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The effects of linear coarse-grained slope channel bodies on the orientations of fold developments: A case study from the Middle Eocene-Lower Oligocene Kırkgeçit Formation, Elazığ, eastern

Turkish Journal of Earth Sciences
http://journals.tubitak.gov.tr/earth/

Research Article

Turkish J Earth Sci
(2013) 22: 320-338
© TÜBİTAK
doi:10.3906/yer-1202-5

The effects of linear coarse-grained slope channel bodies on the orientations of fold
developments: a case study from the Middle Eocene-Lower Oligocene Kırkgeçit
Formation, Elazığ, eastern Turkey
Hasan ÇELİK*
Department of Geological Engineering, Engineering and Architecture Faculty, Bozok University, Yozgat, Turkey
Received: 06.02.2012

Accepted: 14.08.2012

Published Online: 27.02.2013


Printed: 27.03.2013

Abstract: A significant magnitude of tectonic feature deflection away from the principal stress direction was investigated. This was
caused by oblique spatial orientation of coarse-grained sediment bodies, principally large conglomerate and sand-filled deep-water
slope channels, in an otherwise mud-rich sedimentary section. After detailed mapping and field work to find the cause of this localised
fold axis deflection, superbly exposed conglomerate and sand filled deep-water slope channel bodies were found both in and/or next to
the core of the folds with the same spatial orientation as the folds. It was concluded that the channel bodies are effectively dictating the
orientations of the tectonic structures such as bedding attitude, fold axis orientation, and both trend and location of shearing fractures
are related to the folds. It was interpreted that fold growth and propagation have been controlled by the channel orientation within the
stratigraphy in this study. The implications of this study urge inclusion of sedimentary body mapping as part of all structural geology
work. Conversely, mapping of fold orientation in detail in three-dimensions on seismic data, from subsurface deep-water slopes with
hydrocarbon potential, may reveal a direct association between fold axes and the location of coarse-grained reservoir bodies within
otherwise low net:gross (muddy) deep water sections. This is a case study in this subject which may also possibly lead to examination of
other currently unpublished outcrops and subsurface examples such as the Alikayası Canyon Member of the Tekir Formation in Maraş,
eastern Turkey and the Rehy Hill Channel in the Ross Sandstone Formation, Loop Head Peninsula (County Clare), western Ireland,
given in the discussion section.
Key Words: Linear channels, deep-water, muddy slope, fold deflection, Elazığ, Eastern Turkey

1. Introduction
Submarine channels have been a focus of significant
research efforts since their discovery in the 1940s on the
continental margins of North America (Menard 1995).
More recently they have been recognised as important
hydrocarbon reservoirs (McGee et al. 1994). Now they are
key architectural elements of submarine fans associated
with many of the world’s major river systems (Bouma et
al. 1985; Damuth et al. 1988; Schwenk et al. 2005). Many
of these settings are affected by thin-skinned gravitational
collapse, and are characterised by coeval sedimentation
and deformation (Clark & Cartwright 2009). Channel-fill
elements, together with terminal and intraslope fans and
crevasse splays, are exploration targets in buried turbidite
systems. Many of the reservoirs in recent discoveries off
West Africa consist of sinuous shoe-string, ribbon- and
pod-shaped sand bodies deposited within canyons and
valleys (Prather 2003; Gee & Gawthorpe 2006). Many
of the other systems are commonly described from such
*Correspondence: hasan.celik@bozok.edu.tr

320



settings, including the Niger Delta (Adeogba et al. 2005;
Heinio & Davies 2007; Clark & Cartwright 2009), the Gulf
of Mexico (Weimer & Link 1991; Posamentier 2003) and
the Nile Delta (Samuel et al. 2003; Clark & Cartwright
2009), Brunei (Demyttenaere et al. 2000). Outcrop analysis,
seismic data, borehole and hydrocarbon production data
all show that many deepwater channels have complex
internal fills, with multiple phases of erosion, bypass and
fill (Mutti & Normark 1987; Cronin 1994, Schwab et al.
2007). This complexity could be the result of external
factors, such as changes in sediment supply from the shelf,
climate and relative sea level (Cronin et al. 2000a, 2000b;
Posamentier & Kolla 2003; Cronin et al. 2005). It could
also be due to the dynamic nature of slopes, which are
complicated by active, growing structures such as faults,
folds, salt or mud diapirs and withdrawal basins, and also
knickpoint formation along a present-day channel thalweg
are due to fold growth (Cronin 1995; Heinio & Davies
2007).


ÇELİK / Turkish J Earth Sci
The aim of this study is to show that fold development
and resultant orientation in the Middle Eocene–Lower
Oligocene Kırkgeçit Formation has been controlled by the
previous orientation of coarse-grained linear channelised
sedimentary bodies in an otherwise low net:gross
(muddy) deep-water slope sequence. The channel body
orientations, and thus the fold axis orientations, are
oblique to the known regional directions of principal
compressive stress. This means that fold axis orientations
alone may be misleading to structural geologists who aim
to unravel these relationships. Also this will be a good case
study to open a new window for geoscientists to work on
similar outcrops like the Alikayası Canyon Member of
Tekir Formation, Maraş, eastern Turkey and the Rehy Hill
Channel in the Ross Sandstone Formation, Loop Head
Peninsula (County Clare), western Ireland, and other
subsurface relationships between channels and folds.
In previous studies, the interactions or relationships
between channel and folds show the effect of folds on
channel development. This is the first study in the literature
explaining the effect of the deep water channels on fold
development.
2. Geological setting
Turkey is characterised by a very complex geology, and
consists of several continental fragments which were
combined into a single landmass in the late Cenozoic,
whose main features are still poorly understood despite
the increasing amount of geological data that have become
available in the last 25 years. The complex geology has

