The Hercynian Geanticline of Helez and the Late Palaeozoic history of the Levant

Gdaliahu Gvirtzman, Tuvia Weissbrod

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The presence of a large structure of Late Palaeozoic age has been deduced from analysis of Palaeozoic columnar sections from the Levant countries, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria. This structure, which was uplifted and truncated in two phases, pre-Carboniferous and pre-Permian, is here termed the Geanticline of Helez and is related to Hercynian movements. Permian to Triassic sediments overlie the Precambrian basement at its crest, whereas on the flanks of the structure, Palaeozoic sediments from Cambrian to Carboniferous in age wedge out gradually towards the culmination. Similar Hercynian geanticlines are known from the Hazro-Singar area near the Syrian-Turkish border, from Ennedi- Al Awaynat near the Libyan-Egyptian-Sudanese border, as well as elsewhere in North Africa. The culmination of the structure, some 500 km in diameter, extends over a large area of Israel, Sinai and Jordan. The flanks of the geanticline, originally dome-shaped, could be identified only in three directions. The missing northwestern flank, dipping towards the southeastern corner of the Mediterranean Sea, was probably removed during rifting and spreading from Late Triassic to Late Cretaceous times and may be located today in the Antalya area or elsewhere in Turkey. Its original location is today occupied by the Mesozoic basaltic ocean-floor of the Neo-Tethys, which is assumed to underlie the Levantine Basin of the Mediterranean.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-186
Number of pages10
JournalGeological Society Special Publication
StatePublished - 1984
Externally publishedYes


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