Mesozoic to Tertiary tectonic history of the Mirdita ophiolites, northern Albania



Abstract  In this paper, a summary of the tectonic history of the Mirdita ophiolitic nappe, northern Albania, is proposed by geological and structural data. The Mirdita ophiolitic nappe includes a subophiolite mélange, the Rubik complex, overlain by two ophiolite units, referred to as the Western and Eastern units. Its history started in the Early Triassic with a rifting stage followed by a Middle to Late Triassic oceanic opening between the Adria and Eurasia continental margins. Subsequently, in Early Jurassic time, the oceanic basin was affected by convergence with the development of a subduction zone. The existence of this subduction zone is provided by the occurrence of the supra-subduction-zone-related magmatic sequences found in both the Western and Eastern units of the Mirdita ophiolitic nappe. During the Middle Jurassic, continuous convergence resulted in the obduction of the oceanic lithosphere, in two different stages – the intraoceanic and marginal stages. The intraoceanic stage is characterized by the westward thrusting of a young and still hot section of oceanic lithosphere leading to the development of a metamorphic sole. In the Late Jurassic, the marginal stage developed by the emplacement of the ophiolitic nappe onto the continental margin. During this second stage, the emplacement of the ophiolites resulted in the development of the Rubik complex. In the Early Cretaceous, the final emplacement of the ophiolites was followed by the unconformable sedimentation of the Barremian–Senonian platform carbonate. From the Late Cretaceous to the Middle Miocene, the Mirdita ophiolitic nappe was translated westward during the progressive migration of the deformation front toward the Adria Plate. In the Middle to Late Miocene, a thinning of the whole nappe pile was achieved by extensional tectonics, while the compression was still active in the westernmost areas of the Adria Plate. On the whole, the Miocene deformations resulted in the uplift and exposition of the Mirdita ophiolites as observed today.