resulted in widely different views on the geological
evolution of Turkey. Every geological picture of Turkey
will therefore be a personal one and subject to future
modifications and corrections (Okay et al. 2006; Okay
2008). The study area is a good example of this complexity.
The study area (Figure 1) is situated in the eastern
part of the Tauride Orogenic Belt, one of the four major
tectonic subdivisions of Turkey, in the East Anatolian
Compressional Province (Ketin 1977).
The stratigraphy of the study area, shown in Figure 2
and Figure 3, ranges from latest Palaeozoic to Pliocene and
is described below.
Around Elazığ (Figure 1 and Figure 2) units ranging
from Permo-Triassic to Pliocene age crop out. In the
southern part of Figure 2, Jurassic–Lower Cretaceous
Guleman Ophiolites, the Upper Maastrichtian–Middle
Eocene Hazar Group and the Middle Eocene Maden Group
have no contact with the Middle Eocene–Lower Oligocene
Kırkgeçit Formation, which contains the channel deposits
influencing the fold developments. The Permo-Triassic
Keban Metamorphites (Figure 2 and Figure 3), forms one
of the basement units to the Cenozoic sediments. This
unit, consisting of marbles, calc-phyllites, calc-schists and
metaconglomerates, which have undergone amphibolitegreenschist facies metamorphism and been thrust over
younger formations (Turan & Bingöl 1991), is the oldest
unit in the Elazığ area.
The Senonian Elazığ Magmatic Complex (Turan et al.
1993) consists of very varied lithological components in
the Hakkari area (Figure 1), but has an orderly vertical

BULGARIA

BLACK

SEA

N.A.F. Z.

GEORGIA

GREECE

AR

M

EN

IA

Ankara
Erzincan

Sivas

Karliova

Study area
ELAZIĞ

.F.

E.A

Z.

Lake Van

B.S.Z

IRAN

TURKEY

Van

.

Maraş

Hakkari

IRAQ

y

in
Pl

ch
ren
o T
ab
r
t
S

N.A.F.Z.:
E.A.F.Z.:

Dead Sea Fault

Tr
enc

h

EASTERN
MEDITERRANEAN

Hatay

B.S.Z.:

SYRIA
North Anatolian Fault Zone
East Anatolian Fault Zone
Bitlis Suture Zone
Normal Fault

EXPLANATIONS
Suspected fault/fracture
Fold axial trace

N

Strike-slip fault
Thrust fault 0

50 100 km

Figure 1. Location map of the study area (modified from Şengör et al. 1985).

321


322

100 km

Elazığ

S EA

Baskil

Harami Formation
U. Maastrichtian

Metamorphites
Permo-Triassic

Guleman Ophiolites
Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous

Hazar Group
U. Maastrh.-M. Eocene

Keban

Elazığ Magmatics
Cenonian

Lak

zar
e Ha

Inclined
anticline axis

Anticline axis

Syncline axis

ake

am L

nD
Keba

study area

Seske Formation
U. Palaeocene-Lower Eocene

ELAZIĞ

Pertek

0

EAFZ

Thrust fault

East Anatolian
Fault Zone

Strike slip fault

10 km

FZ
EA

N

Palu

Figure 2. Geological map of the Elazığ area in eastern Turkey (mainly modified from Turan and Bingöl 1991). Note that the Kirkgeçit Formation crops out in an E–W
elongated basin.

Maden Group
M. Eocene

Lake

Karabakir Formation
U. Miocene-Lower Pliocene

Çaybağı Formation
U.Miocene-Pliocene?

Keban

Keban Dam

Kırkgeçit Formation
M. Eocene-Lower Oligocene

N

Plio-Quaternary
cover sediments

EXPLANATIONS

Ka
rak
aya
Dam
Lake

EASTERN
MEDITERRANEAN

TURKEY

Ankara

B LAC K

ÇELİK / Turkish J Earth Sci


Qu.

Tk

300
200

Ts
Kh

Medium to thick-bedded massive, algal and
benthonic foram-rich limestones: very
uncommon in Elazığ area

Massive, thick-bedded sandy
limestones:
Harput

Ky

100

Conglomerate and sand-filled entrenched
deep-water channel complexes at Hasret
Mountain

Basaltic lavas, micritic limestones,
granodiorites, tonalites, acid-basic suite,
granites; agglomerates to east of Hasretdağ

Pkm

KIRKGECIT
SESKE
HARAMI
ELAZIĞ
MAGMATIC
COMPLEX
KEBAN
METAMORPHICS

Upper Palaeocene
Lower Eocene

Senonian
Permo-Triassic

Conglomerate-filled canyons at Harput;

Marbles, recrystallised limestones,
schists

Nummulites tichteli MICHELOTTI
Borelis merici SIREL-GUNDUZ
Nummulites fabiani PREVER
Asterigerina rotula KAUFFMANN
Chapmanina gassiensis SILVESTRI
Halkyardia minima LIEBUS
Assilina of spira DE ROISSY
Globorotalia sp.
Globigerina sp.
Nummulitidae (?Ranikothalia)
Nummulitidae (Assilina)
Miscellana miscelia d'ARCHIAC
Kathina cf. subspaerica SIREL
Alveolina (Gromalveolina) primaeva REIO
Alveolinidae (Lacazina sp..)
Globotruncana sp. Discocyclina sp.
Orbitoides sp.
Rotaliidae
Marsonella sp.
Miliolidae
Sideroides sp.
Algae
Rotaria
Stomiosphaeria
Rudists

Deep water - Slope - Shelf

Shelf Calcarenites

43

Carbonate
Platform

Lacustrine Sediments

Reefal

KARABAKIR

Continental volcanics and volcanoclastics

CAYBAGI

Alluvium

Upper
Maastrichtian

M. Eocene - L. Oligocene U. Miocene - L. Pliocene

Fossils

Description

Sedimentary
Environment

Lithology

Symbol

Max. Thickness

Member

Formation

AGE

ÇELİK / Turkish J Earth Sci

Figure 3. Stratigraphy of the study area (modified from Özkul 1988).

sequence from gabbroic–dioritic plutonic rocks at the base,
through basaltic–andesitic volcanics, volcaniclastics and
granodioritic-tonalitic rocks at the top in the Elazığ area.
In the study area, the Elazığ Magmatic Complex (Figure
4) consists of basaltic lava flows, pillow lavas, pyroclastic
and volcanoclastic rocks cut by dykes and thrust over
the Kırkgeçit Formations around Elazığ (Figure 2). It
is unconformably overlain by the Upper Maastrichtian
Harami Formation, which crops out north-west of the study
area, starting with reddish conglomerate and coarse pebbly

sandstones at the base, passing upwards into recrystallised
massive limestones, particularly immediately north-east of
Elazığ (Naz 1979; Tuna 1979; Perinçek 1980a; Özkul 1982,
1988; Turan 1984, 1993; İnceöz 1994) shown in Figure 4.
The formation has been clearly affected by various tectonic
events since the Laramide between Maastrichtian and
Early Palaeocene, clearly manifest as shearing fractures in
the limestones (Figure 4).
The Kırkgeçit Formation (Middle Eocene-Lower
Oligocene), contains the channels, and is the one of the

323


ÇELİK / Turkish J Earth Sci

Karataş

Kemd

Tk

Alotunbasi Hill.

