Source to sink: The development of the latest Messinian to Pliocene-Quaternary Cilicia and Adana Basins and their linkages with the onland Mut Basin, eastern Mediterranean
Multi-channel seismic reflection profiles show that there is a thick northeast-southwest elongated lobe of uppermost Messinian and Pliocene-Quaternary sediments across the Cilicia Basin extending into the onland Adana Basin. Three prominent seismic markers divide this succession into three subunits. Detailed isopach maps constructed using a dense grid of depth-converted seismic reflection profiles show that these three subunits display distinctive sediment distribution patterns that can be confidently related to eastward deposition from the Göksu River to the west. Subsidence rates calculated at 95 locations within the Cilicia and Adana basins using OSXBackstrip show that the central axis of the Cilicia-Adana basin complex is subsiding at a rate of ~ 10-20 mm per year. The subsidence rates sharply decrease both toward the Misis-Kyrenia Fault zone in the south and east and the Turkish continental margin in the west and north to values of 0.10-0.15 mm per year. Subsidence rates were 0.10-0.20 mm per year during the deposition of the middle and upper Pliocene, but decreased to ~ 0.05 mm per year. Sedimentation rates calculated for the three subunits compared to the present-day rate of sedimentation by the Göksu River clearly show that sedimentation in the early Pliocene interval was significantly greater than it is today. The data show that the dramatic subsidence of the Cilicia Basin (~ 2000 m since the Messinian) occurred in synchroneity with the rise of the Mut Basin nestled over the Central Taurus Mountains. The adjacency of the Mut and Cilicia basins suggests that there must be a common local cause for the uplift of the Mut Basin and the subsidence of the Cilicia Basin. We believe that the rise of the Central Taurus Mountains represents an additional load on the underlying asthenosphere, the isostatic response of which would have caused the subsidence in the Cilicia Basin.
Source to sink: The development of the latest Messinian to
Pliocene–Quaternary Cilicia and Adana Basins and their
linkages with the onland Mut Basin, eastern Mediterranean
, A.E. Aksu
Department of Earth Sciences, Centre for Earth Resources Research, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador A1B 3X5, Canada
Department of Geological Engineering, Faculty of Mines, Istanbul Technical University, Ayazağa, Istanbul 34426, Turkey
Institute of Marine Sciences and Technology, Dokuz Eylül University, Haydar Aliyev Caddesi No: 10, İnciraltı,İzmir 35340, Turkey
Received 18 April 2013
Received in revised form 3 November 2013
Accepted 14 January 2014
Available online xxxx
Multi-channel seismic reﬂectionproﬁles show that there is a thick northeast–southwestelongated lobe of upper-
most Messinian and Pliocene–Quaternary sediments across the Cilicia Basin extending into the onland Adana
Basin. Three prominent seismic markers divide this succession into three subunits. Detailed isopach maps con-
structed using a dense grid of depth-converted seismic reﬂection proﬁles show that thesethree subunits display
distinctive sediment distribution patterns that can be conﬁdently related to eastward deposition from the Göksu
River to the west. Subsidence rates calculated at 95 locations within the Cilicia and Adana Basins using
OSXBackstrip show that the central axis of the Cilicia–Adana Basin complex is subsiding at a rate of ~10–
20 mm per year. The subsidence rates sharply decrease both toward the Misis–Kyrenia Fault zone in the south
and east and the Turkish continental margin in the west and north to values of 0.10–0.15 mm per year. Subsi-
dence rates were 0.10–0.20 mm per year during the deposition of the middle and upper Pliocene, but decreased
to ~0.05 mm per year.
Sedimentation rates calculated for the three subunits compared to the present-day rate of sedimentation by the
Göksu River clearly show that sedimentation in the early Pliocene interval was signiﬁcantly greater than it is
today. The data show that the dramatic subsidence of the Cilicia Basin (~2000 m since the Messinian) occurred
in synchroneity with the rise of the Mut Basin nestled over the Central Taurus Mountains. The adjacency of the
Mut and Cilicia Basins suggests that there must be a common local cause for the uplift of the Mut Basin and
the subsidence of the Cilicia Basin. We believe thatthe rise of the Central Taurus Mountains represents an addi-
tional load on the underlying asthenosphere, the isostatic response of which would have caused the subsidence
in the Cilicia Basin.
© 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
The Cilicia–Adana Basin complex is an arcuate and elongate
depocentre nestled between the Misis–Kyrenia Fault zone in the south
and southeast, and the Taurus Mountains of southern Turkey in the
north and northwest (Fig. 1). In this broader context, it can be viewed
as an intramontane basin, presently situated in a forearc setting, north
of the Florence Rise and Cyprus Arc, which formthe convergent bound-
ary between the African and Aegean–Anatolian Plates. In the west, the
basin complex is separated from theAntalya Basin by the N–S-trending
Anamur–Kormakiti zone (Fig. 1;Anastasakis and Kelling, 1991). The Ci-
licia Basin can be divided into an E–W-trending deeper Outer Cilicia
Basin in the west and a NE–SW-trending shallower Inner Cilicia Basin
in the northeast. The Adana Basin in the northeast represents the
onshore extension of the marine Cilicia Basin. Four rivers (Seyhan,
Ceyhan, Tarsus and Göksu) provide most of the siliciclastic input into
the Cilicia–Adana Basin complex; the Seyhan, Ceyhan and Tarsus Rivers
form a major deltaic complex that occupies the Adana Basin (Fig. 2;
Aksu et al., 2005a,b; Bridge et al., 2005; Burton-Ferguson et al., 2005;
Hall et al., 2005a).
In the northeast Mediterranean Sea, themorphology of the seaﬂoor
is largely controlled by major tectonic features (e.g., the Misis–Kyrenia
Fault zone, Cyprus Arc) and by sediment input from large rivers that
ﬂow into the region. In the Cilicia Basin the continental shelf is ≤5km
wide, but widens considerably to N45 km off the mouths of present-
day deltas (Figs. 1, 2). A northeast–southwest-trending relatively shal-
low zone can be traced from the northeastern tip of Cyprus toward
the Misis Mountains of southern Turkey, physiographically dividing
the Cilicia Basin in the northwest from the Latakia Basin in the south-
east. The water depth gradually increases from the Inner to the Outer
Cilicia Basin, reaching N1000 m in the central Outer Cilicia Basin. West
Tectonophysics xxx (2014) xxx–xxx
⁎Corresponding author. Fax: +1 709 864 2589.
E-mail address: email@example.com (A.E. Aksu).
TECTO-126181; No of Pages 21
0040-1951/$ –see front matter © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/tecto
Please cite this article as: Walsh-Kennedy, S., et al., Source to sink: The development of the latest Messinian to Pliocene–Quaternary Cilicia and
Adana Basins and their linkages with the..., Tectonophysics (2014), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tecto.2014.01.019
Fig. 1. Morphological map of the eastern Mediterranean region, compiled from GeoMapApp (Ryan et al., 2009). Also shown is the simpliﬁed tectonic map of the region compiled from
Dewey et al. (1986),Hancock and Barka (1980),andŞengör et al. (1985), and the locations of major Neogene Basins. Half arrows indicate transform/strike-slip faults.
Fig. 2. Detailed bathymetry of the Cilicia Basin and environs from the International Bathymetric Chart of the Mediterranean (Intergovernmental OceanographicCommission, 1981). Also
shown are the major rivers and their deltas.
2S. Walsh-Kennedy et al. / Tectonophysics xxx (2014) xxx–xxx
Please cite this article as: Walsh-Kennedy, S., et al., Source to sink: The development of the latest Messinian to Pliocene–Quaternary Cilicia and
Adana Basins and their linkages with the..., Tectonophysics (2014), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tecto.2014.01.019
of the Anamur–Kormakiti zone the water depth sharply increases to
N2500 m into the Antalya Basin (Figs. 1, 2).
The scientiﬁc objectives of this paper are: (a) to describe the Plio-
cene–Quaternary sedimentary and stratigraphic architecture of the Cili-
cia and Adana Basins; (b) to determine the volume of sediments
contained in the Cilicia Basin andrelate this to the volume of sediments
supplied by the Göksu River, associated with the erosion of the Mut
Basin caused by the post-Miocene rise of the Central Taurus Mountains;
(c) to determine the amount and rate(s) of Pliocene–Quaternary subsi-
dence in theCilicia Basin and compare and contrast this subsidence with
the concomitant uplift of the Mut Basin; and (d) to evaluate, in a larger
tectonic context, the cause(s) of rapid subsidence in the Cilicia and
Adana Basins during the Plio cene–Quaternary. The paper is naturally di-
vided into two sections: the initial sectionsdescribe the tectonic frame-
work of the Cilicia and Adana Basin; the latter sections evaluate the
volumetrics of the Pliocene–Quaternary successions and compare and
contrast these with the volumetrics of the Mut Basin and the Göksu
2. Data acquisition and methods
The principal data used in this paper consist of (a) ~ 5000 km of
multi-channel seismic reﬂection proﬁles collected in 1991, 1992 and
2008, using the Memorial University of Newfoundland equipment on
RV Koca Piri Reis of the Institute of Marine Sciences and Technology
(IMST) and the Seismic Laboratory (SeisLab) facilities of IMST, Dokuz
Eylül University, (b) ~ 2000 km of multi-channel seismic reﬂection
proﬁles provided by the Turkish Petroleum Corporation, (c) ~1500 km
of single-channel seismic reﬂection proﬁles collected in 1988 and
1990 using the RV Koca Piri Reis, and (d) biostratigraphic and
lithostratigraphic data from several onshore and offshore exploration
wells, provided by the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (Fig. 3). The
acoustic source for the MUN multichannel data consisted of a
Halliburton sleeve gun array, employing gun sizes of 40, 20 and
(656, 328 and 164 cm
), with the total volume varying dur-
ing maintenance cycling of the guns, but typically 200 inch
) in 1991 and 2008 and 90–120 inch
1992. Shots were ﬁred every 25 m, and reﬂections were detected by
the full 48 channels in 1991, the nearest 12 channels of a 48 × 12.5 m
multi-channel streamer in 1992 and by a 96 × 6.25 m multi-channel
streamer in 2008. The resultant 12-fold (1991 and 2008) and 3-fold
(1992) data were recorded digitally for 3 s (with delay dependent on
water depth) at a 1 ms sample rate, using a Texas Instruments DFS
V instrument in 1991 and 1992 and a Hydroscience Technology
NTRS2 seismograph in 2008. The multichannel data were processed
at Memorial University of Newfoundland, with automatic gain control,
short-gap deconvolution, velocity analysis, normal move-out correction,
stack, ﬁlter (typically 50–200 Hz bandpass), Kirchhoff time migration,
and adjacent trace sum. Despite the relatively low source volume and
low fold, reﬂections are imaged to 3 s two-way time (twt) below the
The velocity in the sediments increases from ~ 1500 m s
sediment–water interface to ~2100–2300 m s
at the base of this suc-
cession, immediately above the M-reﬂector (see below). The two-way
time–interval velocity functions are derived from the velocity analysis
stage of the seismic data processing, and are used for the time-to-
depth conversion of the seismic reﬂection proﬁles. Velocity analysis lo-
cations with well-deﬁned semblance bulls-eyes were chosen at regions
in the seismic reﬂection proﬁles where the reﬂectors lie nearly horizon-
tal to ensure that no velocity anomalies resulting from dipping
Fig. 3. Location map showing the position of seismic reﬂection proﬁles. Seismic proﬁles shown as thick lines A–G are illustrated in Figs. 12–18.
