Tectonic setting for ophiolite obduction in Oman.

Journal of Geophysical Research


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The Samail ophiolite is part of an elongate belt in the Middle East that forms an integral part of the Alpine mountain chains that make up the N boundary of the Arabian-African plate. The Samail ophiolite represents a portion of the Tethyan ocean crust formed at a spreading center of Middle Cretaceous age (Cenomanian). During the Cretaceous spreading of the Tethyan Sea, Gondwana Land continued its dispersal, and the Arabian-African plate drifted northward about 10o. These events, combined with the opposite rotation of Eurasia and Africa, initiated the closing of the Tethyan during the Late Cretaceous. At the early stages of closure, downwarping of the Arabian continental margin, combined with the compressional forces of closure from the Eurasian plate, initiated obduction of the Tethyan oceanic crust along preexisting transform faults and still-hot oceanic crust was detached along oblique NE dipping thrust faults. Plate configurations combined with palinspastic reconstructions show that subduction and attendant large-scale island arc volcanism did not commence until after the Tethyan sea began to close and the Samail ophiolite was emplaced southward across the Arabian continental margin. The Samail ophiolite nappe now rests upon a melange consisting mainly of pelagic sediments, volcanics and detached fragments of the basal amphibolites, which in turn rest on autochthonous shelf carbonates of the Arabian platform. Following emplacement (Eocene) of the Samail ophiolite, the Tethyan oceanic crust began northward subduction, and active arc volcanism started just N of the present Jaz Murian depression in Iran.-Author

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Tectonic setting for ophiolite obduction in Oman.
Series title Journal of Geophysical Research
Volume 86
Issue B4
Year Published 1981
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Journal of Geophysical Research
First page 2497
Last page 2508
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