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At the crossroads of the Lesser Caucasus and the Eastern Pontides: Late Cretaceous to early Eocene magmatic and geodynamic evolution of the Bolnisi district, Georgia

Published inLithos, vol. 378-379, no. 105872, 105872
Publication date2020

The Bolnisi district is a distinct tectonic zone of the Lesser Caucasus, which is considered to represent the eastern extremity of the Turkish Eastern Pontides. Late Cretaceous, low-K, calc-alkaline to high-K rhyolite of the Mashavera and Gasandami Suites is the predominant rock type of the district, and is accompanied by subsidiary dacite, and rare high-alumina basalt and trachyandesite of the Tandzia Suite. The Mashavera and Gasandami rhyolite and dacite have yielded U-Pb LA-ICP-MS and TIMS zircon ages between 87.14 ± 0.16 and 81.64 ± 0.94 Ma, which are in line with the Coniacan-Santonian ages of radiolarian fauna of the Mashavera Suite. The felsic rocks of the Mashavera and Gasandami Suites were deposited during a ~6.6 m.y.-long silicic magmatic flare-up event, which together with the Tandzia Suite mafic rocks, documents Late Cretaceous bimodal magmatism in an extensional tectonic setting. Trace element data indicate that high Y-Zr, low- to high-silica rhyolite and dacite, and low Y-Zr high-silica rhyolite have been erupted, respectively, from coeval deep and shallow crustal reservoirs. The rocks of the bimodal magmatic event are overlain by high-K volcanic rocks of the Campanian Shorsholeti Suite, which have been erupted during slab roll-back and steepening, from magmas produced by deep melting of a metasomatised mantle. Eocene postcollisional felsic intrusions crosscut the Late Cretaceous rock. The Coniacian to early Campanian bimodal magmatism, and the subsequent high-K magmatism of the Bolnisi district are contemporaneous and share geochemical characteristics with the Late Cretaceous magmatism of the Eastern Pontides. It documents the existence of a Late Cretaceous regional silicic magmatic province, and subsequent high-K magmatism during slab steepening. This regional magmatic evolution coincided with the opening of the Black Sea and the Adjara-Trialeti basins. This evolution was coeval with the wanning stages of northern Neotethyan subduction, after a ~40 m.y.-long magmatic lull along the southern Eurasian convergent margin. Early Eocene adakite-like magmatism affected both the Bolnisi district and the Eastern Pontides, demonstrating a common postcollisional magmatic evolution.

  • Northern Neotethys
  • Lesser Caucasus
  • Silicic magmatic flare-up
  • Bimodal and high-K magmatism
  • Eastern Pontides
  • Swiss National Science Foundation - 200020-121510, 200020-138130 et 200020-155928
  • Swiss National Science Foundation - SCOPES IB7620-118901 et IZ73Z0-128324
Citation (ISO format)
MORITZ, Robert et al. At the crossroads of the Lesser Caucasus and the Eastern Pontides: Late Cretaceous to early Eocene magmatic and geodynamic evolution of the Bolnisi district, Georgia. In: Lithos, 2020, vol. 378-379, n° 105872, p. 105872. doi: 10.1016/j.lithos.2020.105872
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0024-4937

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