Tkab

30

Çenge Hill

1600 m
1405 m

Ankuzubaba Hill

1650 m

Kilorik Hill

KARADAĞ

Kh

Kemb

Tk

Sağırkarı Hill

47

1522

Kh

Oymaagaç

23

Tk

28

Tk

35

Yedigöz

Tk

A

30
23

58

EXPLANATIONS

Akderebaşı Hill.

Dip and strike

+_

19

_+
+

12
22

+_

+
__
+
_

5

2

_
+

22

20

14

4

+

te
era
glom
Basal con

Tk
20

17

Anticline axis

Basalt, Tkab

Calcaranite

Harami Formation, Kh
(U. Maastrichtian)

Channels

Kemb
Basalt, andesite

Shale,Tk

Elazig Magmatics
(Senonian)

Caliche,Tkac

Kirkgeçit Formation
(M.Eocene -Lower Oligocene)

A'

A'
Karabakir Formation
(U. Miocene-Lower Pliocene)

Cross section line
in Figure 7b

_
+
+
_

_

3

_

Village

A

15

15

+

15

25

+
_+

12

_+

17

+ _
+

Landslide

Location of Figure7a

1621

_
+

_

+

Paleocurrent direction

Monocline axis

12

Hasret Mnt. _

_
+

21

20

+_

_

Gravity fault

Syncline axis

22

18

_

+

+

_

32

24

Channel location number

2

1

_
+

Tk

18

+_

Fracture
+

+
_

+_

Figure7a

Thrust fault

10

10

1403

Vertical bedding
30

Tk

20

38

Kemb

Tkac

_

16

42

30

62

43

+

44

Tk

N

Kemd
Dioritic rocks
0

500 m

Figure 4. Geological map of Hasret Mountain and nearby areas (expanded and modified from Cronin et al. 2000a, 2000b). The
geology from the northern part of Oymaağaç in the map is from İnceöz (1994). A-A’ cross section is in Figure 7b.

most widespread units in the Eastern Taurus region. The
type locality for the formation is around Kırkgeçit village
near Van (a city in the far east of Turkey, Figure 1), and
was first named by Perinçek (1979a). In the Elazığ region

324

the unit covers an E–W oriented area about 40 km wide
and 100 km long (Figure 4, grey outcrops) and has been
the subject of many studies (Perinçek 1979a, 1980a;
Tuna 1979; Naz 1979; Özkul 1982, 1988; Turan 1984,


ÇELİK / Turkish J Earth Sci
1993; İnceöz 1994; Cronin et al. 2000a, 2000b; Cronin et
al. 2007a, 2007b). The Kırkgeçit Basin around Elazığ is
confined by approximately E–W oriented block faults, so
the basin extends in an E–W direction, as shown in Figure
8a.
The Kırkgeçit Formation overlies the Elazığ Magmatic
Complex and the Harami Formation with angular
unconformity (Figure 3) in the Elazığ region. The Kırkgeçit
Formation was overthrust by the Elazığ Magmatic
Complex to the north of the study area. It is interpreted
as having been deposited in a back-arc setting, behind
the Permo-Triassic Bitlis Massif (Aksoy & Tatar 1990).
Block-faulting on the northern and southern margins of
the Kırkgeçit Basin is thought to have occurred within an
extensional regime, caused by subduction of the Arabian
plate under the Anatolian plate (Özkul 1988). Subduction
is thought to have occurred in several phases, as indicated
by vertical and lateral facies changes east of Elazığ (Turan
1984).
The Kırkgeçit Formation in the Elazığ region consists
of a basal conglomerate, overlain by a deep-water facies
which has been interpreted as a slope apron in the east and a
distally-steepening, mud-prone submarine ramp 70 km to
the west, both propagating from an E–W orientated, south
facing, steep, backarc basin margin (Cronin et al. 2000a,
2000b). These facies are overlain, locally disconformably,
by shelf facies.

In the study area the slope and shelf sequence of the
back arc basin are exposed east of the city of Elazığ, in
badlands on the western slope of Hasret Mountain (Figure
2 and Figure 4). The badlands sink area is 3 km wide
and 6 km long, dissected by one trunk wadi and further
dissected by a dense network of smaller wadis that drain
the mountain. The badlands are surrounded on three sides
by younger Kırkgeçit Formation shelf facies (Figure 4),
which prograded over the deep-water slope sequence from
the north and east. The formation is in unconformable
contact with the Elazığ Magmatic Complex basement
rocks (Cronin et al. 2000a, 2000b).
A geological map of Hasret Mountain area is shown
in Figure 4. In the southern half of the figure, in the
main area of this study, five channel localities are seen.
Northern channel localities are not subject of this study
since they were highly affected by the thrust and lost
their initial relationships with the folds. These are nested
in a background of shale and capped by muddy debris
flow and slump deposits (mass transport complexes, or
MTCs), shales and shelf facies. Palaeocurrents within the
channel bodies are towards the south–south-west. These
palaeocurrents change to west–south-west near the contact
with the Elazığ Magmatic Complex at Channel 4 (Figure 4
and Figure 5). The MTCs form packages up to 30 m thick,
composed of massive mudstones with scattered cobbles,
boulders and olistoliths of intra- and extra-basinal material

Elazığ Magmatics
(Senonian)

+_

RY

1

A
UT

Y

IB

TR

Kırkgeçit Formation
(M.Eocene - Lower Oligocene)

1

Channels

Hasret Mnt.

Channel location number

1621

5

N

M

2

EL

N
AN

N

AI

3

0

2

U

IB

TR

2

R
TA

CH

4

500 m
Elazığ Magmatics
(Senonian)

Figure 5. Interpretation of planform geometry of the Kirkgeçit Formation deep water
slope channels related to the folds. The channels form a tributary system (modified from
Cronin et al. 2000a, 2000b).

