during the late Miocene and early Pliocene. This was unconformably overlain by lacustrine limestone (Kışladağ Formation) of Pliocene age. The Pliocene lake regressed westward because of the changes in the tectonic regime and geomorphological processes during the late Pliocene (~ 3 Ma ago) and the initial Melendiz River developed on the lake bottom. During the Quaternary the Melendiz River developed under the control of both the neotectonic regime and the climate. This development provoked a 160-m-deep incision into the Pliocene sediments and the early Pliocene–Miocene ignimbrites below, giving birth to the Ihlara Canyon. In the proper valley of the Melendiz River, six strath terraces and Holocene flood plain record the incision process.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Attila Çiner, Catherine Kuzucuoğlu and anonymous reviewers for their helpful and constructive remarks that greatly improved the manuscript.

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Doğan, U., Koçyiğit, A. & Yılmaz, E. Geomorphological evolutionary history of the Melendiz River Valley, Cappadocia, Turkey. Med. Geosc. Rev. 1, 203–222 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42990-019-00012-6

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Keywords

  • Tuz Gölü Fault Zone
  • Melendiz River
  • Ihlara Canyon
  • River incision
  • Cappadocia