Validating far-field deformation styles from the Adjara-Trialeti fold-and-thrust belt to the Greater Caucasus (Georgia) through multi-proxy thermal maturity datasets

Sveva Corrado, Thomas Gusmeo*, Andrea Schito, Victor Alania, Onise Enukidze, Enrico Conventi, William Cavazza

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Thermal history reconstructions can help to better characterise the geological history of areas that experienced a polyphase tectonic evolution. The integration of published stratigraphic/structural data with new and pre-existing data on thermal maturity (clay mineralogy, Raman spectroscopy, vitrinite reflectance, and pyrolysis) of both surface and subsurface sedimentary successions of a wide region of Georgia including -north to south-the southern Greater Caucasus, the western Kura Basin, and the Adjara-Trialeti fold-and-thrust belt (FTB) provides cogent constraints on its late Mesozoic-Cenozoic tectono-sedimentary evolution. Overall, thermal maturity spans from the low diagenesis (60–80 °C) in the Upper Miocene section of the Kura Basin to anchizone-epizone (about 400 °C) in the central Greater Caucasus axial zone. In more detail, different maturity trends and thermal histories point to the existence of two domains formed by positive tectonic inversion: (i) the Adjara-Trialeti FTB from an Eocene rift basin and (ii) the Greater Caucasus from a Mesozoic rift basin. Multiple thermal indicators, along with stratigraphic/structural evidence, show that the Paleocene section of the Adjara-Trialeti basin fill reached the upper oil window (ca. 115 °C) during maximum sedimentary burial and that the whole basin was then exhumed starting from the late Middle Miocene. A positive correlation between thermal maturity and stratigraphic age points to a limited thermal effect of tectonic loading. In the southern Greater Caucasus, thermal maturity increases progressively with stratigraphic age, from ca. 100 °C (Upper Eocene) to 400 °C (Lower Jurassic), in broad agreement with the reconstructed thickness of the basin-fill succession, thus indicating that most of the thermal maturity was again induced by sedimentary burial. As to the flexural western Kura Basin, its Maikopian (Oligocene-Early Miocene) section reached the oil window (up to ca. 110 °C) whereas the Middle-Late Miocene one is immature. The Kakheti ridge -a highly tectonised portion of the Kura Basin-reached immature to early mature conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105141
Number of pages18
JournalMarine and Petroleum Geology
Early online date20 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Alpine orogeny
  • Caucasus
  • Intra-continental deformation
  • Kura basin
  • Maikop
  • Thermal indicators


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