325


ÇELİK / Turkish J Earth Sci
(Figure 7b), and extend laterally for several kilometres,
making them useful lithostratigraphic markers. Deepwater sandstone sheet facies are correlatable as packages
of tabular sandstones (Figure 7b) with lateral extents of
up to several hundreds of metres over all of the channels:
all channels and sheets are found within the same narrow
stratigraphic interval (Cronin et al. 2000a, 2000b).
The coarse-grained channel bodies were highly affected
by synsedimentary tectonism and the effects are seen as
shearing fractures and gravity faults, particularly wellexposed at the Channel 1 locality (Figure 4). Also folds are
seen in the study area and are associated with the channel
orientations.
Correlation of the channel bodies by tracing fill
packages laterally, GPS mapping and aerial photographs
have resolved three separate channel complexes. These
channel complexes are interpreted to have been active at
the same time, from their stratigraphic relationships, and
the similarities between their multistorey fills (Figure 4 and
Figure 5). Previously, four channels were identified from
four exposures in this area, and called Channels 1-3 and
Channel 4, or the Main Channel (Özkul 1988). However,
more extensive mapping resolved three complexes
(Cronin et al. 2000a, 2000b). These complexes formed
an approximately syn-depositional tributary network on
a steep, deep-water slope (Figure 5). These deep-water
channels are very well exposed through the labyrinthine
modern wadis that dissect the western and eastern
slopes of Hasret Mountain, as are their related levees
and overbank complexes (including crevasse splays and
channel levee breach plugs). These have been described in
detail elsewhere (Cronin et al. 2000a, 2000b).
The youngest formation of the study area is the Upper
Miocene–Lower Pliocene Karabakır Formation which was
first described by Naz (1979) and the Çaybağı Formation
(Upper Miocene–Pliocene?, Türkmen 1991), subsequently
studied by various authors (Sungurlu et al. 1985) elsewhere
in the Elazığ area, and they rest with angular disconformity
on the older formations (Figure 3 and Figure 4).
3. Tectonic features of the study area
The eastern part of Turkey is a continuation of the
Alpine–Mediterranean Belt (Ketin 1977), and the presentday tectonic setting (Figure 1) is the result of continued
continental collision between the Arabian and Anatolian
plates, which began in the Middle Miocene. The Middle
Miocene is widely regarded as the start of Neotectonic
time in south-eastern Turkey (Şengör 1980; Şengör &
Yılmaz 1983; Şengör et al. 1985).
The exact movement direction of the Arabian plate
towards the Anatolian plate is controversial and it is
debated whether or not its movement is simply towards
the north (Şengör 1980; Şengör & Yılmaz 1983; Tatar 1987;

326

Aksoy & Tatar 1990). Şaroğlu and Yılmaz (1987) pointed
out that the Eastern Anatolian Fault has a dominantly dip
slip movement along the area between Maraş and Hatay
(Figure 1) and therefore the plate movement cannot be
towards the north but towards the north-east. Tatar (1987)
emphasised that there is a NNW direction of convergence
around Erzincan and Sivas (Figure 1) and a NNE direction
of convergence in the Elazığ area. The convergence
direction between the two plates was determined as N–S
by Aksoy and Tatar (1990) around the city of Van, further
to the east (Figure 1).
Closing of the Tethys Ocean by subduction in that
direction under the Anatolian Plate resulted in a final
continental collision between the Arabian and Anatolian
plates in the Middle Miocene (Arpat & Şaroğlu 1975;
Şengör 1980; Şengör & Yılmaz 1983; Yalçın 1985; Şaroğlu
& Yılmaz 1987; Aksoy & Tatar 1990; Turan 1993).
An approximately N–S directed compressional regime
was formed by continental collision in the Middle Miocene
in eastern Turkey. This N–S compressional regime
is indicated by crustal thickening by thrusting, E–W
directed fold axes, thrust faults (Figure 2 and Figure 6) and
intramontane basins, N–S directed tension fractures, and
by both NE–SW directed left-lateral and NW–SE directed
right lateral strike slip faults in the Eastern Anatolian area
(Şengör 1980; Şengör & Yılmaz 1983; Şaroğlu & Yılmaz
1987).
The controversial exact movement direction of the
Arabian plate towards the Anatolian plate discussed above
is derived from kinematic analysis of the tectonic structures,
such as shearing fractures, fold axes and bedding attitudes
(e.g. Tatar 1987; Aksoy & Tatar 1990; Turan 1993; Turan et
al. 1993). Since some of these structures are related to the
competent channel bodies in muddy slope sequences as in
the following sections, the structural works show different
movement directions.
As seen above, the direction of plate convergence is
controversial in this area, and that this paper attempts to
improve understanding of why the interpretation of the
direction of movement of the Arabian Plate relative to
the Anatolian Plate in the area has been so problematic,
since the principal compressive stress directions are
frequently measured for tectonically important areas, such
as around eastern Anatolia, by using obvious folds and
other structures such as those accessible outcrops around
Elazığ, Eastern Turkey. Conclusions from this important
local series of interrelationships between deep-water
sedimentary architecture and subsequent fold growth
and propagation may be drawn which have potentially
significant impact on studies of analogous areas at outcrop
and in the subsurface.
The orientation of the tectonic features in the study area
differ significantly from the general E–W trend of folds


ÇELİK / Turkish J Earth Sci
(Late Miocene-Present)

Pertek

Dam Lake

P
2

ELAZIĞ
3

Baskil

e
L ak

Sivrice

ar
Haz

P

5 km

Çaybağı town
4

Figure 11 Figure 12

Study area

1

0

5

3
out
(ab
t
l
au
nF
olia
t
a
n
tA
Eas

( Late Miocene-Present)

Ke

ban

N

Palu

)
my

Maden

Ergani

Figure 6. Simplified structural map showing relationship between general orientation of folds in Elazığ area and the study area. Main
arrows (P) represent the direction of the compression caused by convergence between Arabian and Anatolian plates.
a)

Shelfal Calcaranites

S

Mon
oclin
e axi
s
Slope Shales

N

A’
Channel-5

Sync
line
axis

Channel-1

Anti
clin

10

A

Slope Shales

20
32

10 m

PCD

e axi
s

10

b)
monocline

.

