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Atlas MEBE - Palaeotectonic Maps of the Middle East (MEBE Program)

14 maps (54 x 48 cm)
Scale at Equator : 1:18 500 000
Mercator projection
CCGM-CGMW © 2008
Authors : Eric Barrier & Bruno Vrielynck (CNRS-Université Pierre et Marie Curie)

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The Middle East Basins Evolution Programme (MEBE) was a 4-years consortium composed of major oil companies (BP, ENI, PETRONAS, SHELL, TOTAL) and research organizations (INSU-CNRS, UPMC). MEBE drove together a group of scientists whose expertise includes several domains of tectonics (structural analysis, palaeostress reconstruction, subsidence modelling), stratigraphy (palaeontology, sequence stratigraphy, sedimentology, organic matter analysis), petrography, kinematics, and geophysics towards a common objective: characterizing the major tectonic events and establishing an accurate timing of tectonic evolution of the Middle-East domain since Mesozoic.

From 2003 to 2007, 26 scientific projects were funded in 14 countries of the Middle East, including Black-Sea, Caucasus, Northern Iran, Zagros, Arabian margins and Levant domains. Each scientific team included European and local scientists. About 300 scientists from 28 countries, representing 100 Universities and Research Organizations, were involved in the MEBE programme. The final 2-days meeting was held at the UPMC in December 2007 and gathered 150 participants. The results of the Programme were presented through 70 communications, dealing with Middle East geology.

The published MEBE products results will be (1) 4 regional GSL special issues (Black Sea-Caucasus, South Caspian-Central Iran, Zagros, Levant margin), and (2) an atlas of 14 palaeotectonic maps showing the geodynamic and tectonic evolutions of the Middle East since Late Triassic.

Our palinspastic reconstruction starts after the end of the Eo-Cimmerian orogeny in Late Triassic. Two major periods are distinguished: pre- and post-Eurasia-Arabia collision. The palaeotectonic maps are based on an up-to-date kinematics reconstruction of Africa-Arabia with respect to Eurasia. For 14 time-slices the maps display (1) the major tectonic features, including rifts, various types of basins, major mountain ranges and fold belts, main transcurrent faults, subduction zones, accretionary prisms...., and (2) the main palaeofacies.

Concerning the age and origins of the major tectonic events for the palinspastic reconstruction we selected several hypotheses. For the pre-collision period we assume that:
(1) until the Arabia-Eurasia collision, a northward subduction of the Neo-Tethyan ocean beneath the southern Eurasian margin developed for about 170 Ma;
(2) the East Mediterranean basin opened in Jurassic following a Triassic rifting;
(3) in the northern Arabian margin, grabens opened in Senonian during the Peri-Arabian ophiolite obduction;
(4) back-arc and marginal basins opened in the Eurasian margin between Jurassic and Mid-Cretaceous (Black Sea Basins, Great Caucasus Basin, South Caspian Basin, Central Iranian Basins) in relationship with the Neo-Tethyan subduction;
(5) short regional compressions originating inversions of basins and margins occurred in Mid-Jurassic, Early Cretaceous, and uppermost Cretaceous-Palaeogene.

For the collisional period we hypothesized that:
(1) the first compressional deformations related to the Arabia-Eurasia collision appeared in Late Eocene;
(2) this early stage of the collision involved only the Eurasian and Arabian margins and lasted until Early Miocene;
(3) continent-continent collision started in Neogene, originating the main orogenic belts of the Middle East (i.e. mainly Caucasus-Alborz, southern Turkey, Zagros ranges).

Contributeurs :
F. Bergerat (CNRS-UPMC), M.-F. Brunet (CNRS-UPMC), J. Mosar (University of Fribourg, Switzerland), A. Poisson (Marcoussis, France) and M.Sosson (Géosciences Azur, France)

Design and layout :
J.-F. Brouillet (CNRS-UPMC) & D. Pasquier (UPMC)

  • Length 30.5 cm
  • Width 21.7 cm
  • Depth 1.8 cm
  • Weight 0.575 kg
  • Scale 1:18 500 000