Quaternary E-W extension uplifts Kythira Island and segments the Hellenic Arc

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. This is version 1 of this Preprint.


Download Preprint


Gino de Gelder , David Fernández-Blanco , Nazik Ögretmen, Spyros Liakopoulos, Dimitris Papanastassiou, Costanza Faranda, Rolando Armijo, Robin Lacassin 


Several crustal and lithospheric mechanisms lead to deformation and vertical motion of the upper plate during subduction, but their relative contribution is often enigmatic. The Hellenic Forearc has been uplifting since Plio-Quaternary times, yet the spatiotemporal characteristics and sources of this uplift are poorly resolved. The remarkable geology and geomorphology of Kythira Island, in the southwestern Hellenic forearc, allow for a detailed tectonic reconstruction since the Late Miocene. We present a morphotectonic map of the island, together with new biostratigraphic dating and detailed analyses of active fault strikes and marine terraces. We find that the Tortonian-Pliocene stratigraphy in Kythira records ~100 m of subsidence, and a wide coastal rasa marks the ~2.8-2.4 Ma maximum transgression. Subsequent marine regression of ~300-400 m and minor E-W tilt are recorded in ~12 marine terrace levels at uplift rates of ~0.2-0.4 mm/yr. Guided by simple landscape evolution models, we interpret the coastal morphology as the result of initial stability or of slow, gradual sea-level drop since ~2.8-2.4 Ma, followed by faster uplift since ~1.5-0.7 Ma caused by roughly N-S normal faulting. Our findings on- and offshore emphasize that E-W extension is the dominant mode of regional active upper crustal deformation, and N-S normal faults accommodate most, if not all of the uplift on Kythira. We interpret the initiation of E-W extension as the result of a change in plate boundary conditions, in response to either propagation of the North Anatolian Fault, incipient collision with the African plate, mantle dynamics or a combination thereof.




Geology, Geomorphology, Paleontology, Sedimentology, Stratigraphy, Tectonics and Structure


sedimentary basins, Marine terraces, Normal faults, uplift, Hellenic Arc, Kythira


Published: 2022-01-25 03:39

Last Updated: 2022-01-25 08:39


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

Add a Comment

You must log in to post a comment.


There are no comments or no comments have been made public for this article.