..
.

.. .

.. .
. .. . ...
....
... . . . . . .. .
. .. . . . .
Channel 5
...
.. ...... ..
1250
Channel 1
1200
Kırkgeçit Formation
(M. Eocene - Lower Oligocene)
1150
A 100 200 300400500 600700 m

.
.

..
... .. . .
. ..

.
. .. . . .

.

Channel

4

SSE
1400
1350

Basal conglomerate
. .. .
.
Elazığ Magmatics 1300
(Senonian) 1250

. .. .
. ... .. .
.
.
. .. . . . ..
..
. ........... .
. .. . .
.. .. . .. .. . . . .. .
. . . . . ..
.
............
.. . .
.
. ..

... ... ... .. ...

.

syncline

.

anticline
Slump Keklik debrites
Slope channel
. .. .
. . Shale overbank. .. .. .

.
.. . . .
.. . . ... . .. .
.
. ...... . .. .
. . . .. ..
.. . . ... . .
. .. .. .. .
.
... ...
. .

NNW
1400
1350
1300

1200
1150
A'

Figure 7. (a) A photo showing Channel 1, Channel 5 and related folds and attitudes; (b) A-A’ cross section (location of this section is
shown in Figure 2).

327


ÇELİK / Turkish J Earth Sci

a)

Kırkgeçit Formation
S
Harami Formation (M. Eocene-Lower Oligocene)
(U. Maastr.)

N

Keban Metamorphics
(Permo-Carb.)
Sea level
1

Elazığ Magmatics
(Senonian)

1
2

b)

1
2

2

Slope Channel Fills
Elazığ Basin
Main thrusts: Late Cretaceous - Early Paleocene (foreland basin setting)
Gravity faults: Eocene (back-arc basin setting)
A

atics
agm )
M
ğ
ı
n
Elaz enonia
(S

s

atic
Magm
Elazığ onian)
( Sen

+_
e)
n
cen
atio Oligo
m
r
or
it F owe
geç ne-L
k
r
Kı Eoce
.
(M

2

+_

Hasret Mnt.
1621

1
5

4

3

ain
(m

l)
ne
an
h
c

N

800 m

B

Thrust fault

c)
N

s
tic
ma
g
)
Ma ian
zığ non
a
l
E ( Se

Keban Metamorphics
(Permo-Carb.)

1500

Anticline axis

Syncline axis

Monocline axis

Folded area related to
the channels

Harami Formation
(U. Maastr.)

Shelfal calcarenites
Slope Channel Fills

S

2

1000

1

500

1

Elazığ Magmatics
(Senonian)
1
2

Late Miocene thrust faults.
Reactivated old thrust fault in the Middle Miocene (see a- 1 )

Kırkgeçit Formation
(M. Eocene-Lower Oligocene)
Elazığ Magmatics
(Senonian)

A

B

Figure 8. (a) Block diagram showing the palaeogeography of the Elazığ Basin during the late Middle Eocene. The dashed box represents
the studied section of the basin (modified from Cronin et al. 2005); (b) Simplified geological map of the study area; (c) An oblique
cross section of the channels and fold orientation along the A–B line in Figure 8b (Left part of the section represents the northern
continuation of the photo in b).

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ÇELİK / Turkish J Earth Sci
N

N
P1
(305°)

W

325

285

E

2

W

6

8

e: 1

ng

plu

4



E
115

234°

145

(125°)
P1

S
b. Vertical shearing fracture orientation in Channel-1 (n=40)

S
a. Bedding planes and fold orientations of the
study area (n=56)
P1
(340°)

N

P1
(330°)

15

N

305°

305

4

W

6

8

E

1

W

2

3

4

125
195

S

E

125°

S

(160°)
P1

c. Vertical shearing fracture orientation in slope channel
overbank (rib) (n=28)

(150°)
P1

d. Vertical shearing fractures in shelfal calcarenite (n=28)

Figure 9. Interpretation of fold axis orientation, based on bedding attitudes (a) and principal stresses based on vertical shear fracture
orientations of various lithologies (b-d) of the Hasret Mountain area in stereonet and rose diagrams.

and general fractures in Eastern Anatolia described in
section 2. In Figure 6, the folds numbered 1 to 5 developed
in the Kırkgeçit Formation clearly have an approximate
E–W orientation. All the folds in the formation, including
in study area, developed at the same time during postOligocene compressional tectonism (Turan et al. 1993).
The folds in Figure 11 and Figure 12 deform the Upper

Miocene–Pliocene Çaybağı Formation (Türkmen 1991).
The orientation of the fold axes in the study area deviate
about 45° from the E–W directed fold axes found elsewhere
in an east–west section from Baskil–Elazığ–Palu, north
of Lake Hazar, which is located on the Eastern Anatolian
Fault (Figure 6).

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ÇELİK / Turkish J Earth Sci

P

P1

P2

Fold axis

P
P1

P2

Channel

P

Shearing fractures

P1

P

P1

P2

P

P2

Figure 10. Simplified model for relationship between maximum
principal stress (P) and the channels and fractures located in the
studied area (P1 and P2 are components of P).

3.1. Relationship between the channels and the folds
Two folds and one monocline are documented in this
study to illustrate the phenomenon of sediment bodycontrolled fold axis deflection (Figure 4 and Figure 7a,b).
The importance of these undocumented structures is that
the location and orientation of the fold axes mirror the
sedimentological orientation of the coarse-grained deep
water channels. The palaeogeography of the northern
basin slope is shown in Figure 8a. The folds in the
Kırkgeçit Formation, with axes shown in Figure 8b, have
been controlled by the channels.
Detailed mapping and measurement of the attitudes
of structural components in the study area showed that

Fold axis

Fold axis

East

Çaybağı town

Fold axis

channels and fold axes have a NE–SW trend (Figure
4, Figure 5 and Figure 8 a,b,c). Palaeocurrents within
Channel 1 (Figure 4) are from NE to SW. The Channel
1 location is exactly on the core of the anticline (Figure
7a,b). Channel 1 and the anticline (Figure 4 and Figure 8 a,
b, c) have a plunge of 12° towards the SW (Figure 9a). The
attitudes of the beds in Figure 4 and Figure 9a show that
this fold is an asymmetric anticline. Channel 1 is also cut
by several minor normal faults (Figure 4).
The second fold is an asymmetric syncline and its axis
is parallel to both the axes of Channel 1 and the anticline
(Figure 4 and Figure 7a,b). In Figure 4 it is seen that the
syncline is located between Channel 1 and Channel 5. This

Keb
an

Dam

Lake

A
B

West

1100

N (Plio-Quaternary
fluvial sediments)

S
(Plio-Quaternary
fluvial sediments)

1000

Çaybağı Formation
(U. Miocene-Pliocene?)

