The emplacement of ophiolites by collision

Journal of Geophysical Research



Ophiolites, recognized in most of the world's orogenic belts, are generally interpreted to be oceanic crust and upper mantle (lithosphere) fragments that have been incorporated into continental margins at consuming plate boundaries. We suggest that the mechanism for ophiolite emplacement is the same in both the Alpine and Andean-type orogenes. In both geological settings, obduction of oceanic lithosphere onto the continental lithosphere is caused by the convergence of light, buoyant bodies such as oceanic plateaus, continental slivers, island arcs, or old hot spot traces. For example, the Troodos ophiolite complex, previously interpreted by some workers as resulting from continental collision, may have been emplaced by the collision of Cyprus with the Eratosthenes Plateau embedded in the oceanic eastern Mediterranean crust. On the other hand, the Upper Jurassic Coast Range Ophiolites of California, previously interpreted as resulting from typical oceanic subduction, may be the result of a continuous injection of thick nonsubductable packages of light, continentally derived sedimentary rocks, seamounts, and plateaus into the subduction zones. Many other ophiolite complexes may be similarly related to accreted terranes.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The emplacement of ophiolites by collision
Series title Journal of Geophysical Research
DOI 10.1029/JB087iB05p03861
Volume 87
Issue B5
Year Published 1982
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Description 7 p.
First page 3861
Last page 3867