3S. Walsh-Kennedy et al. / Tectonophysics xxx (2014) xxx–xxx
Please cite this article as: Walsh-Kennedy, S., et al., Source to sink: The development of the latest Messinian to Pliocene–Quaternary Cilicia and
Adana Basins and their linkages with the..., Tectonophysics (2014), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tecto.2014.01.019
reﬂectors are included in the analysis. Because interval velocities for
different formations vary slightly as a function of depth across the
basin, velocity proﬁles were chosen from several locations to ensure
the highest degree of accuracy. Velocities are well constrained by the
strong and consistent reﬂectivity in the Pliocene and Quaternary,
which include the key horizons used in this study for subsidence
calculations. A table that includes the X- and Y-coordinates at each
location as well as the two-way times and their corresponding
interval velocities was generated. This table was imported into the
time–depth conversion application TDExpress of Halliburton's
Landmark™suite, where velocity information is used to generate a
3D velocity ﬁeld, whereby the speciﬁed time–velocity function is in-
terpolate d between each location usingthe marker horizons (discussed
below) to guide the function along the geological features of the
In the following text, duration of time is given as m.y. (millions of
years), but ages are reported as Ma (millions of years before present)
to avoid ambiguity, as also recommended in the North American
3. Seismic stratigraphy and chronology
Four stratigraphic units, numbered from the top downward, are
identiﬁed in the seismic reﬂection proﬁles (Units 1–4; Fig. 4). The ages
of these units are established by ties with exploration wells in the
Inner Cilicia and Adana Basins (Turkish Petroleum Corporation, unpub-
lished data; Uffenorde et al., 1990), and where possible are tentatively
correlated with lithostratigraphic units exposed onland (Fig. 4).
3.1. Unit 1: uppermost Messinian–Quaternary
Unit 1 is a regularly reﬂective package of acoustically strong and
continuous reﬂectors that can be traced throughout the study area
(Fig. 4). Data from exploration wells show that Unit 1 is composed
of siliciclastic successions of predominantly Pliocene–Quaternary
age. In the Adana Basin, Unit 1 also includes the recent alluvium
and caliche. The unit is correlated with the Kuranşa and Handere for-
mations of the Adana Basin (Fig. 4;Yalçın and Görür, 1984). Al-
though once thought to be entirely of early Pliocene age, the ﬂuvial
sandstones, conglomerates and gypsum beds of the Handere
Formation have been shown to have a latest Messinian age
(~5.56–5.33 Ma; Cipollari et al., 2013a,b; Cosentino et al., 2013;
Faranda et al., 2013), forming part of the widespread Lago Mare fa-
the Mediterranean region when the entire basin was evaporated to
near dryness. The base of seismic Unit 1 is marked by a strong and
distinctive reﬂector, identiﬁed in the eastern Mediterranean as the
M-reﬂector. In seismic proﬁles, the M-reﬂector is laterally traceable
into the Messinian Erosional Surface (MES) which developed around
basin margins during the Messinian lowstand, beginning at ~ 5.96 Ma
(Cosentino et al., 2013). Both the MES and the M-reﬂector began to
be transgressed and buried by Lago Mare deposits at ~5.59 Ma,
although Lago Mare facies are not present everywhere and in those
cases the hiatus across the MES unconformity is greater, extending
to the base of the Pliocene when marine waters reﬁlled the Mediter-
ranean basin (Zanclean ﬂooding event at 5.33 Ma; Cosentino et al.,
2013). Two prominent, laterally continuous markers (i.e., the A-
and P-reﬂectors) are present within seismic Unit 1. The A-reﬂector
is correlated with the early-late Pliocene boundary at 3.6 Ma
and the P-reﬂectorisalowerQuaternarymarkerdatedto1.7Ma
(Turkish Petroleum Corporation, unpublished well data). The A-
and P-reﬂectors divide Unit 1 into three sub-units: 1C between the
M- and A-reﬂectors, 1B between the A- and P-reﬂectors and 1A be-
tween the P-reﬂector and the seabed.
3.2. Unit 2: Miocene (Messinian)
Unit 2 is generally characterized by a low reﬂectivity package with
weak and often discontinuous reﬂections (Fig. 4). It is readily distin-
guished by its strongly reﬂective top (i.e., the M-reﬂector) and its less
reﬂective and more discontinuous base, the N-reﬂector. Exploration
wells in the Inner Cilicia Basin (Yalçın and Görür, 1984)showthat
Unit 2 is composed predominantly of halite alternating with lesser
quantities of anhydrite and limestone, and is correlated with the
Messinian Lower Evaporites (Cosentino et al., 2013; Faranda et al.,
2013; Hsü et al., 1973, 1978; Mulder, 1973). The Lower Evaporites
were deposited from ~5.96–5.59 Ma, coeval in part with the develop-
ment of the MES along basin margins. For this reason, it is believed
Fig. 4. Stratigraphy of the Adana and CiliciaBasins showing the correlations between seismicstratigraphic unitsand the sedimentary successionson land, compiled from Yalçın and Görür
(1984),Kozlu (1987),Yılmaz et al. (1988) and Gökçen et al. (1988). Stratigraphy of the Seyhan well is from Turkish Petroleum Corporation.
4S. Walsh-Kennedy et al. / Tectonophysics xxx (2014) xxx–xxx
that along basin margins the N- and M-reﬂectors must converge and
merge into the MES. Unit 2 is correlated with the Haymanseki Forma-
tion in the Adana and Cilicia Basins (Fig. 4).
3.3. Unit 3: Miocene (pre-Messinian)
Unit 3 underlies the M-reﬂector and the Messinian evaporites of
Unit 2 where theyare present (Fig. 4). It is subdivided into two subunits.
The upper subunit (Unit 3A) is characterized by lower frequency rhyth-
mic reﬂections, showing good lateral continuity (Aksu et al., 2005a).
Data from the exploration wells show that Unit 3A is composed of
ﬂuvio-deltaic successions of mainly Tortonian age (Uffenorde et al.,
1990). It is correlated with the Kuzgun Formation of the Adana and
Inner Cilicia Basins and the Kızıldere Formation of the Andirin Block
and the Misis Mountains (Fig. 4). Unit 3B consists of high frequency,
continuous, rhythmic reﬂectors (Aksu et al., 2005a). Well data show
that Unit 3B is mainly composed of middle Miocene turbidite succes-
sions. At its base, this unit may include the Aquitanian to Serravallian
KaraisalıFormation, identiﬁed in exploration wells in the Adana Basin
(Burton-Ferguson et al., 2005; YalçınandGörür,1984) and in the Isken-
derun and Inner Latakia Basins (Uffenorde et al., 1990). Unit 3 is corre-
lated with the turbidite successions of the Güvenç and Cingöz
formations (Fig. 4), which constitute the main part of mega-
sequence 2 of Williams et al. (1995). It is further correlated with
the Karataş/Isalı-Aslantaşformations of the Misis Mountains
(Kelling et al., 1987).
3.4. Unit 4: Mesozoic–Oligocene
Unit 4 constitutes the acoustic basement in the study area and con-
sists of a diverse collection of regional lithostratigraphic units ranging in
age from the Early Mesozoic to Late Oligocene (Fig. 4). On the west
ﬂanks of the Misis Mountains, extending southward into the Inner Cili-
cia Basin, an acoustically transparent unit occurs directly below a very
thin Unit 1 (Aksu et al., 2005a). This unit may include the olistostromal
sequence of the basal Miocene IsalıFormation (Kelling et al., 1987), and
the ophiolitic Andirin Complex (Karig and Kozlu, 1990).
4. Stratigraphic and structural architecture of the Cilicia–Adana
The Cilicia–Adana Basin complex deﬁnes a northwest-facing, arcu-
ate, open V-shaped structure in the northeastern Mediterranean Sea.
Two prominent fault zones form the basin-bounding structural ele-
ments of the basin complex: the Misis–Kyrenia Fault zone in the south
and southeast and the Kozan Fault zone in the northwest (Figs. 1, 5).
The Misis–Kyrenia Fault zone extends from the Misis Mountains of
southern Turkey across the Misis–Kyrenia ridge into the Kyrenia
Range of northern Cyprus. The Kozan Fault zone extends from the
Kahramanmaraştriple junction westward as an arcuate belt deﬁning
the northwestern margin of the Adana and Inner Cilicia Basins (Fig. 1).
In addition to these basin-bounding fault zones, the Cilicia–Adana
Basin complex includes two morpho-tectonic domains: the east–west-
Fig. 5. Tectonic map of the Cilicia and Adana Basinsshowing the basin-bounding Misis–Kyrenia andKozan fault zones. Filledrectangles and ﬁlled triangles are ticksplaced on the hanging
walls of normaland thrust/reverse faults, respectively. Salt structures have a mauveﬁll. Half arrows indicate transform/strike-slip faults. Superﬁcial faults are discussed in text. Yellow ﬁll
indicates onland Pliocene–Quaternary sediments. (For interpretation of the references to color in this ﬁgure legend, the reader is referred to the web version of this article.)
5S. Walsh-Kennedy et al. / Tectonophysics xxx (2014) xxx–xxx
trending Outer Cilicia Basin and the northeast–southwest-trending
Inner Cilicia Basin and its onland extension the Adana Basin (Fig. 5).
5. Sedimentary framework of the Cilicia and Adana Basins
5.1. Major rivers in the northeastern Mediterranean region
There are four major rivers (Göksu, Tarsus, Seyhan and Ceyhan riv-
ers) and several ephemeral rivers that drain into the Inner Cilicia
Basin (Figs. 2, 6). A ﬁfth river, the Asi River, drains into the Inner Latakia
Basin, but has no inﬂuence on the sediment budget of the Cilicia Basin
because its discharge products have been partially separated from the
Inner Cilicia Basin by the Misis–Kyrenia high during the majority of
the Pliocene–Quaternary (Aksu et al., 2005a;Figs. 1, 2). Drainage basin
areas, water and sediment discharges are summarised in Table 1 and
Fig. 6. The four major rivers are the main suppliers of siliciclastic sedi-
ments into the Adana, Cilicia, Latakia and Iskenderun Basins, with a
combined annual sediment yield of 13,315 × 10
t(Figs. 2, 6,EIE,
1984). The middle reaches of Tarsus, Seyhan and Ceyhan rivers were
dammed between 1956 and 1972; therefore the sediment discharge
rates in Table 1 should be regarded as minima.
Three of these rivers (i.e., Tarsus, Seyhan and Ceyhan Rivers) form a
major delta complex that occupies the present-day Adana Basin, with
their proximal deltaic and distal prodeltaic successions extending into
the Inner Cilicia Basin (Aksu et al., 2005a). The Göksu River forms a
prominent, although smaller delta along the western margin of the
Inner Cilicia Basin, near the transition between the Inner and Outer Cili-
cia Basins. The deltaic and prodeltaic sediments originating from the
Seyhan, Ceyhan, Tarsus and Göksu Rivers form the bulk of the upper-
most Messinian to Quaternary succession of Unit 1.
5.2. Paleo-shoreline position in the northeastern Mediterranean Sea
Several factors control the position of the shoreline in the northeast-
ern Mediterranean Sea, including (i) local and regional tectonic move-
ments, (ii) variations in sealevel and (iii) the mode and rate of
sedimentation ﬁlling the accommodation space created by the interplay
between tectonic movements and sealevel variations. This paper re-
stricts its analysis to the time period after the base-Pliocene Zanclean
ﬂooding event. Sealevel height in the Cilicia Basin after this event corre-
sponds to the elevation of global sealevel. Because any discussion
concerning “source-to-sink”relationships in the onland Mut and
Adana Basins and the marine Cilicia Basin will inevitably involve the
past position of the shoreline, these three factors are brieﬂyelaborated
Recent studies in south-central Turkey (e.g., Bassant et al., 2005;
Cosentino et al., 2012; Erişet al., 2005; Radeff et al., 2011; Şafak et al.,
2005; Schildgen et al., 2012a) document that during the Miocene an an-
cestral marine basin occupied large portions of the northeastern Medi-
terranean area (Fig. 7). Late Miocene to Pliocene–Quaternary tectonic
activity partitioned this ancestral basin into several quasi-isolated
depocentres, including the Cilicia, Adana, Mut, Iskenderun, Latakia and
Mesaoria Basins (Fig. 7). This tectonic phase must have started in the
late Miocene, because the geological histories of the Mut and Adana Ba-
sins are very similar in the Oligocene to middle Miocene, but show
major differentiations in the Tortonian (e.g., Cosentino et al., 2012;
Radeff et al., 2011). For example, after the late Tortonian, subsidence
and marinedeposition ended in theMut Basin when the region became
emergent (e.g., Bassant et al., 2005; Cosentino et al., 2012; Erişet al.,
2005). During this late Miocene uplift, the former marine Mut Basin
was incorporated into the Tauride Orogen and became perched atop
the evolving Taurus Mountains, so that rocks of the Mut Basin are now
N2000 m above present-day sealevel (Bassant et al., 2005; Cosentino
et al., 2012; Erişet al., 2005; Radeff et al., 2011; Şafak et al., 2005;
Schildgen et al., 2012a). In the meantime, the Adana Basin continued
to subside, remaining marine for the majority of the Pliocene–Quaternary
(Cosentino et al., 2012; Radeff et al., 2011), becoming progressively ﬁlled
with the prograded deltaic successions sourced from the Seyhan, Ceyhan
and Tarsus Rivers during the later portion of the Pliocene–Quaternary
(Burton-Ferguson et al., 2005). Recent studies indicate that the rate of
subsidence in the Adana Basin increased notably during the late
Messinian at about 5.6 Ma as well as at about 5.45 Ma (Cosentino
et al., 2012; Radeff et al., 2011) when N1000 m-thick ﬂuvial sediments
Fig. 6. Discharges as the monthly averages (O = October, S = September) for the Seyhan,
Ceyhan, Göksu and Tarsus rivers (top) and comparison between the Göksu River and the
small Lamas,Alata and Efrenk rivulets (bottom). Data for the large riversfrom EIE (1984),
and for the smaller rivulets from EIE (2000). Location of therivers are shown in Fig. 2.
Present-day statistics for the Göksu Seyhan, Ceyhan and Tarsus rivers.
From EIE (1982, 1984).
River Drain basin area (km
) Water discharge (m
) Suspended sediment discharge (kg s
) Annual sediment yield (10
Göksu 10,065 126 80.5 2539
Seyhan 19,352 274 164.4 5185
Ceyhan 20,466 303 173.2 5462
Tarsus 1426 42 4.1 129
6S. Walsh-Kennedy et al. / Tectonophysics xxx (2014) xxx–xxx
of the Handere Formation were deposited. During the entire interval
from the Messinian to the Recent, the Cilicia Basin continued to subside,
creating the deep depocentre that is observed today (e.g., Aksu et al.,
Global sealevel is another critical factor controlling the position of
the shoreline. Oxygen isotopic studies of benthic foraminifera show
that global δ
O values were considerably depleted duringthe early Pli-
ocene (Karner et al., 2002). Because there is a strong positive relation-
ship between the global ice volume and the global δ
O record, with
intervals of depleted δ
O values corresponding to periods of reduced
global ice volume (e.g., Lisiecki and Raymo, 2005), the early Pliocene
O values suggest considerably higher global sealevel (e.g.,
Dwyer and Chandler, 2009). In fact, the sealevel during the Pliocene
ranged from 10 to 40 m above the present-day sealevel, with an average
value of +25 m being used for the mid-Pliocene warm interval in vari-
ous numerical climate models and simulations (e.g., Dwyer and
Chandler, 2009; Raymo et al., 2011).
The inﬁlling of the accommodation space created by the tectonic
subsidence and/or sealevel rise (actual or relative) is another important
factor which deﬁnes the position of the coastline. During the Pliocene–
Quaternary, the Seyhan, Ceyhan, Tarsus and Göksu Rivers constructed
major deltas that form the bulk of the sediments deposited within the
onland Adana Basin and the offshore Inner Cilicia, Inner Latakia and Is-
kenderun Basins (i.e., Unit 1). Results from extensive exploration dril-
ling and a dense grid of industry seismic reﬂection proﬁles from the
Adana Basin show that the region was a shallow marine depocentre at
the close of the Messinian (Burton-Ferguson et al., 2005; Cosentino
et al., 2012). Industry seismic reﬂection proﬁles show the presence of
~1800 m-thick latest Messinian to Pliocene–Quaternary successions
in the Adana Basin, which progressively thins from the present-day
shoreline toward the north (Burton-Ferguson et al., 2005). These data
also show that the subcrop edge of the latest Messinian to Pliocene–
Quaternary successions is erosional, suggesting that the ancestral
basin margin may have extended farther towards the north (Fig. 7).
While the volume of sediments lost to erosion cannot be readily esti-
mated, the erosional products are assumed to have been re-deposited
farther outboard into the Adana and/or Cilicia Basins. In the subsequent
sedimentbudget calculations the amount of sediment loss is assumed to
There are no hard data from the northeastern Mediterranean region
regarding the shoreline position during the Pliocene and Quaternary.
The topographic gradient along the central Taurus Mountains must
have changed sharply from the early Pliocene to Recent, associated
with the rise of the Taurus Mountains (Şafak et al., 2005). Geological
maps (Erentöz and Ternek, 1962) show that the 200 m topographic
contour broadly corresponds with an unconformable onlap surface be-
tween the Pliocene–Quaternary marine successions of the Cilicia Basin
and the lower Cenozoic to Paleozoic uplifted successions presently
exposed on land. This implies that the Pliocene–Quaternary shoreline
has been uplifted by a minimum of 100–150 m along the southern
fringes of the Taurus Mountains. In the following sediment volume cal-
culations, the Pliocene shoreline is assumed to be at the 200 m contour,
except in the Adana Basin, where the paleoshoreline is taken as the 0 m
contour in the Pliocene–Quaternary isopach map (Aksu et al., 2005a;
Burton-Ferguson et al., 2005).
6. Sediment budget constraints
There is a dense grid of seismic reﬂection data from most, if not all, of
the Cilicia and Adana Basins. Therefore, accurate sediment budget
Fig. 7. Map showing the extentof the ancestral Miocene basin inthe northeast Mediterranean Sea.Also shown are majorthrust faults that affect the structural architecture of theMiocene
successions (i.e., Units 3A, 3B) in the Cilicia Basin (from Aksu et al., 2005a), Latakia Basin (Hall et al., 2005a), Iskenderun Basin (Aksu et al., 2005b), Adana Basin (from Burton-Ferguson
et al., 2005) andKyrenia Range (from Calon et al., 2005a,b).Dark green shaded regions denote theophiolitic complexes. (For interpretationof the references to color in this ﬁgurelegend,
the reader is referred to the web version of this article.)
7S. Walsh-Kennedy et al. / Tectonophysics xxx (2014) xxx–xxx
calculations can be made provided that several critical parameters can
be determined and/or estimated. Previous studies in Cilicia Basin
showed that there is sediment leakage across the Misis–Kyrenia horst
block to the eastinto the Latakia Basin (Aksuet al., 2005a)aswellaslon-
gitudinally to the west into the Antalya Basin (Işler et al., 2005). The
amount of this leakage is difﬁcult to determine. Kukal (1971) suggests
that between 25 and 35% of the sediments carried by a river system
passes the delta front and is carried away into the deeper basinal
areas by suspended sediment transport. Because the available seismic
proﬁles extend well beyond the delta lobe of the Göksu River, most of
the ﬁne-grained sediments are imaged and accounted for in the central
portion of the Outer Cilicia Basin. It is conservatively assumed that the
existing seismic coverage underestimates the total sediment volume
6.1. Isopach maps
The total uppermost Messinian to Quaternary isopach map of the Ci-
licia and Adana Basins shows the presence of a prominent depositional
lobe resting in the southern Adana, Inner Cilicia and northern Outer Ci-
licia Basins (Fig. 8). This lobe sits north of the major north-dipping
northwest–southeast-trending basin-bounding fault, which separates
the Inner and Outer Cilicia Basins (Figs. 5, 8). The depositional lobe is
somewhat elongated in a northeast–southwest direction and reaches
central thicknesses exceeding 2400 m, thinning toward the northeast
into the Adana Basin, the southwest into the Outer Cilicia Basin, the
northwest onto the Turkish continental margin, and the southeast
onto the Misis–Kyrenia Fault Zone. The isopached succession is notably
thin over the crestal regions of isolated halokinetic structures. A
secondary, smaller depositional lobe is present in the Outer Cilicia
Basin (Fig. 8).
Detailed mapping and correlations of the M-, A- and P-reﬂectors
across the Cilicia and Adana Basins allow the total uppermost Messinian
to Quaternary thickness (Fig. 8) to be split into three slices: uppermost
Messinian to lower Pliocene between the M- and A-reﬂectors (Fig. 9),
upper Pliocene between the A- and P-reﬂectors (Fig. 10) and Quaterna-
ry between the P-reﬂector and the seaﬂoor (Fig. 11).
The isopach map of the uppermost Messinian to lower Pliocene sub-
unit 1C (i.e., between the M- and A-reﬂectors) displays an area of max-
imum thickness that is deﬁned by a narrow, northeast–southwest- and
east–west-elongated L-shape deposit with central thicknesses ranging
from 1200 to 1400 m along the northwestern segment of the Inner Cili-
cia Basin (Fig. 9). Examination of seismic reﬂection proﬁles along the
east–west-trending portion of the L-shaped lobe shows the presence
of major east- and southeast-directed clinoforms which prograded
from the shelf edge (Figs. 12, 13). This geometry suggests that the
east–west-trending portion of the L-shaped lobe must have been
sourced from the west by the Göksu River and is likely associated with
the distal toe of its delta system. The north–south-trending portion of
the L-shaped lobe is probably sourced fromthe Seyhan and Tarsus rivers
and corresponds to the distal feather-edge of the deltasassociatedwith
these rivers. South-prograded deltaic packages associated with the Sey-
han and Tarsus rivers are reported to occur immediately above the M-
reﬂector in theAdana Basin (Burton-Ferguson et al., 2005). These pack-
ages might be late Messinian and/or early Pliocene in age. A secondary
lobe with central thicknesses exceeding 1200 m trends east–west near
the southern margin of the Inner Cilicia Basin (Fig. 9). Seismic proﬁles
in the region show that this secondary lobe is associated with the roll-
over along a northwest–southeast-trending and northeast-dipping
Fig. 8. Isopach map of thelatest Messinian toPliocene–Quaternary successions (i.e., between the M-reﬂector and the present-day seaﬂoor) in the Ciliciaand Adana Basins. Contours are in
8S. Walsh-Kennedy et al. / Tectonophysics xxx (2014) xxx–xxx
listric fault fan. Sub-unit 1C is notably thin in the Outer Cilicia Basin as
well as Adana Basin, where it is generally less than 400 m thick
(Figs. 9, 14).
The upper Pliocene sub-unit 1B (i.e., between the A- and P-
reﬂectors) includes four prominent depositional lobes with central
thicknesses exceeding 1100 m in the Inner Cilicia Basin (Fig. 10). The
800 m thickness contour encircles four of these lobes (Fig. 10). Unit 1B
is also present in the Adana Basin (e.g., Fig. 14). The proximity of these
lobes to the Adana Basin and the present-day shoreline as well as
clear south-directed prograded clinoforms in this region collectively
suggest that they musthave been sourced from the north bythe Seyhan,
Ceyhan and Tarsus rivers. A ﬁfth prominent lobe is clearly separated
from the innermost four lobes and shows a central thickness of
~800 m. The geographic position and the east- and southeast-directed
prograded clinoforms in seismic reﬂection proﬁles suggest that the
ﬁfth lobe was sourced from the west by the Göksu River (Figs. 15, 16).
The Quaternary sub-unit 1A (i.e., from theP-reﬂector to the seaﬂoor)
includes a large broadly arcuate depositional lobe delineated by the 400
m thickness contour (Fig. 11). The 800 m thickness contour shows this
lobe to be an elliptical and mainly northwest–southeast-trending
feature, situated near the transition between the Inner and Outer Cilicia
Basins (Fig. 11). The central thickness of this lobe exceeds 1000 m.
Correlations with seismic reﬂection proﬁles show that the locus of the
Quaternary subunit is associated with the northwest–southeast-
trending and northeast-dipping listric normal fault that delineates the
transitional boundary between Inner and Outer Cilicia Basins. Unit 1A
dramatically thins from the Inner Cilicia Basin toward the northeast
Adana Basin, where the sub-unit shows two lobes with central thick-
nesses exceeding 500 m (Figs. 11, 14). Roll-over and thickening on the
northern side of the listric fault and salt-withdrawal and growth associ-
ated with the depletion syncline on the southern side of the listric fault
are responsible for the thick northwest–southeast-trending spatial dis-
tribution of the lobe. There are southwest-directed progradational
clinoforms extending from the northeast approximately along the
trend of the present-day 100 m isobath: these clinoform packages
must have been sourced from the northeast by the Seyhan, Ceyhan
and Tarsus rivers (Fig. 17). Along the northwestern margin of the
basin immediately seaward of the present day Göksu River, seismic re-
ﬂection proﬁles show prominent southeast-prograded clinoform pack-
ages (Figs. 11, 15, 16, 18) that suggest a second, westerly source from
the Göksu River.
6.2. Volume estimates
Table 2 lists the volumetrics of sediment contained in the isopached
intervals illustrated in Figs. 9, 10, and11. The volume estimates are con-
verted into solid sediment masses using a velocity–porosity relationship
for water-saturated, siliciclastic and normally consolidated shales with
siltstone and minor sandstone interbeds (Erickson and Jarrard, 1998)
and an average grain density of 2700 kg m
based on averages for
shales and sandstones in Sclater and Christie (1980).
To satisfy the objectives of this study, the mass of sediment in the
isopached sub-units must be compared to the sediment yield of the
Göksu River. This requires determining the volume and mass of sedi-
ment that was actually supplied into the Cilicia Basin from the west by
the Göksu River versus the volume and mass of sediment supplied by
the Seyhan, Ceyhan and Tarsus rivers from the north. A number of as-
sumptions are required to underpin volume and mass estimates, and
Fig. 9. Isopach map of the latest Messinian–early Pliocene successions (i.e., between the M-reﬂector and A-reﬂector) inthe Cilicia and Adana Basins. Contours are in metres.
9S. Walsh-Kennedy et al. / Tectonophysics xxx (2014) xxx–xxx
these are justiﬁed below for the three time intervals corresponding to
sub-units 1C, 1B and 1A.
During the Pliocene and most of the early Quaternary, the ancestral
Adana Bay was therepository for the deltaic successions supplied by the
Seyhan, Ceyhan and Tarsus Rivers, whichprogressively ﬁlled the former
marine embayment. The shoreline reached its present position in the
latter part of the Quaternary (Aksu et al., 1992a,b). Thus, during most
of the Pliocene–Quaternary, it is reasonable to expect that only a small
contribution of sediment reached the Inner Cilicia Basin and the west-
ern margin of the Outer Cilicia Basin from the Seyhan, Ceyhan and Tar-
sus rivers.For the purposes of calculations, it is assumed that during the
latest Messinian and early Pliocene (i.e., for sub-unit 1C between the M-
and A-reﬂectors) only the suspended load of the Seyhan, Ceyhan and
Tarsus rivers by-passed the Adana Basin and was deposited in the Cilicia
Basin, and that 70% of the sediments contained in this sub-unit in the Ci-
licia Basinwere supplied by the GöksuRiver (Table 3, assumption 5). For
the latest Messinian time interval (i.e., Lago Mare), it is assumed that
water levels were sufﬁciently high to permit lateral advection of
suspended load away from the fronts of the oldest deltas to supply
some material to the Cilicia Basin. This aspect of the analysis is not
well constrained, because the height of base level in the Adana and Cili-
cia Basins is not known, since the Mediterranean waters were brackish
and certainly lower than the height of the global ocean until 5.33 Ma.
As the ancestral Adana Bay ﬁlled with the deltaic sediments supplied
by the Seyhan, Ceyhan and Tarsus rivers, the shoreline progressively
moved southward. Therefore, the contribution of detritus to sub-unit
1B of the Cilicia Basin (between the A- and P-reﬂectors) from the Sey-
han, Ceyhan and Tarsus rivers must have increased during the latePlio-
cene, exceeding the 30% assumed for sub-unit 1C time. There are
numerous stacked, east-prograded delta successions along the western
margin of the Inner Cilicia Basin that must have been supplied by the
Göksu River. However, the seismic data show an upward increase in
the proportion of nearly horizontal reﬂections that intercalate with
the east-prograded delta successions, often showing onlap reﬂection
terminations over the delta sediments. These are interpreted as distal
prodelta deposits derived from the Seyhan, Ceyhan and Tarsus rivers
in the east. Progressive loading of the Messinian evaporites by the
upper Messinian Lago Mare and Pliocene siliciclastic successions mobi-
lized the evaporites, creating a salt wall along the eastern margin of
the Kozan Fault zone (Aksu et al., 2005a). This salt wall must have cre-
ated a partition in the basin, progressively restricting the ﬂux of detritus
from the Göksu River to the Inner Cilicia Basin, and permitting an in-
crease in the proportion of detritus contributed by the Seyhan, Ceyhan
and Tarsus rivers in the east. Therefore, it is assumed for the purposes
of modelled sediment budget calculations in §9 that 50% of the sub-
unit 1B sediments in the Cilicia Basin were supplied by the Göksu
River, with 50% being supplied from the Seyhan, Ceyhan and Tarsus
rivers (Table 3, assumption 5).
There is a dramatic change in the seismic stratigraphic architecture
of the successions contained between the P-reﬂector and the seaﬂoor
(i.e., sub-unit 1A). In particular, there is a thick wedge of sediments
near the transition between the Inner and Outer Cilicia Basins (e.g.,
Figs. 15, 16) which thins toward the west and onlaps and/or downlaps
onto the P-reﬂector. This architecture suggests that progressively in-
creasing portions of the sediments may have been supplied from the
north. In this youngest part of the studied succession, the respective
sediment contributions from the three rivers to the north and the
Göksu River to the west can be estimated based on the inferred
Fig. 10. Isopach map of the predominantly late Pliocene successions (i.e., between the A-reﬂector and the P-reﬂector) in the Cilicia and Adana Basins. Contours are in metres.
10 S. Walsh-Kennedy et al. / Tectonophysics xxx (2014) xxx–xxx
proportion of the present-day total sediment supplied to the Cilicia
Basin that is derived from the Seyhan, Ceyhan and Tarsus rivers ver-
sus the Göksu River. A signiﬁcant portion of the annual ﬂux from the
Seyhan and Ceyhan rivers must accumulate in the Latakia Basin
(Fig. 1;Hall et al., 2005a), making this fraction unavailable to
augment the volume of the deposits in the Cilicia Basin. If only 50%
of the total sediment yield from the Seyhan and Ceyhan rivers
reaches the Cilicia Basin, then the annual contribution from these
two rivers would be 5324 × 10
t. The Tarsus River contributes a fur-
ther 129 × 10
t for a total of 5453 × 10
Fig. 12. Industry multi-channel seismic proﬁle A across the western portion of the Inner Cilicia Basin showing the structural architecture of the Kozan Fault Zone as well as east- and
southeast-directed clinoform progradation in the latest Messinian–early Pliocene between the M- and A-reﬂectors. Location in Fig. 3.
Fig. 11. Isopach map of the mainly Quaternary successions (i.e., between the P-reﬂector and the present-day seaﬂoor) in the Cilicia and Adana Basins. Contours are in metres.
11S. Walsh-Kennedy et al. / Tectonophysics xxx (2014) xxx–xxx
than the Göksu River. The annual sediment yield of the Göksu River
is 2539 × 10
t(Table 1). Hence, the percentage of sediment
contributed today to the Cilicia Basin by the Göksu River is
2539 / (2539 + 5453) = 32%. It seems reasonable to extrapolate this
level of contribution to 1.9 Ma (base of sub-unit 1A), which for the pur-
poses of the calculations in this paper is rounded to a 30% contribution
from the Göksu River, and 70% from the Seyhan, Ceyhan andTarsus Riv-
ers (Table 3;assumption5).
Some explanation is required for the assumption above, that only
~50% of the modern sediment yield of the Seyhan and Ceyhan rivers
contributes to successions in the Cilicia Basin. The present-day Seyhan
River drains the western portion of the central TaurusMountains, enter-
ing the Adana Basin from the north, whereas the Ceyhan River drains
the eastern segment of the central Taurus Mountains and enters the
Adana Basin from the northeast. The total present-day sediment
yields of the Seyhan and Ceyhan rivers are effectively equal. Re-
gional mapping shows that the ancestral Miocene basin in the
northeastern Mediterranean area was much larger, and included
not only the Cilicia, Iskenderun, Adana, Latakia, and Mesaoria
Basins (Fig. 7;Aksu et al., 2005a,b; Hall et al., 2005a), but also
former basins now uplifted into mountainous belts, such as the
Mut Basin and the foredeep that resided over the present day
Misis Mountains and the Kyrenia Range (e.g., Calon et al., 2005a,b).
Pliocene–Quaternary tectonics resulted in the fragmentation of this
large Miocene basin, leading to the individual quasi-isolated basins ob-
served today. The development of the thrusts that core the Misis
Mountains and the Kyrenia Range and their marine extension, the
Misis–Kyrenia belt, created the largest partition, separating
the Mesaoria, Latakia and Iskenderun Basins in the east from
the Adana, Cilicia and the Mut Basins in the west. Isopach maps of
the northeastern corner of the eastern Mediterranean basin show
that there are two prominent latest Miocene to Pliocene–Quaternary
depositional lobes that contain nearly identical volumes: one de-
veloped within the Adana–Cilicia Basin complex (Aksu et al.,
2005a,b) and the other within the Iskenderun–Latakia–Mesaoria
Basin complex (Hall et al., 2005a). If these lobes were supplied pri-
marily by the Seyhan and Ceyhan rivers, then it is indeed reason-
able to assume that only 50% of the detritus carried by the Seyhan,
and Ceyhan rivers reaches the Adana and Inner and Outer Cilicia
7. Subsidence rate calculations
There are several stacked deltas in the Inner Cilicia Basin that show
clear clinoform progradations. These deltas are presently buried deep
in seismic reﬂection proﬁles, suggesting that considerable subsidence
must have occurred in the Cilicia Basin. Subsidence in a sedimentary
basin can be attributed to three primary processes: tectonic move-
ments, water and sediment loading, and compaction of sediments
(Allen and Allen, 2005; Watts, 2001). Backstripping (using a MAC OS
freeware programme called OSXBackstrip, version 2.2) is a method
that systematically removes the effects of sediment compaction and
sediment and water loading from successive layers in a basin, allowing
the amount of tectonic subsidence to be calculated (Allen and Allen,
2005; Watts, 2001). Subsidence rates are calculated at 95 stations across
the Cilicia and Adana Basins for the following two intervals using
OSXBackstrip: (i) predominantly late Pliocene (i.e., sub-unit 1B be-
tween the A- and P-reﬂectors) and (ii) the latest Pliocene and Qua-
ternary (i.e., sub-unit 1A between the P-reﬂector and the present-
day seaﬂoor). Table 4 lists the parameters used in OSXBackstrip. No
subsidence calculations are possible for the time between develop-
ment of the M-reﬂector and the A-reﬂector because the elevation
of standing water in the Adana and Cilicia Basins, relative to the
Fig. 13. High-resolution multi-channel seismic reﬂection proﬁle B showing east- and
southeast-directed clinoform progradation in latest Messinian–lower Pliocene between
the M- and A-reﬂectors in the northwestern portion of the Inner Cilicia Basin. Location
in Fig. 3.
Fig. 14. Industry seismicreﬂection proﬁle C,showing the architecture of the southwesternmargin of the Adana Basin, includingthree sub-units of Unit 1. Note that there is ~500–600 ms
(N500 m at 2000 m s
) thickness of sub-unit 1A sediments within the central axis of the basin. B1 = base Tortonian unconformity, B2 = base Mioceneunconformity (Burton-Ferguson
et al., 2005).
12 S. Walsh-Kennedy et al. / Tectonophysics xxx (2014) xxx–xxx
modern sealevel datum, is unknown when accumulation of the
Lower Evaporites ceased at ~ 5.59 Ma. The ﬁrst time that global
sealevel might be used as input into OSXBackstrip is at 5.33 Ma im-
mediately following the Zanclean re-ﬂooding, but there is no dis-
cernible seismic reﬂection in the proﬁles acquired for this study
that can be conﬁdently related to the top of the Lago Mare succession.
Another issue that prevents an accurate subsidence analysis for the
Messinian epoch is the profound unloading and then reloading of
the lithosphere by evaporation and subsequent reﬁlling of the Med-
iterranean basin, complicated by lags in isostatic rebound and de-
pression of the seabed. A temporal history of sequential variations
in the depth of water is not available, and the authors are unaware
of markers for water depth during the Lago Mare interval when
brackish waters ﬁlled parts of the basin (Cosentino et al., 2013).
Subsidence rates for the late Pliocene part of Unit 1 (Fig. 19, sub-unit
1B correlating with the seismic interval of P-reﬂector to A-reﬂector)
show that subsidence was highest along the arcuate central axis of the
basin, notably decreasing toward the shelves in the north and north-
west as well as toward the Kyrenia Range in the south and the Misis–
Kyrenia Fault Zone in the southeast. Comparison between the latest
Messinian to Pliocene–Quaternary isopach map (Fig. 8) and the late Pli-
ocene subsidence rates (Fig. 19) reveals that this trend parallels the in-
crease in the total thickness of the latest Messinian to Pliocene–
Quaternary sediments across the Cilicia and Adana Basins. Subsidence
rates also decrease toward the northeast into the Adana Basin (Fig. 19).
Seismic reﬂection proﬁles running nearly east–west across the western
margin of the Inner Cilicia and Adana Basins (Figs. 13–16, 18)andthose
running nearly north–south across the Outer Cilicia Basin show that mor-
phologically the basin margin appears to have been down-warped. In-
deed, the subsidence rates are noticeably higher in the deeper basinal
setting than they are on the shallower regions of the northwestern Cilicia
margin (Fig. 19).
Comparison of the subsidence rates calculated for (sub-unit 1B cor-
relating with the seismic interval of P-reﬂector to A-reﬂector (Fig. 19),
Fig. 16.High-resolutionmulti-channelseismic reﬂectionproﬁle E showing thesedimenta-
ry architecture of the northwestern portion of the Inner Cilicia Basin, and the presence of
prominent stacked east- and southeast-prograded delta packages. Location in Fig. 3.
Fig. 17. High-resolution seismic reﬂection proﬁle F showing the clearly southwest-
directed progradational clinoform units extending from the northeast. These clinoform
packages must have been sourced from the northeast by the Seyhan, Ceyhan and Tarsus
rivers. Location in Fig. 3.
Fig. 18. High-resolution multi-channel seismic reﬂection proﬁle G showing the sedimen-
tary architecture of thenorthwestern portion of the Inner Cilicia Basin, andthe presence of
prominent stacked east- and southeast-prograded delta packages. Location in Fig. 3.
Fig. 15. High-resolution multi-channel seismic reﬂection proﬁle D showing the sedimen-
tary architecture of thenorthwestern portion of the Inner Cilicia Basin, andthe presence of
prominent stacked east- and southeast-prograded delta packages. Location in Fig. 3.
13S. Walsh-Kennedy et al. / Tectonophysics xxx (2014) xxx–xxx
and sub-unit 1A correlating with the seismic interval of seabed to P-
reﬂector (Fig. 20) reveals three major observations: (i) subsidence
rates are higher in the middle Pliocene, (ii) there is a notable decrease
in the rate of basin subsidence from themiddle Pliocene into the late Pli-
ocene as well as from the late Pliocene into the Quaternary, and (iii) the
highest rates of subsidence are in different locations in these time inter-
vals (Figs. 19, 20).
Subsidence rates were relatively high during the deposition of sub-
unit 1B, with the northeast-trending central axis of the eastern Outer Ci-
licia and Inner Cilicia Basins experiencing 0.0.10–0.20 mm per year sub-
sidence (Fig. 19). During this time, only thesouthwestern portion of the
Adana Basin was subsiding with rates of ~0.05 mm per year. Subsidence
rates dramatically decreased from 0.10 to 0.20 mm per year in the mid-
dle Pliocene to 0.05–0.10 mm per year in the late Pliocene–Quaternary
(Fig. 20). During this interval the Adana Basin did not experience subsi-
dence and the accommodation space created during the middle–late
Pliocene was rapidly ﬁlled with the prograding deltaic successions of
the Seyhan, Ceyhan and Tarsus rivers. The decline in calculated subsi-
dence rates to negligible values is consistent with the lower end of the
spectrum of emergence rates of 0.02–0.13 mm per year since 1.8 Ma
proposed by Cipollari et al. (2013a,b). The observation that there is
N500 m thick Quaternary successions (i.e., sub-unit 1A) within the
southwestern Adana Basin suggests that the central axis of the Adana
Basin must have been subsiding during the Quaternary, because it is un-
likely that the ancestral basin had water depth of N500 m (Figs. 11, 14).
Comparison between the isopach maps (Figs. 9–11) and the rate of
subsidence maps (Figs. 19, 20) shows that the increase in the rate of
subsidence from the peripheral edges of the basin toward the centre,
as well as the notable increase in the rates of subsidence from the mar-
gin of the Cilicia Basin toward the deeper portion of the Cilicia Basin is
associated with the increase in the thickness of the Pliocene–
Quaternary deposits. Because the calculated rates of subsidence
removed the effects of water and sediment loading as well as sedi-
ment compaction, this notable correlation between the rate of sub-
sidence and thickness of sediment is solely attributed to the
creation of accommodation space by tectonic subsidence and the
inﬁlling of the newly created space by deltaic sedimentation. The
importance of this tectonic process becomes more evident when
viewed in relationship to the dramatic uplift of the Central Taurus
Mountains immediately north and northwest of the Cilicia Basin,
concomitant with the subsidence in the Cilicia and Adana Basins.
8. Modelling detrital input to the Cilicia Basin since ~5.59 Ma
A modelling exercise was completed, constrained by two require-
ments: (1) that the percentage of the contribution from the Göksu
River to the sedimentary successions in the Cilicia Basin declines from
70% to 50% to 30% from sub-unit 1C to sub-unit 1A (Table 3, assumption
5), and (2) that the sum of the calculated riverine input equals the mass
in each sub-unit measured from isopach maps (Table 2, column D). In a
spreadsheet analysis, the mass contributions from the Seyhan and
Ceyhan rivers were adjusted downward to satisfy the ﬁrst requirement,
at the same time that all inputs were multiplied by the factor needed to
honour the second requirement. Table 5 shows the values that satisfy
the two requirements.
Although today the Seyhan and Ceyhan rivers contribute ~50% of
their detritus to the Cilicia Basin, the modelled proportion entering the
Cilicia Basin is closer to ~35% since ~ 5.6 Ma (Table 5, column I). The accu-
mulation of sub-unit 1A extends back through the Quaternary, so the av-
erage value of ~35% might mask an increasing proportion that has only
recently reached ~ 50%. The most striking result of the modelling exercise
is found in Table 5, column H. In order for the Göksu River to have sup-
plied ~70% of the sediment in sub-unit 1C (M-reﬂector to A-reﬂector),
its annual yield must have been ~3 times greater than today. Further-
more, the average yield through the Quaternary is calculated to have
been on ~60% of the modern value. How can these results be explained?
The Quaternary average of 60% lower yield is possibly the easier of
the two results to interpret. The average Quaternary temperature has
been lower than today, and many parts of southern Eurasia were
dryer during cooler glacial times (e.g., Jansen et al., 2007). This would
have reduced river yields. Also, recent values are inﬂuenced by agricul-
tural land use that results in more poor soil retention on the landscape.
Hence, with natural vegetation cover, it is expected that pre-agricultural
erosion rates would have been less than today.
A positive ramp to higher sediment yields from the Göksu River is
interpreted as a response to changing tectonic processes. Today, tecton-
ic subsidence in the Cilicia Basin is at a post-Messinian minimum, and
List of assumptions used in the sediment budget calculations.
Assumption on Description of assumptions
1: average position of the shorelineduring
Average position of the Pliocene shoreline is assumed to lie near the present-day 200 m topographic contour, except in theAdana Basin,
where it is taken as the 0 m contour consistent with the Pliocene–Quaternary isopach map of Aksu et al. (2005a) and Burton-Ferguson
et al. (2005).
2: leakageof sediment outsideCilicia Basin Approximately 15% of thesediment dischargeof rivers does notcontribute to the mapped (isopached) basin ﬁll, because of long-distance
transport of materials beyond the conﬁnes of the Cilicia Basin.
3: age of marker horizons Correlations with exploration wells suggest that the P-, A- and M-reﬂectors have ages of 1.9, 3.6 and 5.59Ma, respectively.
4: average porosity for dated seismic
Average porosity of the sediments contained within (i) seabed to P-reﬂector, (ii) P-reﬂector to A-reﬂector and (iii) A-reﬂector to M-
reﬂector are estimated to be 50%, 40% and 30%, respectively, using a seismic velocity-porosity relationship for water-saturated normally
consolidated siliciclastic shales with siltstone and minor sandstone interbeds (Erickson and Jarrard, 1998).
5: contributions by Göksu River versus
Ceyhan andTarsus Rivers during various
(i) 70% of sediments containedbetween M- and A-reﬂectorswere supplied by the GöksuRiver, and only the suspended sediment loadof
the Seyhan, Ceyhan and Tarsus Rivers by-passing Adana Basin; (ii) 50% of the sediments contained betweenA- and P-reﬂectors were
suppliedby the Göksu River; (iii) 30%of the sediments contained between P-reﬂector andthe seaﬂoor were supplied by the Göksu River.
6: proportion of sediments deposited in
and Adana Basins versus Iskenderun and
(i) A signiﬁcant percentage of the latest Messinian to Quaternary sediments carried by the Seyhan, and CeyhanRivers were deposited in
the Iskenderun and Latakia Basins with the remainder being deposited in the Adana and Cilicia Basins; this percentage is modelled in §8.
(ii) 100% ofthe sediments carried bythe Göksu and Tarsus Rivers are deposited in theAdana and Cilicia Basins.
7: depth of topset-to-foreset transitions The average topset-to-foreset transitions in eastern Mediterranean Sea deltas occur at 10 m waterdepth (Aksu et al., 1992a,b).
Volume estimates calculated using the isopach maps presented in Figs. 9, 10, and 11.
Intervals are described in text. A = total sediment volume in cubic metres contained
within noted intervals, B = porosity in percent of sediments (from Erickson and Jarrard,
1998),C = total volumeof solids (i.e., A minusthe volume of the pores),D = solid weight
in tonnes using a grain density of 2700 kg m
, E = duration of accumulation, F = Re-
quired rate of mass input from rivers to account for isopached mass (compare with
Table 1, right-hand column).
Seabed to P 6.18 50 3.09 0.834 1.9 4391
P to A 7.04 40 4.22 1.14 1.7 6709
A to M 10.4 30 7.28 1.97 2.0 9828
M-Seabed 23.6 14.6 3.94 5.6
14 S. Walsh-Kennedy et al. / Tectonophysics xxx (2014) xxx–xxx
there haveeven been suggestions of minor recent uplift (Cipollari et al.,
2013a,b). Since uplift of theCentral Taurus Mountains is coupled to sub-
sidence in the Adana and Cilicia Basins, it is a reasonable expectation
that uplift on land has also declined through the latest Pliocene and
Quaternary. In fact, there is some local evidence for stronger uplift in
pre-Quaternary times. This evidence comes from the Göksu gorge,
which is a deeply incised valley along the lower reaches of the Göksu
The total volume of the Göksu gorge was calculated using Global
Mapper. Elevation contours starting at modern sea-level and spaced
50 m apart were used to quantify the area of the gorge having walls at
that particular elevation. This process extended to the highest elevation
of the valley ﬂoor over the Central Taurus Mountains at ~1500 m. The
areas of the incremental slices were multiplied by 50 m increments to
calculate the volume of rock that was eroded to account for each slice.
The 1500 m elevation is taken to be the most conservative elevation
where the drainage divide occurs in the region. Summed across all
slices, the volume eroded from the Göksu gorge is calculated to be
. The geological map of the area surrounding the gorge
shows that the rocks that have been incised are mostly Oligocene–Mio-
cene sedimentary successions, with the older Paleozoic and Mesozoic
rocks only exposed in the deepest portion of the gorge. In order to con-
vert the volume of rock eroded from the gorge to units of mass, it is nec-
essary to assume an average mineral density and porosity. A mineral
density of 2700 kg m
is used, consistent with calculations on the ma-
rine successions (Table 2). An average porosity of 20% is selected based
on values reported for Mesozoic siliciclastic rocks elsewhere that have
been buried less than 1 km and partially lithiﬁed (Boyce, 1984), as are
the rocks in the walls of the Göksu gorge.Using these values, the volume
is equivalent to a mass of 7.6 × 10
t. This is 55% of the modelled con-
tribution from the Göksu River to the Cilicia Basin from 5.6 to 3.6 Ma
(M-reﬂector to A-reﬂector; Table 5). If the excavation of the Göksu
gorge took place during a particularly intense period of uplift as the Cen-
tral Taurus Mountains began to emerge in the latest Messinian to early
Pliocene, then the lowering of base level created by the uplift might ac-
count for the impressive erosional incision.
Another attractive possibility is that signiﬁcant excavation of the
Göksu gorge began in Lago Mare times, when emergence of the Central
Taurus Mountains was underway, and when base level was hundreds of
metres lower than today because of desiccation of the Mediterranean
basin. In this scenario, the material removed from the gorge would
have contributed to development of equivalents to the Handere Forma-
tion that are now buried by younger sediments in the Outer Cilicia
The ﬁrst-order modelling calculations (Table 5) indicate that the
four rivers entering the Cilicia Basin can account for all the sediments
deposited in the basin above the M-reﬂector. A signiﬁcant portion of
the Göksu River contribution is believed to have come fromthe excava-
tion of the Göksu gorge during the latest Messinian and Pliocene associ-
ated with the rise of the Central Taurus Mountains. Recently, the
sediment yield from this river has apparently declined, allowing the
Seyhan and Ceyhan rivers to now dominate input into the Cilicia
Basin. The decline in sediment yield is consistent with reduced tectonic
differentiation (subsidence and uplift) between the Cilicia Basin and the
uplifted parts of southern Anatolia.
9. Comparison of results to uplift rates along the Central Taurus
Mountains and the Mut Basin
On the basis of biostratigraphic and paleomagnetic data, Cosentino
et al. (2012) have assigned ages of 8.35–8.108 Ma for the upper part
of the undeformed marine deposits that cap the southern margin of
the Central Anatolian Plateau (i.e., the Mut Formation of the Central
Taurus Mountains). This age is younger than previously reported by
Bassant et al. (2005), who estimated that the sediments of the Mut
Basin were of Langhian age (15.97–13.65 Ma) or Tanar and Gökçen
List of parameters required for the calculation of tectonic subsidence using OSXBackstrip.
Required parameters for OSXBackstrip Parameter used in the OSXBackstrip
The unit base and top as depths in kilometres from a reference level The present-day sea-level is taken as the reference surface datum
The age of the unit base and unit top in millions of years ago The ages of the M-, A- and P-reﬂectors are taken as 5.59, 3.6 and 1.9 Ma, respectively
The sea-level at the time of deposition of the unit base and top in
The sea-level is assumed to be +25 m at 3.6 Ma, and 0 m at 1.9 Ma.
The water depth at the time of deposition of the unit base and top in
Seaﬂoor morphology at the time of deposition of each stratigraphic unit is assumed to be similarwhat is observed today.
The mineral density in kg m
The average mineral densities for the shelf and deep water sediments are calculated to be 2703 kg m
and 2713 kg m
The porosity coefﬁcient (C) in kilometres
Based on idealized porosity coefﬁcient values (Sclater and Christie, 1980), the porosity coefﬁcient for the shelf and deeper water sediments are estimated to be 0.410 km
and 0.486 km
The surface porosity (Φ
) as percent Surface porosities for shelf and deeper water siliciclastic successions are assumed to be 52% and 62%, respectively
The type of setting of the basin Cilicia Basin is assumed to have remained marine between since the Zanclean transgression.
15S. Walsh-Kennedy et al. / Tectonophysics xxx (2014) xxx–xxx
(1990) who postulated a Serravallian age (13.65–11.61 Ma). Cosentino
et al. (2012) explained that these earlier age estimates are not incorrect,
but represent ages from the lower portion of the succession where it is
exposed across the southern ﬂanks of the Central Taurus Mountains.
The timing of the initiation of the rise of the Taurus Mountains is
controversial. In the Ecemiş, Karsantıand Aktoprak Basins of the Central
Anatolian Plateau (Fig. 1) the onset of the exhumation of the Central
Taurus Mountains occurred between the Late Oligocene and Early Mio-
cene (Jaffey and Robertson, 2005). In the Mut Basin, the cessation of ma-
rine sedimentation and onset of exhumation is dated to ~8 Ma
(Cosentino et al., 2012). The highest subsidence in the Adana Basin oc-
curred during ~5.45–5.33 Ma (Cosentino et al., 2012)andwasassociat-
ed with the accumulation of N1000 m of ﬂuvial conglomerates and
marls of the Handere Formation (i.e., the late Lago Mare episode of the
Mediterranean basin; Cosentino et al., 2012). This interval is also coeval
with the rapid subsidence in the Cilicia Basin, and was probably con-
nected with the onset of the rise of the Central Taurus Mountains, as
also suggested by Cosentino et al. (2012) and Schildgen et al. (2012a).
Recent studies by the Vertical AnatolianMovements Project (VAMP)
show that the former Mut Basin experienced a regionally variable uplift,
with the highest former marine sediments capping the southern margin
of the Central Anatolian Plateau at ~ 2 km elevation (Cosentino et al.,
2012; Schildgen et al., 2012a). While these regions were exhumed,
uplifting and eroding, the southern margin of the orogen was still re-
ceiving marine sedimentation (e.g., Yıldızetal.,2003). In a multidisci-
plinary study of biostratigraphic and isotope geochemistry, Schildgen
et al. (2012a) showed that the youngest and highest marine sediments
in the Mut Basin signal the onset of the surface uplift starting sometime
between 8 and 5.45 Ma. Based on this elevation, these authors sug-
gested that the regionexperienced an average long-term uplift rate be-
tween 0.25 and 0.37 mm yr
. Southeast of the town of Mut, in the
southeastern Göksu gorge, the younger marine sediments of Pliocene
to Pleistocene age onlap the middle to upper Miocene marine succes-
sion of the Mut and Köselerli formations. Thesedeposits are now situat-
ed at ~1.2 km elevation (Yıldız et al., 2003). Data from the younger
marine successions suggest an average post-early Pleistocene surface
uplift rate of ~0.7 mm yr
(Schildgen et al., 2012a). Furthermore, cos-
Ne exposure ages on a series of ﬂuvial terraces
~150–30 m above the thalweg of the Göksu River indicate that incision
rates within the Göksu gorge ranged from 0.6 to 0.7 mm yr
in the last
~0.2–0.03 Ma (Schildgen et al., 2012a).
The uplift rates reported above are seemingly contrary to the sugges-
tions of declining tectonic differentiation during the Pliocene–Quaternary.
A long-term uplift rate of 0.25–0.37 mm yr
and a recent rate of
0.6–0.7 mm yr
would suggest an acceleration in uplift in the late Pleis-
tocene. It is possible, however, that these results are not inconsistent with
the modelling results in this paper but instead result from different time
scales for assessment of the uplift and subsidence rates. A late Pleistocene
acceleration of the rate of uplift would not be discernible in the marine
data set presented in this paper, because the time intervals that are avail-
able for the marine work are rather coarse, at 1.7–2.0 m.y. each.
10. Source to sink: uplift of Mut Basin and subsidence of Adana and
In the centralsegment of the Cilicia Basin, the long-term average tec-
tonic subsidence rate is ~0.31 mm yr
. In the onland Mut Basin,the av-
erage long-term uplift rates range from 0.25 to 0.37 mm yr
data clearly show that while the Central Taurus Mountains were rising,
there was concomitant subsidence in the Cilicia Basin. The 0.31 mm yr
average long-term subsidence rate translates to ~1.6 km of net tectonic
subsidence since the Messinian. Indeed, the prominent Messinian M-
Fig. 19. Subsidence rates (in millimetres per year) during the accumulation of late Pliocene sub-unit 1B (i.e., between the A- and P-reﬂectors).
16 S. Walsh-Kennedy et al. / Tectonophysics xxx (2014) xxx–xxx
reﬂector in this sector of the Cilicia Basin is situated 2–3kmbelowmod-
ern sea-level. It is clear that there was a sharp tectonic boundary between
the rising Central Taurus Mountains in the north/northwest and the sub-
siding Cilicia Basin in the south/southeast.
The rate of incision calculated for the last phase of development of
the Göksu gorge ranges from 0.6–0.7 mm yr
during the last
~0.2–0.03 m.y. (Schildgen et al., 2012a). If these rates were representa-
tive for the entire Pliocene–Quaternary, the time needed for the excava-
tion of the ~ 1500 m height of the Göksu gorge can be calculated as
~2.1–2.5 × 10
years, ﬁxing the start of the process of excavation to
the late Pliocene, some 2.5 Ma. This estimate is younger than the oldest
delta progradation that can be unequivocally related to the ancestral
Göksu River, directly above the M-reﬂector. It is also possibly in-
consistent with the modelled declining sediment delivery to the Ci-
licia Basin by this river. Hence, either incision of the gorge began
earlier than 2.5 Ma and the late Pleistocene uplift rate is not repre-
sentative of earlier times, or the oldest sediment contributions
came from other parts of the Göksu drainage basin, and not from
the ﬁrst stage of cutting of the gorge.
The internal architecture of any sedimentary basin is a function of
the rate of sediment supply to the basin and the rate of creation of ac-
commodation space. The rate of sediment supply is in turn a function
of the rate of source-area uplift, thus the rate of denudation and ﬂuvial
incision.If the rate of subsidence is less than the rate of source-area up-
lift, then the basin will quickly ﬁll and be bypassed. If the rate of uplift is
much less than the rate of basin subsidence, then the basin will become
starved and will deepen. The data presented in this paper show that a
substantial amountof sediment was eroded from the rising Central Tau-
rus Mountains and transported by the Göksu River into the Cilicia Basin.
The Cilicia Basin subsided by a sufﬁcient amount to accommodate this
great load of incoming sediment. While the Adana Basin is completely
ﬁlled, sedimentation has nearly ﬁlled the Inner Cilicia Basin. However,
in the Outer Cilicia Basin, the absence of sufﬁcient sedimentary input
has rendered the basin to be starved: the basin occurs in ~ 1000 m
Fig. 20. Subsidence rates (in millimetres per year) during the accumulation of latest Pliocene and Quaternarysub-unit 1A (i.e., between the P-reﬂector and the present-day seaﬂoor).
Modelledcontributions from four riversthrough the latest Messinian to Recent that honourTable 3, assumption5, and that reproducethe correct massesfor sub-units 1C to 1A measured
from isopach maps. Note that the column labelled ‘Total’has been tuned by the selection of scaling parameters to equal Table 2, column D, satisfying the modelling requirements. G =
ancient yield of Göksu River (10
)neededtoﬁt the model requirements, H = percentage that G represents of modern Göksu yield, I = percentage of modern Seyhan and Ceyhan
yields needed to ﬁt the model requirements. Because all sediment from the TarsusRiver enters the Cilicia Basin, its yield is added to each sub-unit at the 100% level.
Interval Duration Mass (10
t) over time interval Total G H I
(m.y.) Göksu Seyhan Ceyhan Tarsus (10
Seabed to P 1.9 2.50 2.81 2.96 0.21 0.834 1.32 61 33
P to A 1.7 5.73 2.69 2.83 0.19 1.14 3.37 156 36
A to M 2.0 13.8 2.74 2.88 0.22 1.97 6.91 320 31
17S. Walsh-Kennedy et al. / Tectonophysics xxx (2014) xxx–xxx
water depth with only ~500 m of uppermost Messinian and Pliocene–
10.1. M-reﬂector to A-reﬂector
Marine sedimentation ceased in the Mut Basin during the late Mio-
cene and the region became emergent; this phase is associated with
the early rise of the Central Taurus Mountains. The ancestral Göksu
River developed during this time and started to drain the emerging
landmass transporting its unconsolidated and loosely consolidated
material into the adjacent Cilicia and Adana Basins. With time, a prom-
inent delta lobe developed in the Cilicia Basin; this lobe is clearly iden-
tiﬁed and mapped in seismic reﬂection proﬁles. The sustained delta
progradation observed in this latest Messinian to early Pliocene delta
lobe suggests contemporary and substantial rise of the Central Taurus
Mountains, the start of incision of the Göksu gorge and the denudation
of the landmass. Indeed, studies on the onland Mut Basin conﬁrm that
during the Miocene (~8–5.45 Ma) there was a rapid rate of uplift of
the Mut Basin and the evolving Central Taurus Mountains (Schildgen
et al., 2012a).
10.2. A- to P-reﬂectors
Seismic reﬂection proﬁles suggest that delta sedimentation contin-
ued into the late Pliocene. However, the rate of tectonic subsidence de-
creased signiﬁcantly compared with the time of early Pliocene delta
development. Sediment volume calculations based on isopach maps
show that there was a noticeable decrease in the rate of sediment sup-
ply into the Cilicia Basin during the late Pliocene. This dramatic reduc-
tion of sediment input could be attributed to the fact that loose, easily
erodible Miocene sediments were already stripped from the ﬂoor of
the Göksu River gorge, and that the river was now cutting into consoli-
dated Eocene and Oligocene sedimentary and Mesozoic and Paleozoic
crystalline rocks, thus diminishing the supply into the Cilicia Basin
(Fig. 21). The most recent onland studies on the Mut Basin are mute re-
garding the temporal changes in rate of uplift during this interval.
10.3. P-reﬂector to seabed
This interval is characterized in the Inner Cilicia Basin by a series of
easterly-directed, stacked, seaward-prograded clinoform packages, sug-
gesting signiﬁcant delta progradation from the Göksu River during this
time. However, arguments in this paper suggest less sediment supply
than during the previous interval. This pattern mimics the results
of the subsidence rate calculations, as the rate of tectonic subsidence
declined during this interval. This reduction in the rate of sediment
delivery from the Göksu River might be explained by progressively
greater resistance to erosion of the bedrock in the drainage basin
(Fig. 21). Schildgen et al. (2012a) suggested that from 1.66 to 1.62 Ma
there was a notable increase in the rate of uplift to about
0.72–0.74 mm yr
when compared to the average long-term uplift
rate of 0.25–0.37 mm yr
. The marine data from the Cilicia Basin do
not have the chronological detail needed to evaluate the response of
sedimentation to this uplift.
10.4. Origin of uplift and subsidence
The adjacency of the Mut and Cilicia Basins and the consistency in
timing of the tectonic events in these basins collectively suggest that
there is likely to be a common cause of the uplift of the Mut Basin and
the subsidence of the Cilicia Basin. The building of the Central Taurus
Mountains is the most likely cause of the uplift of the Mut Basin. But,
how would this cause subsidence of broadly comparable magnitude in
the adjacent Cilicia Basin? The Central Taurus Mountains represent an
additional load on the underlying asthenosphere and if the ﬂexural ri-
gidity of the lithosphere is moderately high, the isostatic response
would be subsidence in the surrounding areas which might not have
been subject to the mountain building process. Is this a viable explana-
tion for the observed coupling?
Let us consider a very simple model characterized by the addition of
asemi-inﬁnite step of height, h, to a uniformly thick lithosphere (Fig. 22,
A), which is locally very strong but isostatically supported. Imagine
unit width of step and, next to it, unit width of pre-step lithosphere.
Suppose the combination would sink by a distance, k, in response to
the load (Fig. 22, B), assuming that the densities of crust and mantle
are 2.8 Mg m
and 3.3 Mg m
is given by the thickness, k, of mantle above C. The excess load in B is
that of the step, h, of crust. The width of excess mantle in A is two units,
whereas the width of the step in b is 1 unit. Thus, in balancing the loads:
3:32k¼2:8h;from which h ¼2:35 k
where k is the tectonic subsidence. The uplift, u, is h −k=2.35k−k=
1.35 k or k = 0.74 u.
So, for this very simple model of a ﬂexurally strong lithosphere, the
uplift is somewhat greater than the accompanying neighbouring subsi-
dence. As the ﬂexural rigidity of the lithosphere decreases, the amount
of tectonic subsidence would also decrease, to zero, if the ﬂexural rigid-
In the real example from the eastern Mediterranean region consid-
ered in this paper, the rates of uplift and tectonic subsidence are broadly
comparable suggesting that some variant of the model proposed is ad-
missible. The maximum tectonic subsidence rates in the Cilicia Basin
equal the uplift rate, but the average, over the basin, is lower, more in
line with expectation from the model.
The means by which the step is added in mountain building is usu-
ally by a combination of igneous additions, and contraction manifest
in a fold-thrust belt. This would require that the dominant thrusts
must tip between the Taurus Mountains and the Cilicia Basin. Thrusting
is evident in many such areas, but in the Cilicia Basin the dominant de-
formation in the Pliocene and Quaternary is extension and/or strike-slip
faulting. However, seismic reﬂection proﬁles show that the amount of
vertical displacement across the extensional faults is only a small frac-
tion of the total downward displacement of, say, the M-reﬂector. Be-
tween the faults, the reﬂectors dip steadily toward the basin. This may
indicate that the down-warping is by folding, perhaps in a fold-thrust
structure. Previous publications (Aksu et al., 2005a,b; Calon et al.,
2005a,b; Hall et al., 2005a,b) have suggested that the forearc basins of
the Cyprus arc, Cilicia, Latakia, and Cyprus Basins formed above a linked
southerly-verging thrust system rooted below the Taurus Mountains. If
this is so, then the Cilicia Basin is not entirely external to the mountain-
building deformational system, so the picture is more complicated than
our simple ﬁrst-order calculations suggest. Such thrust loads often re-
sult in asymmetrical foreland-like basins: the Outer Cilicia Basin has a
Pliocene–Quaternary ﬁll that is asymmetrical: thicker in the north and
tapering towards Cyprus in the south, so some similarity with the
form of a foreland basin is present.
Some alternative mechanisms for the matching of uplift and subsi-
dence rates are less credible. If the Turkish continental slope north of
the Cilicia Basin had formed by extension, the dominant result would
be subsidence in the basin withthe possibility of an uplift of the footwall
as an isostatic response to the extension (Lister et al., 1991), but the size
of that uplift would be small. The suggestion that the uplift of the Mut
Basin might be attributable to the collision of Eratosthenes Seamount
at the convergent plate margin south of Cyprus (Schildgen et al.,
2012b) ignores the evidence of Cilicia Basin subsidence presented
here and in earlier work (Aksu et al., 2005a,b; Calon et al., 2005a,b;
Hall et al., 2005a,b). There is no doubtthat strike-slip systems are a sig-
niﬁcant feature of the eastern margins of the Aegean–Anatolian Micro-
plate, and there is good evidence of transpression and transtension
in the area, including within the Cilicia Basin. Yet, the combination
of uplift and adjacent subsidence in roughly corresponding
18 S. Walsh-Kennedy et al. / Tectonophysics xxx (2014) xxx–xxx
amounts would require a gratuitous coincidence of displacement
formed by adjacent systems of transpression and transtension. An
additional possibility, that the uplift of Mut Basin and the subsi-
dence of the Cilicia Basin be attributed to slab break-off (Gögüs
and Pysklywec, 2008) seems to have some potential relevance,
though the maximum rate of change of uplift with distance (see
their Fig. 2B at 1.2 m.y.) is on the order of 1 in 100 (i.e., 1 km in
100 km). In our study the rate of change in the uplift of the Mut
Basin versus the subsidence Cilicia Basin is much greater —1in4.
Furthermore many of their models (see their Fig. 3) do not indicate
absolute subsidence, anywhere near the amplitude we see in the
Cilicia Basin. It is also not certain that the mantle slab has detached
here although it may be torn (Biryol et al., 2011): the Arabian
down-going slab to the east has detached, the sub-Aegean African
slab to the west has not: the picture in between of the African
slab below the Aegean–Anatolian microplate is unclear.
While the location of the structures responsible for differential uplift
in the Mut Basin and the subsidence in the Cilicia Basin remains largely
hidden, crustal thickening to generate the Central Tauride Mountains
and a corresponding subsidence of the Cilicia Basin driven by an isostat-
ic response to the loading created by the mountains is an attractive
process. In adjacent parts of the eastern Mediterranean, thrusting of
the Taurides has been observed in onland boreholes and used to explain,
by loading, the adjacent deep offshore basins, e.g. Rhodes (Hall et al.,
2009) and Finike Basin (Aksu et al., 2009). Furthermore the offshore ba-
sins south of Turkey show good evidence of contraction in the Pliocene–
Quaternary (Aksu et al., 2005a,b; Hall et al., 2005a,b; Işler et al., 2005)
and may be linked to the contraction observed across the Kyrenia
range in northern Cyprus (Calon et al., 2005a,b). We have previously
regarded these structures as part of a system deeply rooted to the
We thank the Ofﬁcers, crew and scientiﬁc personnel of the RV Koca
Piri Reis for their assistance in data acquisition. Special thanks are ex-
tended to the Turkish Petroleum Corporation for kindly providing
paper copies of their multichannel seismic proﬁles and well informa-
tion. We acknowledge research funds from theNatural Sciences and En-
gineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to Aksu and Hall, and
contributions from the Ofﬁce of the Vice-President Research a t Memori-
al University of Newfoundland. Seismic data were processed at Memo-
rial University of Newfoundland, using the ProMAX™software donated
by Landmark Graphics. Assistance with data processing was provided
by Sharon Deemer. OSXBackstrip developer Nestor Cardozo is acknowl-
edged for generous provision of this freeware to the geosciences com-
munity. We thank two anonymous journal reviewers for their
valuable comments on the manuscript.
Aksu, A.E., Calon, T.J., Piper, D.J.W., Turgut, S., Izdar, E.K., 1992a. Architecture of late oro-
genic basins in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Tectonophysics 210, 191–213.
Aksu, A.E.,Uluğ, A., Piper, D.J.W., Konuk, T.,Turgut, S., 1992b. Quaternarysedimentary his-
tory of Adana, Cilicia and Iskenderun Basins, northeast MediterraneanSea. Mar. Geol.
Aksu, A.E., Calon, T.J., Hall, J., Mansﬁeld, S., Yaşar, D., 2005a. The Cilicia–Adana Basin com-
plex, Eastern Mediterranean: Neogene evolution of an active fore-arc basin in an
obliquely convergent margin. Mar. Geol. 221, 121–159.
Fig. 21. Geological map of the Central Taurus Mountains and its surroundings. Simpliﬁed and redrawn from Blumenthal (1963) and Erentöz and Ternek (1962).
Fig. 22. Cartoon showing a lithosphere (A) consisting of crust with speciﬁc gravity of 2.8
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