900

500 m
A

B

Figure 11. A Google Earth image showing overturned folds and an A–B cross section
in the Upper Miocene-Pliocene Çaybağı Formation west of Çaybağı town (the
location is in Figure 6).

330


ÇELİK / Turkish J Earth Sci
N

S

S

Çaybağı Formation
(U. Miocene-Pliocene?)

(Plio-Quaternary
fluvial sediments)

960

N

mud
ston
e, si
ltsto
ne
sand
ston
e

920
880
Hacısam Stream

Figure 12. Overturned fold in the Çaybağı Formation east of Çaybağı town (the
location is in Figure 6).

indicates that the two channels controlled the orientation
of the syncline here (Figure 8 b,c). The monocline is
situated on Channel 5 and its axis is also parallel to the
orientation of the channels (Figure 5 and Figure 8 b,c).
35°E

Other evidence for a relationship between the channel
body orientations and fold orientation and location is in
the attitudes of the beds on the northern side of Channel
4 (Main Channel). As mentioned in section 2, since the

36°E

37°E

N

Black Sea

Engi

T U R K E Y
Z

Mediterranean
Sea

o

zek

Figure14

ne

30

20

AKM

MARAŞ

AN

T

A

TO

Tr

AN

ch

37°
30'
N

o
Pa

S
IN

ou

s

50 km

re

37°
N

C

La
te

d S
ea

Rif

ta

t

ce

UN
MO
OS

N

AN

RU

Dea

KE
İS Y
BA

0

TA



AM

E
ND

T.
FL
Golbaşı

lae

ul
A

nt

ne

N

Fa

ADANA

a
sl

LI

en

t

S
EA

Zo

F l t.

38°E
38°N

ARABIAN
PLATFORM
36°
30'
N

Figure 13. Location map of the Miocene Maraş Basin (boxed area), eastern Turkey (mainly after Kang and Kozlu 1990).
AKM: Alikayası Canyon Member.

331


Alikayası canyon fill
w

AXIS

ÇELİK / Turkish J Earth Sci

E

canyon margin

Figure 14. View of the western margin of the Alikayası Canyon (indicated in Figure 13 NW of Maraş). The dips in the centre
of the canyon are shallow and steepen towards the western margin of the canyon, where the Aslantaş Thrust Fault is present.

compressional regime is N–S the strikes of the beds should
have been in an E–W orientation. But they are parallel to
the axis of the Main Channel at this locality, and so the
cause of the present attitudes of the beds is because of the
location of the channel here (Figure 4 and Figure 8 a,b,c).
3.2. Interpretation of the structural data using stereonet
and rose diagrams
The measurements from bedding, vertical fractures and
fissures in the study area were evaluated in stereonet and
rose diagrams (Figure 9) and the relationship between
orientation of main stress (P) and fold axes were analysed
for the study area.
General strata dip orientation (Figure 9a). This figure
shows the general attitudes and the poles of the beds in the
study area on stereonet. Most of these measurements were
taken from south-westerly plunging fold limbs. This figure
shows that the axes of the folds trend NE–SW and plunge
SW with an angle of 12°. The strike of the main stress (P)
has to be NW–SE. The number of measurements, n, was 56.

Shearing fractures of Channel 1 (Figure 9b). Since all
the shearing fractures are vertical in the study area, rose
diagrams were used. From plotting measurements from
vertical shearing fractures and fissures in Channel 1
(Figure 7a), which has a large number of fractures, it was
observed that the bisector of the acute angle is N 55° W.
This angle suggests that the maximum principal stress (P)
strikes NW–SE. The number of measurements, n = 40.
Shearing fractures in overbank sediments (Figure 9-C).
Twenty-eight vertical shearing fracture measurements
(n) from slope channel overbank (Figure 4) sediments
and sandstone sheets overlying the channel-fill bodies
(sandstone ribs) were plotted in this rose diagram and the
result is that the bisector (P) is oriented N 20° W.
Shearing fractures in shelf calcarenites (Figure 9-D).
Shearing measurements were taken from shelf calcarenites
at the top of the sequence (Figure 4), 28 and the bisector
(P) orientation is N 30° W. The average direction of the
mean stress (P) obtained from the rose diagrams is N

Figure 15. Close-up view of right bottom part of Figure 14. Note the truncated surfaces between the phases because of the
canyon-fold development interaction. Canyon axis is moving eastwards, in the right hand side of the picture. Scale is a man,
168 cm tall.

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ÇELİK / Turkish J Earth Sci
20
N

30
10
25

24
10
16 20 15

13

5 5

30
35 30
16
50
50

15
15

32
30 25

10
Kilbaha
Bay

N

50

30 20
10
Rehy
Hill
Kilcloher
10
Bay

50

16

25

24

Mouth of
the Shannon
3 km

Figure 16. Simplified structural map of the Loop Head Peninsula. The map illustrates
strike and dip measurements and the all fold axis orientations in the area. Modified from
Pyles (2008).

