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Outline of the project

The geological history of Tethys Ocean is broadly established. Yet many details are still unknown and many major questions remain, related to geotectonics, paleogeography, paleoceanography and paleobiogeography.

Improved understanding of Mesozoic-Cenozoic ocean/climate history is based on accurate reconstruction of distribution of continents and ocean basins and on opening and closing of seaways along the Tethys. There is little or no agreement about the number or size of separate basins neither on their space-time relationships.

Moreover, there is no consensus on the number and location of former micro-continents and on their incorporation into the present-day Eurasian-Mountain Belt. Geologists studying individual parts of these belts have been educated within different geological systems and adhere to different geological paradigms. Correlation between Western and Eastern Tethys is difficult not only because of the large distances involved but also because they are separated by the area of the huge Himalayan collision within which much of the pre-Paleogene tectonostratigraphic information has been lost.

The aim of this IGCP project is to bring together geologists from the western and eastern parts of the former Tethys (Morocco/Iberia–SE Asia) for establishing a common framework and a common tectonostratigraphical concept (latest Paleozoic–Mesozoic with emphasis on Permian–Jurassic).

Specific objectives of the Project

Regarding the above discussions and controversies, the IGCP 710 Project is focus on the comparison between the Western and Eastern part of the Tethys during the latest Paleozoic–Mesozoic times (Carboniferous–Cretaceous), mainly on Permian-Jurassic, in three main fields of our expertise:
• geodynamic reconstruction of the Tethys Realm (tectonostratigraphic scheme(s));
• reconstruction of paleoceanographic conditions between Western and Eastern Tethys and changes of oceanic circulations (mainly with “sedimentological” events) after geodynamic revolutions (including Pangea break-up);
• paleobiogeographic patterns of distribution/migration of fauna and flora.

The IGCP 710 Project is aimed to maintain the existing team and possibly to mobilize more participants both from Asian and European countries (including developing countries), to carry out multi-disciplinary investigations in various areas, to find out more constraints on the interpretation of the development of the Tethyan Realm. Specifically, participants of the project are suggested to carry out their work with emphasis on problems related to the following topics:
• Tectonostratigraphic successions and geotectonic reconstructions of the Tethys Ocean parts – Western and Eastern; their connections and comparison
• Timing and process of the rifting of continental blocks from large cratons
• Sizes of oceanic basins and the positions of continental blocks at different times
• Paleoceanographical regimes between western and eastern Tethys
• Paleobiogeographical distribution of fauna and flora in the Tethyan Realm
• Geological background for hydrocarbon and mineral resource formations

To answer the addressed questions, participants from different countries will carry out their investigations in well selected areas which are either geologically critical or lacking proper data. Scientific approaches and techniques of different disciplines are to be employed, such as paleontology, stratigraphy, sedimentology, paleogeography, petrology, geochemistry, structural geology, paleomagnetism, tectonics and geophysics and cooperation with other IGCP projects.