Deformation of the upper-plate above subduction zones is controlled by long-term coupling between plates at lithospheric scale. In the case of the Hellenic subduction zone, at the SW boundary of the Anatolian extrusion system, we test the hypothesis that recent changes of plate motion due to propagation of the North Anatolian Fault since about 5 Ma have measurable imprint in the landscape and geological record. For example, the geology and geomorphology of the islands of Rhodes and Crete require progressive land subsidence below sea level during the Late Miocene - Early Pliocene followed by strong uplift and land emergence after the Pliocene. The same scenario, with variations, appears to apply to the entire Hellenic arc. Here, as elsewhere in the Mediterranean, the Messinian salinity crisis has left its clear imprint in the landscape, specifically erosion and aggradation surfaces (associated with the sea-level drop and subsequent sea-level rise). Those surfaces and associated sediments are reliable markers to measure vertical deformation of the crust at the large scale and can be identified and mapped onshore and offshore over the different islands and peninsulas throughout the arc from SW Anatolia to Peloponnesus. Other fundamental markers of the uplift are flights of terraces associated to Pleistocene glacio-eustatic variations, which are also observed throughout the arc.
Our project focus on (1) making a detailed study of uplifted features on land: quantitative description of key geological-geomorphological features (mainly from 3-4D mapping and analysis of uplifted marine basins and terraces), on (2) establishing links with the evolution of offshore basins, and (3) performing numerical mechanical modeling of the transient geodynamic processes at the scale of the whole Anatolia-Aegean system.
This project comes in the frame of the Marie-Curie International Training Network (ITN) ALErT, funded from October 2013 by the EU. ALErT (Anatolian pLateau climatE and Tectonic hazards) is a virtual campus in the fields of applied Earth sciences, natural hazard monitoring, knowledge transfer, and risk communication. ALErT combines the resources and training structures of universities, research departments, and affiliated industry partners across Europe. ALErT research targets are the tectonic and climatic boundary conditions in the regions along the densely populated margins of the Central Anatolian Plateau (CAP) and the associated natural hazards. In the framework of ALErT (Marie Curie Initial Training Network), two young researchers have been hired by IPGP (Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris): a PhD student (Gino De Gelder) and a 2 years Post-doc (David Fernández Blanco). They work under supervision of Robin Lacassin and Rolando Armijo.