35° W. This is approximately perpendicular to axes of the
channels and the folds. This orientation of mean stress is
different from the mean N–S stress orientation accepted by
previous workers (see references in section 2) for this part
of eastern Turkey. The reason for this observed difference
is discussed below.
3.3. Comparison of the structural features in the study
area with the general tectonic features of the Elazığ Area
Around the study area, the general orientations of fold
axes are approximately E-W (Figure 6). But in the study
area the fold axial orientations and the strike of general
bedding planes are NE–SW. The reason for this difference
is thought to be the NE–SW oriented deep-marine coarsegrained channels located in the study area (Figure 4, Figure
5 and Figure 8). The margins of the Elazığ Kırkgeçit Basin
(Figure 2) and the normal faults forming the basement
structure are aligned E–W (Figure 8a); for this reason
the E–W oriented basement structures are unlikely to
control the NE–SW oriented channels and folds formed
by N–S directed main compression (Figure 6 and Figure
10). Outside the map area, no other channels are observed
since the Senonian Elazığ Magmatics were subsequently
thrust over the Middle Eocene–Lower Oligocene Kırkgeçit
Formation from North to South and covered all the
channels and folds.
3.4. Interpretation of the relationship between main
Stress and the structural features
In Figures 6 and 10 the main compressional N–S directed
stress affecting the Eastern Taurides is represented by the
largest arrows (P). As clearly seen in these figures, the
orientations of the structural features in the study area
are not perpendicular to the direction of the main stress
(P), as they should be. Since the channels are present in
the cores or are next to the folds, the components of main
stress (P1 and P2) are effectively controlling occurrence of

the folds. Thus, the coarse-grained deep water channels
play a determinative role on the location and orientation
of these folds (Figures 9 and 10).
The average bedding dips on the fold limbs is 20° in
the study area, as the components P1 and P2 of the main
stress P cause the development of the folds (Figure 10). In
contrast, the folds east of the study area near Çaybağı town
(Figures 6 and 11) within the Upper Miocene–Pliocene
Çaybağı Formation (Türkmen 1991), younger than the
Middle Eocene–Lower Oligocene Kırkgeçit Formation, are
overturned because the main stress P is directly affecting
the beds in the Çaybağı Formation (Figure 6, Figure 11
and Figure 12). Their axes are perpendicular to the main
stress P (Figure 6), since there are no channel bodies in
the Çaybağı Formation, and much less enveloping shale
around the folds.
4. Discussion
Fold geometry controlled by competent linear channel
bodies within less competent mudstone dominated rocks
is a new subject. In this study it was presented that coarse
grained channels in muddy deposits can control fold
orientations during subsequent deformations. Previous
studies about the channel–fold relationship only presented
how folds affect channel orientations. As this is a case
study in this subject, there is no other work to show as an
analogue.
The number of studies which address the interactions
between submarine channel development and deformation
is relatively low and they tend to focus only on a particular
aspect of channel evolution, such as the channel axis. These
studies have shown, for example, that increases in slope
gradient caused by structural highs result in increased
submarine channel incision, with channel down-cutting
being localised where the gradient increase is highest.
These studies have also shown that submarine channel

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ÇELİK / Turkish J Earth Sci

Figure 17. View and line drawing of the channel elements in the lower part of the Ross
Sandstone Formation exposed at Rehy Hill cliff. Note that the fold axis to the right of the
figures, as well as the other fold axes in the Figure 16, is not parallel to the cliff.

sinuosity is a key factor in the development of potentially
sand-rich lateral accretion packages (Abreu et al. 2005).
In structurally complex slope settings, submarine channel
sinuosity can vary according to changes in gradient.
Higher sinuosity channel reaches tend to be localised
where the underlying slope gradient decreases (Clark &
Cartwright 2009).
Some recent studies (Clark & Cartwright 2009; Hubbart
et al. 2009; Clark & Cartwright 2011) aimed to document
the interactions between submarine channel systems and
deformation within deep-water compressional provinces.
In deep-water fold belt settings, where submarine channel
systems develop on a structurally deformed seafloor, four
end member channel–structure interactions (confinement,
diversion, deflection and blocking) were defined by Clark
and Cartwright (2009), who have observed that these four
types of interaction are common wherever submarine
channels occur in structurally active deep water settings
such as the deep water Gulf of Mexico and deep water
Nigeria. Clark and Cartwright (2011) stated that where
deformation is coeval with channel development an
increase in the relative rate of uplift versus deposition
and erosion causes a transition from channel deflection
to blocking. Diversion and confinement are linked by the
number, scale and orientation of structures relative to the
channel flow path.
Other analogues that can support this study may
be found in other formations subsurface or at outcrops
elsewhere. Here, two examples found in our ongoing
studies, which have not yet been published, were
summarised in the following sections 4.1 and 4.2.

334

4.1. Alikayası Canyon Member of the Tekir Formation,
Maraş, eastern Turkey
The Alikayası Canyon Member of the Tekir Formation
occurs in a thick sequence of deep-water slope deposits
on the northern margin and centre of the lower–middle
Miocene Maraş foreland basin in eastern Turkey (Figure
13). The canyon was one of at least four major sedimentbypass systems that were sourced from a narrow shelf
otherwise occupied by thick, coeval carbonate reefs
(Figure 13 and Figure 14). What remains of the source
hinterland indicates that thick fan deltas propagated
directly into the heads of the deep-water canyons that
characterise these bypass systems (Cronin et al. 2007c).
The Alikayası Canyon is exposed as an almost completely
exhumed sediment body in an area of sparse vegetation,
where the contemporaneous shelf margin is still largely
intact, and it represents the youngest of these four systems.
It forms a 10-km long, up to 300-m thick, and up to 1-km
wide sediment body, dissected once by a river, which is
now drowned by an artificial lake behind the Menzelet
Dam (Figure 14). The exposure is complete apart from a
1.5 km section through its most proximal reaches, and a 2
km section in its most distal reaches where it feeds into a
series of sandy lobes.
The canyon fill is characterised by stratified
conglomerates and pebbly sandstones in its lower
part, stratified conglomerates and braid-plain-style
conglomerates and pebbly sandstones in its middle part
(Figure 14), and steeply dipping fan-delta conglomerate
clinoforms in its upper part. The axial area of the canyon
is dominated by these coarse-grained deposits, although


