Deep Drilling Project in the Forearc of the Hellenic Subduction Zone

Tectonic evolution and mechanics in the extending forearc

The Hellenic forearc, Eastern Mediterranean, Greece, is a well constrained example of a retreating subduction zone, at the present day as well as for the past 30 Ma. The roll back is accommodated by extension in the frontal part of the upper plate. A scientific program is suggested that comprises several drillholes into the forearc, on Crete and offshore to the south and southwest of the island, in order to unravel the present physical state and the tectonic history of the forearc. The mechanics of this process are poorly understood, as are the crustal structure of the present forarc, the nature of the backstop to the accretionary Mediterranean Ridge, the extent of wedging of sediments between upper and lower plate in the shallowly dipping frontal part of the subduction zone, and the coupling between the plates as a fundamental problem.

Read more