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ABSTRACT: Lake Ohrid is a transboundary lake with approximately two thirds of its surface area belonging to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and about one third belonging to the Republic of Albania. With more than 210 endemic species described, the lake is a unique aquatic ecosystem and a hotspot of biodiversity. This importance was emphasized, when the lake was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. Though the lake is considered to be the oldest, continuously existing lake in Europe, the age and the origin of Lake Ohrid are not completely unravelled to date. Age estimations vary between one and ten million years and concentrate around two to five million years, and both marine and limnic origin is proposed. Extant sedimentary records from Lake Ohrid cover the last glacial/interglacial cycle and reveal that Lake Ohrid is a valuable archive of volcanic ash dispersal and climate change in the central northern Mediterranean region. These records, however, are too short to provide information about the age and origin of the lake and to unravel the mechanisms controlling the evolutionary development leading to the extraordinary high degree of endemism. Concurrent genetic brakes in several invertebrate groups indicate that major geological and/or environmental events must have shaped the evolutionary history of endemic faunal elements in Lake Ohrid. High-resolution hydroacoustic profiles taken between 2004 and 2008, and multichannel seismic (Mini-GI-Gun) studies in 2007 and 2008 demonstrate well the interplay between sedimentation and active tectonics and impressively prove the potential of Lake Ohrid for an ICDP drilling campaign. The maximal sediment thickness is c. 680 m in the central basin, where unconformities or erosional features are absent. Thus the complete history of the lake is likely recorded. A deep drilling in Lake Ohrid would help (i) to obtain more precise information about the age and origin of the lake, (ii) to unravel the seismotectonic history of the lake area including effects of major earthquakes and associated mass wasting events, (iii) to obtain a continuous record containing information on volcanic activities and climate changes in the central northern Mediterranean region, and (iv) to better understand the impact of major geological/environmental events on general evolutionary patterns and shaping an extraordinary degree of endemic biodiversity as a matter of global significance. For this purpose, five primary drill sites were selected based on the results obtained from sedimentological studies, tectonic mapping in the catchment and detailed seismic surveys conducted between 2004 and 2008. For the recovery of the up to c. 680 m long sediment sequences the GLAD800 shall be used. The drilling operation is planned to take place in 2011.
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ABSTRACT: The Middle Jurassic Mirdita Ophiolite in northern Albania is part of an ophiolite belt occurring between the Apulian and Pelagonian subcontinents in the Balkan Peninsula. The upper mantle and crustal units of the Mirdita Ophiolite show major changes in thickness, rock types, and chemical compositions from west to east as a result of its complex evolution in a suprasubduction zone (SSZ) environment. The ∼ 3–4-km-thick Western Mirdita Ophiolite (WMO) includes lherzolite–harzburgite, plagioclase–lherzolite, plagioclase–dunite in its upper mantle units and a plutonic complex composed of olivine gabbro, troctolite, ferrogabbro, and gabbro. These peridotites and gabbroic rocks are overlain directly by a ∼ 600-m-thick extrusive sequence containing basaltic pillow lavas and hyaloclastites. Sheeted dikes are rare in the WMO. The ∼ 12-km-thick Eastern Mirdita Ophiolite (EMO) includes tectonized harzburgite and dunite with extensive chromite deposits, as well as ultramafic cumulates including olivine clinopyroxenite, wehrlite, olivine websterite, and dunite forming a transitional Moho with the overlying lower crustal section. The plutonic rocks are made of pyroxenite, gabbronorite, gabbro, amphibole gabbro, diorite, quartz diorite, and plagiogranite. A well-developed sheeted dike complex has mutually intrusive relations with the underlying isotropic gabbros and plagiogranites and feeds into the overlying pillow lavas. Dike compositions change from older basalt to basaltic andesite, andesite, dacite, quartz diorite, to late-stage andesitic and boninitic dikes as constrained by crosscutting relations. The ∼ 1.1-km-thick extrusive sequence comprises basaltic and basaltic andesitic pillow lavas in the lower 700 m, and andesitic, dacitic and rhyodacitic massive sheet flows in the upper 400 m. Rare boninitic dikes and lavas occur as the youngest igneous products within the EMO. The basaltic and basaltic andesitic rocks of the WMO extrusive sequence display MORB affinities with Ti and Zr contents decreasing upsection (TiO2 = 3.5–0.5%, Zr = 300–50 ppm), while ɛNd(T) (+ 8 to + 6.5) varies little. These magmas were derived from partial melting of fertile MORB-type mantle. Fractional crystallization was important in the evolution of WMO magmas. The low Ti and HREE abundances and Cs and Ba enrichments in the uppermost basaltic andesites may indicate an increased subduction influence in