The present kinematics in the eastern Mediterranean and Middle East is now well constrained by GPS measurements and dominated by a circular counterclockwise motion. While Arabia rotates rigidly, the rotational velocities increase from the Levant to Aegea, causing extension in western Anatolia. We place the present pattern in light of the post–Middle Miocene geological history and propose that in addition to the effects of the Hellenic subduction and Zagros collision-subduction zones on driving the surface motion, an underlying asthenospheric flow is also required. This counterclockwise toroidal flow is expected to exist around the eastern edge of the African slab owing to subduction rollback, and it helps explain the initiation of the North Anatolia Fault, the extrusion and uplift of Anatolia, and the Mid-Miocene to Recent volcanism in eastern Anatolia. The Afar plume had a similar effect on the acceleration of Arabia at 40 Mya.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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