Cretaceous-Neogene tectonic evolution of the northern margin of the Black Sea from seismic reflection data and tectonic subsidence analysis

O. Khriachtchevskaia*, S. Stovba, R. Stephenson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Three fundamental stages of the Cretaceous-Neogene tectonic evolution of the Odessa Shelf and Azov Sea (northern margins of western and eastern Black Sea basins, respectively) have been documented from the analysis of reinterpreted regional seismic profiling and one-dimensional (1-D) subsidence analysis of 49 wells, for which the stratigraphic interpretation was recently revised. (1) An initial active rifting stage began within the Early Cretaceous (not later than Aptian-Albian times) and continued until the end of the Santonian in the Late Cretaceous (c. 128-83 Ma). A system of half-grabens with mainly south-dipping normal faults developed on the Odessa Shelf at this time. The most profound faulting, accompanied by volcanic activity, occurred in the NE-SW orientated Karkinit-Gubkin rift basin at the boundary between the Eastern European and Scythian platforms. The footwalls of half-grabens were exposed above sea level and subject to erosion at this time. Active extensional processes affected the western part of Azov Sea and, while the onset and cessation of these cannot be tightly constrained, they are compatible with the well constrained results from the Odessa Shelf. (2) The second tectonic stage is one of passive post-rift thermal subsidence that lasted from the Campanian (Late Cretaceous) until the end of the Middle Eocene (83-38.6 Ma). (3) The third stage of basin evolution is one of inversion tectonics in a compressional setting. Discrete inversion events occurred at the end of the Middle Eocene, during the Late Eocene, during the Early Miocene and at Middle Miocene times (c. 38.6 Ma, c. 35.4 Ma, c. 16.3 Ma, c. 10.4 Ma, respectively) and typical inversion structures developed on the Odessa Shelf, some parts of which were uplifted and significantly eroded (down to the Lower Cretaceous succession). The southern part of the Azov Sea, opening into the northernmost eastern Black Sea basin, subsided rapidly during this time; thereafter, until the Quaternary, rapid subsidence was limited to its southeastern part, which was incorporated into the Indolo-Kuban foreland basin of the Greater Caucasus orogen.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-157
Number of pages21
JournalGeological Society Special Publication
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2010


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