the evolution of the late-stage WMO magmas. Basaltic andesites in the lower 700 m of the EMO volcanic sequence have lower TiO2 (∼ 0.5%) and Zr (∼ 50 ppm) contents but ɛNd(T) values (+ 7 to + 6.5) are similar to those of the WMO lavas. These rocks show variable enrichment in subduction-enriched incompatible elements (Cs, Ba, Th, U, LREE). The basaltic andesites through dacites and boninites within the upper 400 meters of EMO lavas show low TiO2 (∼ 0.8–0.3%) and ɛNd(T) (+ 6.5 to + 3.0). The mantle source of these rocks was variably enriched in Th by melts derived from subducted sediments as indicated by the large variations in Ba, K, and Pb contents. EMO boninitic dikes and lavas and some gabbroic intrusions with negative ɛNd (T) values (− 1.4 and − 4.0, respectively) suggest that these magmas were produced from partial melting of previously depleted, ultra-refractory mantle. The MORB to SSZ transition (from west to east and stratigraphically upwards in the Mirdita Ophiolite and the progression of the ɛNd(T) values from + 8.0 to − 4.0 towards the east resulted from an eastward shift in protoarc–forearc magmatism, keeping pace with slab rollback in this direction. The mantle flow above the retreating slab and in the arc-wedge corner played a major role in the evolution of the melting column, in which melt generation, aggregation/mixing and differentiation occurred at all levels of the sub-arc/forearc mantle. The SSZ Mirdita Ophiolite evolved during the intra-oceanic collapse and closure of the Pindos marginal basin, which had a protracted tectonic history involving seafloor spreading, protoarc rifting, and trench-continent collision.
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ABSTRACT: Neotethyan suprasubduction zone ophiolites represent anomalous oceanic crust developed in older host basins during trench rollback cycles and later entrapped in orogenic belts as a result first of trench-passive margin and then continent–continent collisions. The Middle Jurassic Mirdita zone ophiolites in northern Albania constitute a critical transition between the dominantly mid-ocean ridge basalt (MORB)-related Early Jurassic Alpine–Apennine ophiolites in the west and supra-subduction zone (SSZ)-generated Cretaceous Eastern Mediterranean ophiolites in the east. The previously recognized Western-and Eastern-type ophiolites in the Mirdita zone display significant differences in their internal structure and pseudostratigraphy, but their geochemical affinities are more gradational in contrast to the earlier claims that these ophiolites may have formed in different tectonic settings at different times. Crosscutting relations of dike intrusions in the Eastern-type ophiolites indicate changes in the chemistry of magmatic plumbing systems from basaltic to andesitic, dacitic, rhyodacitic, and boninitic compositions through time and from west to east. The chemostratigraphy of the extrusive sequence in the Western-type ophiolites shows that the MORB-like tholeiitic rocks display a significant decrease in their TiO 2 contents and Zr concentrations stratigraphically upward, although their ε Nd(T) values (+ 7.3 to + 6.9) show minor variation. The basaltic andesites in the upper 100 m of the Western extrusive sequence have island arc tholeiite (IAT)-like chemical characteristics (low-Ti, lower HFSE and HREE distribution, significant LREE depletion and higher Co, Ni, and Cr contents) that signify increased subduction influence in magma/melt evolution. The Eastern-type extrusive rocks range in composition from basaltic andesite to andesite, dacite and rhyodacite stratigraphically upward mimicking the temporal changes in the sheeted dikes, and they display constant Zr (∼ 50 ppm) but significantly varying Cr contents. The TiO 2 contents of their pyroxenes are b 0.3 wt.%, and their ε Nd(T) values decrease from + 6.5 in the lower parts to ∼ + 3.1 in the uppermost section of the sequence. Farther east in the extrusive sequence the youngest boninitic lavas and dikes have ε Nd(T) values between −1.4 and − 4.0. These chemical variations through time point to a mantle source increasingly contaminated by subduction-derived aqueous fluids and sediments, which were incorporated into the melt column beneath an extending protoarc–forearc region. Slab retreat and sinking played a major role in establishing asthenospheric upwelling and corner flow beneath the forearc mantle that in turn facilitated shallow partial melting of highly depleted harzburgitic peridotites, producing boninitic magmas. This chemical progression in the Mirdita zone ophiolite volcanism is similar to the temporal variations in magma chemistry documented from very young intraoceanic arcs built on recently generated backarc crust (i.e., South Sandwich arc). The Western and Eastern-type ophiolites in the Mirdita zone are therefore all subduction-related with the subduction zone influence in the lavas increasing stratigraphically upward as well as eastwards, suggesting a west-dipping slab geometry. The Mirdita zone and the Western Hellenic ophiolites in the Balkans were produced within a marginal basin that had evolved between the Apulian and Pelagonian microcontinents, and were subsequently emplaced onto their passive margins diachronously through different collisional processes.
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