- © 2007 Cambridge University Press
The Troodos ophiolite in Cyprus and Baer–Bassit ophiolite in Syria together form part of the Tethyan ophiolite belt. They were generated in a supra-subduction zone setting in Late Cretaceous times. As with many of the ophiolite occurrences in this belt, the sequences are closely associated with tectonic ‘coloured mélange’ zones, which contain, among a variety of lithologies, metre- to kilometre- size blocks of metamorphic rocks. Precise 40Ar–39Ar laser step-heating experiments performed on four amphibolites from SW Cyprus and six from NW Syria, yield plateau ages ranging from 75.7 ± 0.3 Ma to 88.9 ± 0.8 Ma in Cyprus and 71.7 ± 0.5 to 88.4 ± 0.4 Ma in Syria. The older limits of these time spans are coeval with the age of the formation of the associated ophiolites. Unlike other metamorphic sole rocks which seem to form in relatively short time spans, these metamorphic rocks found in Cyprus and Syria are interpreted to have formed in Late Cretaceous times by accretion below the overriding Troodos and Baer–Bassit crust for a period of 15–18 Ma. The metamorphic complexes were exhumed by extension and crustal thinning associated with subduction roll-back and the rotation of the overriding plate until the cessation of subduction in Maastrichtian times. In Cyprus, the exhumed metamorphic complex was incorporated into an accretionary prism constructed primarily of the collapsed Mamonia passive margin sequence intercalated with rocks of the Troodos ophiolite during plate collision in the Maastrichtian. Concomitantly, in Syria, the Baer–Bassit ophiolite and subcreted metamorphic complex were emplaced onto the Arabian passive margin and fragmented into blocks and knockers, forming the Baer–Bassit mélange.