Rate of strike-slip motion on the Amanos Fault (Karasu Valley, southern Turkey) constrained by K-Ar dating and geochemical analysis of Quaternary basalts
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The left-lateral Amanos Fault follows a similar to 200-km-long and up to similar to 2-km-high escarpment that bounds the eastern margin of the Amanos mountain range and the western margin of the Karasu Valley in southern Turkey, just east of the northeastern corner of the Mediterranean Sea. Regional kinematic models have reached diverse conclusions as to the role of this fault in accommodating relative motion between either the African and Arabian, Turkish and African, or Turkish and Arabian plates. Local studies have tried to estimate its slip rate by K-Ar dating Quaternary basalts that erupted within the Amanos Mountains, flowed across it into the Karasu Valley, and have since become offset. However, these studies have yielded a wide range of results, ranging from similar to 0.3 to similar to 15 mm, a(-1), which do not allow the overall role and significance of this fault in accommodating crustal deformation to be determined. We have used the Cassignol K-Ar method to date nine Quaternary basalt samples from the vicinity of the southern part of the Amanos Fault. These basalts exhibit a diverse chemistry, which we interpret as a consequence varying degrees of partial melting of their source combined with variable crustal contamination. This dating allows us to constrain the Quaternary slip rate on the Amanos fault to similar to 1.0 to similar to 1.6 mm a(-1). The dramatic discrepancies between past estimates of this slip rate are partly due to technical difficulties in K-Ar dating of young basalts by isotope dilution. In addition, previous studies at the key locality of Hacilar have unwittingly dated different, chemically distinct, flow units of different ages that are juxtaposed. This low slip rate indicates that, at present, the Amanos Fault takes up a small proportion of the relative motion between the African and Arabian plates, which is transferred southward to the Dead Sea Fault Zone. It also provides strong evidence against the long-standing view that its slip continues offshore to the southwest along a hypothetical left-lateral fault zone located south of Cyprus. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.