ÇELİK / Turkish J Earth Sci
locally remnants of intracanyon shales, in the form of
floating rafts, shale blocks, and clasts, or less common in
situ shale horizons, are also seen (Cronin et al. 2007c).
The canyon fill is situated in a transition area between
the two main thrust fault zones, namely the Aslantaş Fault
Zone to the western side of the Maraş Basin (Figure 13)
and the Engizek Fault Zone marking the northern side
of the basin. The arrow represents the palaeocurrent
direction and the axis of the Alikayası Member canyon fill
shown by pebbly sandstone pattern in the location map
NW of Maraş (AKM in Figure 13). The dip orientation of
the beds on both sides of the canyon defines a syncline in
which the canyon fill is situated with its axis parallel to the
syncline axis. Figure 14 shows the western margin of the
canyon fill and the western limb of the syncline dipping
east. Dips change rapidly towards the Aslantaş Thrust
Fault (Figure 13) on the western margin of the canyon and
become horizontal at the top of the canyon fill stages.
The basin underwent synsedimentary compressional
tectonism (Kang & Kozlu 1990), and it is thought that the
Alikayası canyon fill dictated the formation of the syncline
in its present position. Also, a synsedimentary interaction
can be seen as truncated surfaces in the lower part of the
canyon (Figure 15). Reactivation of the Aslantaş Thrust
fault from west to east caused the eastward shift of the
canyon axis during the earlier stages of the canyon fill, and
Miocene destabilisation and movement of the sediment
via deep sea systems, particularly slope collapse and
development of mass-transport complexes.
When the canyon fill became a huge structure in its later
stages, it dictated the formation of the syncline parallel to
its lineation by preventing the eastward movement of the
channel axis caused by the Aslantaş Thrust Fault.
4.2. Rehy Hill Channel in the Ross Sandstone Formation,
Loop Head Peninsula (County Clare), western Ireland
The Ross Formation of the Western Irısh Namurian
Basin (WINB) (Strachan 2002) was deposited in the
Carboniferous Shannon Basin, one of many Namurian
basins located in northwest Europe and crops out on the
Loop Head Peninsula (Figure 16) and Ballybunnion areas
of western Ireland (Pyles 2008). The intracratonic basin
was formed on a continental crust with active extension
during the Late Devonian–Early Carboniferous and is
structurally controlled (Collinson et al. 1991). The Ross
Formation is an example of an ancient submarine fan that
was deposited in a transtensional basin (Collinson et al.
1991; Strachan 2002). The formation consists of four main
divisions, namely basal, lower, middle and upper parts
(Pyles 2008).
Around Kilbaha Bay and Rehy Hill (Figure 16 and
Figure 17) the lower part of the formation is layered, with
most of the amalgamation of the broad channels occurring
where erosional axes (Figure 17) cut into underlying

sand bodies at the sea-cliff exposures dominated by
compensationally stacked, broad channel complexes up
to several hundred metres wide and about 8-15 m thick
(from one of our field trips in 2008).
The exposures of the formation commonly contain
well-exposed, laterally continuous strata that are deformed
by postdepositional Variscan folds (Pyles 2008). The fold
axis orientations in the Ross Formation (Figure 16) on the
Loop Head Peninsula are aligned ENE–WSW. At Rehy
Hill, a channel about 200 m wide and 15 m crops out at
the cliff section. On the eastern side of the channel an
anticline with an axis trending NNW–SSE is seen in Figure
17. It is thought that the same channel-fold relationship,
the subject of this study, is seen here between the fold
development and the Rehy Hill channel. This example also
needs to be worked on in detail in this manner, as well as
the Maraş Alikayası Canyon.
5. Conclusions
The close relationship between sedimentology and
tectonism is clearly illustrated, with specific sedimentary
bodies in the sediment architecture deflecting major
tectonic features, such as fold development and propagation
away from the directions of the main compressional stress.
The coarse-grained deep-water channels are the
sedimentary bodies that appear to have controlled the fold
development. Their linear geometry within the stratigraphy
in the study area deviates the fold axes from an E–W to a
NE–SW direction. The spatial orientation of the channels
also has an effective control on the attitudes of bedding,
axes of folds and their locations, and the orientation of
shearing fractures. If the main stress is not perpendicular
to the strike of channels, as explained in the text, the angles
of dips of the fold limbs related to the channels become
much lower as they are older.
The tectonic interpretation of the direction of regional
compressional stress in areas which include coarsegrained channel bodies in a muddy envelope requires
further attention. Some investigators describe the
main stress resulting from the convergence of Arabian
and Anatolian plates (P) as NW–SE in the Elazığ area,
although the trends of the fold axes, however, prove
that the principal compressive stress (P) was N–S. This
study has implications for the solution of such problems
in these kinds of complicated and tectonically active
areas. We cannot rely on data collected purely from fold
axes without an awareness of formation architecture, a
knowledge of which can only be garnered from detailed
sedimentological mapping.
In the interpretation of subsurface data, such as three
dimensional seismic data, close attention should be paid
to the development of fold structures in muddy deep
water sedimentary successions. Local obliquity of fold axis

335


ÇELİK / Turkish J Earth Sci
orientation may well be caused by the location of coarser
sedimentary bodies (potential hydrocarbon reservoirs).
This is particularly important in both compressional
settings such as offshore Brunei, and in passive margin
settings with large scale compressional structures caused
by gravitational collapse of slope or delta fronts, such as
the ultra deep-water Gulf of Mexico, or West Africa.
The result of this study can be applied to many other
outcrops affected by post-sedimentary compressional
stresses such as the Alikayası Canyon Member of the
Tekir Formation, Maraş, eastern Turkey and the Rehy Hill
Channel in the Ross Sandstone Formation, Loop Head
Peninsula (County Clare), western Ireland.
The channel-fold relationship gives useful information
about the relative timing of channel fills and fold
development. In this study fold diversion because of a
channel fill resulted from compressional stress which postdated the channel development.

Acknowledgements
The author wishes to thank Dr. Bryan T. Cronin (Deep
Marine, Aberdeen, U.K.) for 14 years of annual field work
in the area, for his input from his knowledge of deep-water
sedimentology and basin development in extensional and
compressional settings, and for his reviews of versions of
this paper.
The author is also grateful to Professor Dr. Erdal Kerey,
who, with Professor Gilbert Kelling (Keele University, UK)
and Professor Andrew Hurst (University of Aberdeen,
UK), introduced the author to the exposures in the Elazığ
area. Staff at Fırat University, Elazığ, Turkey, Professor
Dr. Ercan Aksoy and Professor Dr. İbrahim Türkmen;
are warmly thanked for their hospitality and assistance
in the field. The sponsors of the Turkey II Project in the
University of Aberdeen (Scotland, UK) are thanked for
their support through this project: B. P. Angola Business
Unit (Ed Jones and Mike Mayall); Conoco Phillips (Dave
McGee, Geoff Haddad, Julia Eriksson); and UNOCAL
(Kevin Doyle).

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