The Rhodope Metamorphic Province in Bulgaria and Northern Greece has been affected by significant extensional tectonics since the Middle to Late Eocene. An important fault system active in the Eocene and Early Oligocene includes the Ribnovo Fault on the eastern side of the Mesta Basin in Bulgaria and the Vertiskos-Kerdilion Fault in Greece. Together with several minor normal fault relicts identified during this study, these represent an originally west-southwest-dipping, low-angle (at least at the end of faulting) normal fault with greenschist-facies mylonites in the footwall and cataclasites along the fault plane, the Mesta-Kerdilion Detachment, exposed over ca. 150. km along strike and about 50. km parallel to the slip direction. During the intrusion of several plutons in the Pirin Mountains at ca. 32. Ma, the footwall of the fault was uplifted to form a large anticline parallel to fault strike, and the fault was offset by a system of antithetic, northeast-dipping normal faults along the northeastern flank of this anticline (Dobrotino and Breznitsa faults). The Mesta-Kerdilion Detachment was later, in the Miocene, again crosscut and offset by the southwest-dipping Strimon Valley Detachment which accommodated important, core complex-like exhumation to the South, strongly diminishing and finally ceasing towards north. This rotational activity of the Strimon Valley Detachment represents the onset of the extension that led to opening of the Aegean Basin. The Mesta-Kerdilion Detachment can be viewed as a precursor of this, but with slightly different kinematics (i.e. not involving significant vertical-axis rotation) and separated in time from the following events by a phase of relative tectonic quiescence in the Late Oligocene. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.
Georgiev, N., Pleuger, J., Froitzheim, N., Sarov, S., Jahn-Awe, S., & Nagel, T. J. (2010). Separate Eocene-Early Oligocene and Miocene stages of extension and core complex formation in the Western Rhodopes, Mesta Basin, and Pirin Mountains (Bulgaria). Tectonophysics, 487(1–4), 59–84. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tecto.2010.03.009