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The Geological Evolution of Cyprus


The genesis of Cyprus took place through a series of tectonic episodes (Fig. 12).  It originated with the subduction of the African plate beneath the Eurasian plate and the formation of the Troodos Ophiolite (Upper Cretaceous, 90 Ma), continued with its detachment and sinistral (anticlockwise) rotation of 90° and the attachment to its southern and western part of older rocks ranging in age from 230 to 75 Ma (Mamonia Zone).  A period of relative tectonic inactivity followed, spanning in time from approximately 75 to 10 Ma, and was characterised by carbonate sedimentation and gradual shallowing of the sedimentary basin (Lefkara and Pakhna Formations).  At the end of Miocene (6 Ma), the Tethys Ocean was closed forming the evaporites (Kalavasos Formation).  The reconnection of the Mediterranean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean  and the rise of the sea level resulted in the deposition of new sediments, which are today represented by the marls and calcarenites of the Nicosia and Athalassa Formations.  An abrupt uplift of the area occurred during the Pleistocene, approximately 2 Ma (last tectonic episode), where the Troodos and Pentadaktylos Ranges were uplifted in elevations higher than today’s.  The abrupt uplift, combined with heavy rainfall, resulted in extensive erosion of the ranges, particularly that of Troodos, with the transportation of large quantities of erosion material (clastic deposits).  These clastic sediments were deposited in large valleys and in the Mesaoria region, forming the Pleistocene Fanglomerates.


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