Origin of the sea of marmara as deduced from neogene to quaternary paleogeographic evolution of its frame

Naci Görür, M. Namik Cagatay, Mehmet Sakinc, Muhsin Sümengen, Kamil Sentürk, Cenk Yaltirak, Andrey Tchapalyga

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85 Citations (Scopus)


The Sea of Marmara Basin (SMB) is connected to the fully marine Mediterranean by the Dardanelles strait and to the brackish Black Sea by the Thracian Bosporus. This linkage to two different marine realms with contrasting water chemistry has been a prime control on the sedimentary history of the SMB, which in turn was controlled by its tectonics. Isolation from any of these realms resulted in drastic changes in its paleoceanographic conditions and made it a part either of the global ocean system or of a brackish-marine environment, depending on the realm from which the connection was severed. The SMB represents the inundated part of the northwestern Anatolian graben system that resulted from the interaction between the North Anatolian fault (NAF) zone and the present N-S extensional tectonic regime of the Aegean. The geologic history of this basin began during the late Serravallian when the NAF was initiated. The first inundation of the basin coincided in both time and space with this initiation. The invading sea was the Mediterranean, which stayed there for a short period and subsequently was replaced by the Paratethys during the late Miocene. Paratethyan conditions prevailed in the basin until the latest Pliocene, when the second flooding from the Mediterranean occurred through the Dardanelles. Owing to glacio-eustatic sea-level changes during the Pleistocene, Paratethyan/Black Sea and Mediterranean conditions alternated. In the last (Würm) glaciation, the SMB was completely isolated and turned into a euxinic lacustrine environment, similar to the Black Sea at that time. Following the Würm glaciation, the Mediterranean Sea broke its way once more into the SMB and filled it with salt water. When sea level in the basin rose above the Bosporous sill at 7.5 Ka B.P., the present dual flow regime was established.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-352
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Geology Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1997


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