DFG-Leibniz Center for Surface Process and Climate Studies





Mission Statement




Continuing Education







Plateau Evolution in Turkey:
Vertical Anatolian Movements Project (VAMP)

Funding: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and European Science Foundation
Starting date: May, 2008

Manfred R. Strecker (PI), Daniel Melnick, Taylor Schildgen

Collaborating researchers (PI’s only)

A. Aksu (Univ. of Newfoundland), E. Aydar (Hacettepe Univ.), G. Bertotti (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), B. Bookhagen (UC Santa Barbara), A. Ciner (Hacettepe Univ.), K. Dirik (Hacettepe Univ.), H. Echtler (GFZ Potsdam), C. Faccenna (Rome), E. Gliozzi (U Rome), R. Govers (U Utrecht), M. Kovacova (Bratislava), A. Mulch ( U Hannover), B. Rojay (Middle East Tech. Univ.), G. Simpson (U Bern)


With average elevations of several kilometers, low internal relief and pronounced relief along their flanks, orogenic plateaus are first-order morphotectonic phenomena in present-day mountain belts that fundamentally affect zonal climate patterns. Orogenic plateaus are an integral part of the North American Cordillera, the India-Eurasia collision zone, the central Andes, and Anatolia. Despite being located in different geodynamic settings, there are many unifying similarities between these regions. For example, virtually all continental plateaus are associated with geophysical anomalies that reflect fundamental changes in the lithospheric mantle underlying these regions. The evolution of plateaus may reflect ongoing or consecutive, yet related stages in crustal shortening and thickening, magmatic crustal addition, lower crustal flow or mantle delamination. Similarities between plateau regions also exist in the complex interplay between ongoing tectonic and climatic processes that form or destroy plateaus.

research Anatolian 2

While important advances have been made in understanding the evoultion of the Tibetan and Andean plateau regions, large gaps exist regarding the Anatolian and Iranian plateaus, and plateaus of the geologic past. The neotectonic evolution of the Central Anatolia Plateau (CAP), its impact on atmospheric circulation patterns, and its relationship with coeval tectonic and magmatic processes within and along the plateau margins, are still not adequately understood.

The Central Anatolia Plateau is a natural laboratory for testing ideas about collision-style orogenic processes. It is located in a tectonically active region and that preserves a rich record of geomorphic features, magmatic, and structural processes. The CAP is a typical continental orogenic plateau. It is characterized by low relief contrasts; it is located at relatively high elevations between 1200 and 1500 m; and it has pronounced precipitation gradients along its flanks with a semi-arid to arid, mainly internally drained interior, whereas the plateau margins are deeply incised.

In this study, which will officially begin in May, we seek to unravel the evolution of the CAP and to assess its influence regarding climate and climate-driven surface processes through detailed low-temperature thermochronologic and geomorphic studies. In particular, wee will analyze the exhumation history of the plateau flanks using (U-Th)/He thermochronolgy, geomorphic and structural mapping as well as cosmogenic nuclide dating of incised pediment and fluvial terrace systems.

More specifically, we will strive to

  1. Determine the character of Miocene to Recent contraction, uplift and strain partitioning within, and at the N and S margins of the plateau;
  2. Decipher the spatiotemporal patterns of erosional exhumation along the plateau margins;
  3. Inspect continental sedimentary archives and landforms with respect to long-term climate changes superposed on tectonic uplift.



rainfall distribution


research Anatolian 4