From ocean depths to mountain tops: Uplift of the Troodos ophiolite (Cyprus) constrained by low-temperature thermochronology and geomorphic analysis Academic Article uri icon


  • The timing and mode of uplift of the Troodos ophiolite are constrained by low-temperature thermochronology combined with geomorphic analysis. Zircon (U-Th)/He and apatite fission track cooling ages in the Troodos plutonic sequence are all Cretaceous (83–106 Ma) and within error of published zircon U-Pb crystallization ages. This indicates early cooling of the oceanic crust and termination of spreading axis magmatism at ~90 Ma. Apatite (U-Th)/He ages decrease with reconstructed crustal depths from ~40 Ma near the top of the sheeted-dike complex to ~4 Ma within the mantle sequence. A prominent inflection point in the age versus depth curve defines the bottom of the exhumed helium partial retention zone and records the onset of rapid exhumation of the main Troodos massif at 6 ± 2 Ma. Inverse thermal modeling supports this conclusion, indicating that the timing of uplift is earlier than previously estimated. The boundaries of the mantle sequence exposed in the core of the Troodos structure closely overlap the boundaries of a concentric zone delineated by high local relief and higher channel steepness indices, indicating differential exhumation and uplift of this area relative to its surroundings. This zone also overlaps with a prominent negative Bouguer gravity anomaly. The timing and pattern of the Troodos ophiolite uplift suggest that it is driven by serpentinite diapirism, possibly triggered by Miocene reactivation of subduction along the Cyprean Arc. The worldwide ubiquity of suprasubduction zone ophiolites may thus reflect the importance of extensive serpentinization at the overthrusting mantle wedge in obduction processes.

publication date

  • January 1, 2016