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The Autochthonous Sedimentary Rocks

 The geological history of Cyprus from the Upper Cretaceous (67 Ma) is characterised by marine sedimentation in a sea, which becomes gradually shallower.  Sedimentation begins with the deposition of the Kannaviou Formation (bentonitic clays, volcaniclastics), followed by the deposition of the Moni and Kathikas Formations (mélange).  Carbonate sedimentation begins from the Palaeocene (65 Ma) with the deposition of the Lefkara Formation, which includes pelagic marls and chalks (Fig. 6) with characteristic white colour, with or without cherts.  The classic development of the Formation is represented by four members: Lower Marls; Chalks with layers of chert; massive Chalks (Fig. 7); and, Upper Marls.     

The Lefkara Formation is followed by the Pakhna Formation (Miocene age, 22 Ma), which consists mainly of yellowish marls and chalks.  The colour of the rocks, the presence of calcarenitic layers and the occasional development of conglomerates are characteristics that differentiate the Pakhna Formation from the Lefkara Formation.  Sedimentation in the Pakhna Formation began and terminated in a shallow-water environment with the development of reef limestone (Terra Member at the base and Koronia Member at the top of the Formation) (Fig. 8).   

 The deposition of the evaporites of the Kalavasos Formation followed in the Upper Miocene (Messinian, 6 Ma), as a result of the closure of the Mediterranean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean and the evaporation of its waters.  The Formation is composed of gypsum (Fig. 9) and gypsiferous marls that cover extensive areas.  Gypsum occurs in four types: sugary (crystalline); laminated (‘marble’); selenite (transparent with large twin crystals); and, alabaster (massive semitransparent).  With the reconnection of the Mediterranean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean, a new cycle of sedimentation began (Pliocene, 5 Ma).    

The Nicosia Formation was deposited first and contains siltstones (grey and yellow) and layers of calcarenites and marls (Fig. 10).  This is followed by the Athalassa Formation (Pliocene–Pleistocene, 2 Ma) consisting of calcarenites, which are interlayered with sandy marls. Finally, the Fanglomerate is a Pleistocene formation and includes clastic deposits (gravels, sand and silt).  The stratigraphic column of the Troodos Ophiolite and the autochthonous sedimentary cover is shown in Figure 11.


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