Dr. Stuart N. Thomson
Research Scientist
Department of Geosciences
University of Arizona


CD-CAT is a 5-year (2011-16) NSF Continental Dynamics program funded project led by Donna Whitney at the University of Minnesota.

The main goal is to investigate the transition of central Anatolia (Turkey) from an orogen dominated by collision to one now dominated by escape tectonics and major strike-slip faults.

This will include:
  1. Using passive-source seismic experiments to image the crust and upper mantle.
  2. Determining regional uplift patterns from drainage and isotopic analysis.
  3. Neotectonic mapping and dating along the Central Anatolian Fault Zone.
  4. Mapping, structural analysis and thermochronology to study Cenozoic deformation and exhumation history.
  5. Geochemical analysis of Cenozoic volcanism.
  6. Numerical modeling of lithosphere dynamics.

The main project website is hosted at the University of Minnesota



Project Abstract

This project involves an integrated program to study the process of tectonic escape in Central Anatolia. This is the location where this process was first recognized in the 1970s and the PIs make a strong case that this is good place to investigate the temporal and spatial characteristics of this process in the context of a continent-continent collision.

The research builds on previous geophysical and geological studies by many of the PIs in other parts of Turkey (both to the east and west of the planned study area). The research will investigate modern structure through a combination of geophysics and geology. Past history will be reconstructed through studies of elevation, drainage and volcanism. Studies of the Central Anatolian fault are important as this is a major feature that is poorly understood in Anatolian tectonics.

Specifically, the PIs will address the questions:

  • What are the plate dynamics from the mantle to the Earth?s surface, the transition from distributed to localized strain in large strike-slip faults, the origin and consequences of magmatism, and the evolution of relief and landscape during development of escape tectonics?

  • What are the effects of boundary conditions (collision of Arabian plate to the east, extension of Aegean to the west, subduction of African plate to the south) on the driving forces of tectonic escape?
  • The study will integrate results of passive seismic experiments; magnetotelluric profiling; geomorphic, structural, and stratigraphic-sedimentological analysis of surface geology and exhumed orogenic crust; geo/thermochronometric determination of temperature-time histories of magmatic, metamorphic, and fault zone rocks and geomorphic features; isotopic fingerprinting and dating of magmatic rocks; and 2D and 3D numerical modeling.





    Last Modified: January 12th, 2012