Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • Letter
  • Published:

Structure of a fossil ridge–transform intersection in the Troodos ophiolite


RECENT palaeomagnetic studies of sheeted dykes adjacent to the east-west trending Southern Troodos transform fault of Cyprus have demonstrated significant clockwise block rotations, which are most easily interpreted as being due to drag induced by dextral strike-slip faulting along the transform1–6. We show here that such rotations have not occurred along the entire length of the transform; instead, to the west of the areas previously studied the sheeted dykes have been subjected to simple tilting only, indicating normal faulting but no strike slip. The changeover between these two domains of differing structural styles, near the village of Mandria, is approximately in line with the centre of the Solea graben, a north–south trending structure within the Troodos massif which has previously been interpreted as a fossil ridge axis7. We suggest that the Mandria area represents a fossilized ridge–transform intersection, and present the results of a detailed field investigation of the area, together with preliminary palaeomagnetic data, to determine the relationship between tectonism and magmatism at such plate boundary zones. We use our findings to test a recent theoretical model8 of deformation processes at ridge-transform intersections, and show that distributed deformation due to block rotation is largely confined to the ridge–transform corner itself.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Clube, T. M. M. thesis, Univ. Edinburgh (1985).

  2. Allerton, S. thesis, Univ. East Anglia (1988).

  3. Bonhommet, N., Roperch, P. & Calza, F. Geology 16, 422–425 (1988).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  4. Allerton, S. in Paleomagnetic Rotations and Continental Deformation, NATO ASI Ser. C254, (eds Kissel, C. & Laj, C.) 393–410 (1989).

    Book  Google Scholar 

  5. Morris, A., Creer, K. M. & Robertson, A. H. F. Earth planet. Sci. Lett. 99, 250–262 (1990).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  6. Allerton, S. & Vine, F. J. in Proc. Symp. Troodos 87 (eds Malpas, J. et al.) (Geological Survey Department, Nicosia, in the press).

  7. Varga, R. J. & Moores, E. M. Geology 13, 846–850 (1985).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  8. Allerton, S. Nature 340, 626–628 (1989).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  9. MacLeod, C. J. in Proc. Symp. Troodos 87 (eds Malpas, J. et al.) (Geological Survey Department, Nicosia, in the press).

  10. Simonian, K. O. & Glass, I. G. Geol. Soc. Am. Bull. 89, 1220–1230 (1978).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Murton, B. J. J. geol. Soc. Lond. 143, 845–854 (1986).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Moores, E. M., Varga, R. J. & Verosub, K. L. in Proc. Symp. Troodos 87 (eds Malpas, J. et al.) (Geological Survey Department, Nicosia, in the press).

  13. Allerton, S. & Vine, F. J. Geology 15, 593–597 (1987).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  14. Schiffman, P., Smith, B. M., Varga, R. J. & Moores, E. M. Nature 325, 423–425 (1987).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Dilek, Y., Thy, P., Moores, E. M. & Ramsden, T. W. Tectonics 9, 811–823 (1990).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  16. Wilson, J. T. Nature 207, 343–347 (1965).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  17. Moores, E. M. & Vine, F. J. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A268, 443–466 (1971).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. Clube, T. M. M., Creer, K. M. & Robertson, A. H. F. Nature 317, 522–525 (1985).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

MacLeod, C., Allerton, S., Gass, I. et al. Structure of a fossil ridge–transform intersection in the Troodos ophiolite. Nature 348, 717–720 (1990).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing