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The Evolution of Travertine Masses in the Sivas Area
(Central Turkey) and Their Relationships to
Active Tectonics
B. LEVENT MESC‹, HAL‹L GÜRSOY & ORHAN TATAR
Cumhuriyet University, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Geological Engineering,
TR–58140 Sivas, Turkey (E-mail: mesci@cumhuriyet.edu.tr)
Abstract: Sıcak Çermik, Delikkaya and Sarıkaya are important travertine fields with active hot springs located 31
km west of Sivas. Based on their morphology, most of the travertines are classified as fissure-ridge travertines.
Eroded sheet-type, terraced, and self-built channel types of travertine are also present at a few locations.
Faults and fissures formed in the underlying ‹ncesu Formation, and fissures developing in the fissure-ridge
travertines are linked to one another. Tectonic deformation forming the fissure-ridge travertines resulted from
NE–SW extension associated with a NW–SE compressional regime related to the Central Anatolian Thrust Belt and
Sivas Backthrust.
U/Th series age dating results indicate that the travertine deposition extends back to 400 ka and yields ages
of 11.400 (±500) to 364.000 (+201.000/-76.000) from the fissure-ridge travertines. Age data and fissure width
observations indicate that a ~0.06 mm/year extension rate is associated with the compressional regime in the Sivas
Basin. On average, fissure-ridge travertines formed over intervals of 56.000 years, and indicate that a major
regional seismic event with a magnitude of 7.4 has occurred here with this order of frequency. The Pamukkale
travertines in Western Turkey are one of the most spectacular natural heritage sites in the world, as well as a site
of active tectonic studies, and are now protected for these reasons. As shown by this study, the Sıcak Çermik
travertines are of comparable interest and should receive similar protection.
Key Words: active tectonics, earthquake, Sivas Basin, Sıcak Çermik, travertine, travitonics, U/Th age dating,
Quaternary geology
Sivas (Orta Türkiye) ve Çevresindeki Travertenlerin Geliflimi
ve Aktif Tektonikle ‹liflkileri
Özet: Sıcak Çermik, Delikkaya ve Sarıkaya Sivas’ın yaklaflık 31 km batısında yer alan önemli sıcak su çıkıfl
merkezleri ve traverten oluflum alanlarıdır. Morfolojik sınıflamaya göre bölgedeki travertenlerin büyük bir kısmını
çatlak sırtı tipi travertenler, az oranda aflınmıfl traverten tabakaları ve birkaç lokasyonda ise küçük yüzlekler
biçiminde teras tipi ve kanal tipi travertenler oluflturmaktadır.
Travertenler için temel kaya niteli¤inde bulunan ‹ncesu Formasyonu kayaçlarında yer alan faylar ve çatlaklar ile
sırt tipi travertenler içerisinde geliflmifl çatlaklaklar birlikte de¤erlendirilmifl, içerisinde sırt tipi travertenlerin
geliflti¤i açılmaları sa¤layan tektonik deformasyonun, Orta Anadolu Bindirme Kufla¤ı ile Sivas Geri Bindirmesinden
kaynaklanan KB-GD do¤rultulu sıkıflmaya ba¤lı KD-GB yönlü açılma biçimde geliflti¤i sonucuna varılmıfltır.
U/Th yafllandırma bulguları, bu bölgedeki traverten oluflumunun yaklaflık 400.000 yıl önce baflladı¤ını ortaya
koymufltur. Uranyum serisi yafl analizleri sonucunda inceleme alanlarında yer alan sırt tipi travertenlerin yafllarının
364.000 (+201.000/-76.000) ile 11.400 (±500) yıl arasında de¤iflti¤i belirlenmifltir. Sırt tipi travertenlerin geniflliklerini
ve yafl sonuçlarını kullanarak Sivas Havzası içinde sıkıflmaya ba¤lı açılma hızı 0.0633 mm/yıl olarak belirlenmifltir.
Sırt tipi travertenlerdeki hidrotermal etkinli¤in 56.000 yıllık bir periyotta aktifleflme ve pasifleflme dönemi geçirdi¤i
gözlenmifltir. Bu bulgulara göre, Sivas ve yakın çevresindeki hidrotermal etkinli¤i tetikleyen büyük bir
sismotektonik etkinli¤in, 56.000 yıllık tekrarlanma periyodunda yaklaflık 7.4 büyüklü¤ünde bir depremin
oluflmasını gerektirmektedir.
Aktif tektonik ile yakından iliflkisi, do¤al güzelli¤i ve turistik çekicili¤i nedeni ile Pamukkale’deki travertenler
koruma altına alınmıfltır. Ancak içerisinde geliflen yapıların özelli¤i gere¤i do¤al jeolojik miras niteli¤indeki Sıcak
Çermik ve çevresindeki travertenlerin de koruma altına alınması gereklidir.
Anahtar Sözcükler: aktif tektonik, deprem, Sivas Havzası, Sıcak Çermik, traverten, traverten Tektoni¤i, U/Th yafl
yöntemi
Turkish Journal of Earth Sciences (Turkish J. Earth Sci.), Vol. 17, 2008, pp. 219–240. Copyright ©TÜB‹TAK
First published online 12 December 2007
219
TRAVERTINE DEPOSITS AND ACTIVE TECTONICS IN THE S‹VAS BASIN
220
Introduction
The presence of active and inactive travertine deposits in
the vicinity of Sivas (central Turkey) indicates that
hydrothermal activity has occured extensively during the
recent geological past. The studied travertine masses are
located in Sıcak Çermik, Delikkaya and Sarıkaya, about 20
km west of the city of Sivas (Figure 1).
Previous work by several researchers in this region
has focused mainly on geochemical and economic features
of the travertines, including their value as structural and
decorative stone (Ayaz 1998; Ayaz & Gökçe 1998; Ayaz
& Karacan 2000; Tekin et al. 2000; Tekin & Ayyıldız
2001). Other studies have included the geothermal
potential of the hot water (Ergin 1992; Eriflen et al.
1996), geophysical investigations (Aydo¤an 1991), and
hydrotherapeutic applications of the spring waters
(Kaçaro¤lu et al. 1994).
Although there have been numerous studies on
travertine deposits (Scholl 1960; Barnes et al. 1971,
1978; Martelli et al. 1989) only a few workers (Jones
1925; Scholl 1960; Martelli et al. 1989) discuss their
relationship to tectonics.
Travertines have been widely used in studies of active
tectonics since the 1990’s (Altunel 1994; Çakır 1999),
and most Turkish workers have concentrated on the
classic occurrences at Pamukkale in Western Turkey
(Altunel & Hancock 1993a, b, 1996; Altunel 1996;
Hancock et al. 1999). This study is the first investigation
of tectonic features of travertines in the Sıcak Çermik
region (Sivas, Central Turkey).
Tectonic and Geological Setting of the Sivas Basin
The Sivas Basin of Tertiary age is bounded to the north
by a tectonic contact represented by the ‹zmir-AnkaraErzincan suture zone, which is composed mainly of
ophiolitic rocks thrust upon basin fill sediments from
north to south. The nappes of the ophiolitic mélange cap
the Kırflehir metamorphic basement of the Sivas Basin.
Most researchers (Cater et al. 1991; Guezou et al. 1996;
Poisson et al. 1996) consider the Sivas Basin to be a
foreland basin obducted from north to south at the
southern margin of the Pontides during the closure of
Neotethys. Since the studies undertaken by Koçyi¤it
(2003b), the Middle Anatolia region has been named the
‘Central Anatolia Plains Region’ following fiengör (1980),
and the middle section of the Anatolian plate is named the
‘Central Anatolia Neotectonic Region’.
Many secondary neotectonic structures have
developed independently from the main neotectonic
structures, such as North and East Anatolian fault zones.
Koçyi¤it (2003b) has divided the Central Neotectonic
Region into two sub-neotectonic regions, comprising the
Konya-Eskiflehir neotectonic region and the Kayseri-Sivas
neotectonic region. In these zones a contractionextension type of neotectonic regime is present and is
generally associated with strike-slip faulting. Gürsoy et al.
(1992) noted the development of a large NNW-directed
backthrust in the region, which they named the Sivas
backthrust (Figure 2). The shear sense caused by thrusts
in the Sivas Basin is southerly. Metamorphic, volcanic and
sedimentary rocks, ranging from Palaeozoic to
Quaternary in age, crop out in and around the region
where the travertine outcrops are located. Following
studies of Yılmaz (1983), Yılmaz et al. (1995), Ergin
(1992), Özcan et al. (1980) and Ayaz (1988) in this
region, the Akda¤madeni lithostratigraphic unit is
recognised, which consists of gneiss, schist, amphibolite,
quartzite and marble. This is succeeded unconformably by
the Tokufl Formation consisting of alternating units of
Nummulitic limestone, sandstone, claystone, and shale.
The Kaletepe Volcanics consist of pillowed andesite and
basaltic lava flows of Eocene age. The ‹ncesu Formation
consists of Upper Miocene–Pliocene terrestrial sediments.
These are red and grey, loosely cemented, coarse- to finegrained clastic rocks that are locally crossbedded, and
quasi-horizontal. The ‹ncesu Formation, which underlies
the travertine deposits, lies with angular unconformity
upon all the older units in the region (Figure 2).
Field Characteristic of Travertine Masses
Following their investigations of the Pamukkale (Denizli)
travertine, Altunel & Hancock (1993a) noted that
morphological criteria are the most useful for classifying
travertine, and they added three new types to the
morphological classification proposed by Chafetz & Folk
(1984). One of these types, the fissure-ridge travertines,
provides highly reliable tectonic data. In particular, the
direction, length, and width of the axial crack of fissureridge travertines link the formation of the travertine
ridge to the regional tectonic regime. The most important
factor causing hydrothermal fluids to rise to the surface
is the presence of tectonic discontinuity planes such as
faults and major joints. Fissure-ridge travertines, which
possess open fissures, are widely observed in regions
subject to extensional tectonics. They form when calcium
bicarbonate-rich hot water rises up from a crack or
fissure and precipitates travertine, both in the crack and
when it spills out on the surface. Water precipitates the
generally nonporous ‘banded travertine’ in the open
crack, commonly with bands of different colour
depending on the minerals present and chemical
impurities. Precipitation is generally symmetrical in both
sides of the crack walls. As the crack continues to expand
during regional extension, parallel-banded travertine is
precipitated progressively on the crack walls. At the
surface, due to changing physical conditions, porous and
bedded travertines are formed as dipping layers
perpendicular to fissure axis (Figures 3 & 4).
When the hydrothermal activity ceases, fissures may
continue to expand due to the regional extension and an
open cavity can form along the central axis of the main
fissure ridge. Since the fissures in the fissure-ridge
travertines are products of an extensional regime, they
provide concrete information about the direction and rate
of regional extension. Clearly the banded travertine lining
the centre of the fissure is the youngest and the
travertine bands at the fissure wall are the oldest. Thus,
when the age of the oldest banded travertine furthest
from the active fissure is compared with the age of the
youngest banded travertine at the centre of the fissure,
the extension rate can be calculated. Altunel & Hancock
(1993a, b, 1996), Altunel (1994, 1996), and Çakır
(1996) obtained important results for the travertine
formations in the Denizli region using this method. They
showed the uranium-thorium method to be the most
suitable method for dating the age of travertine
B.L. MESC‹ ET AL.
221
NAFZ: North Anatolian Fault Zone
EAFZ: East Anatolian Fault Zone
BSZ: Bitlis Suture Zone
Sıcak Çermik ravertine reat a1
Sarıkaya ravertine reat a2
Delikkaya ravertine reat a3
Black Sea
A
e g e a n S
e a NAFZ
EA
FZ BSZ
SİVAS
Yıldızeli
Kalın
Nevruz
Direkli
1
2
Delikkaya3
9
°5
2
3
0


3
9
°3
7
3
0


36°37 30’ ” 36°52 30’ ”
river
road
0 400
0 5 10
km km n formal ault
s -s ftrike lip ault
s zuture one
t bhrust elt
3
Mediterranean Sea
Figure 1. Map showing the location of the Sıcak Çermik, Sarıkaya and Delikkaya travertine areas.
deposition since it can provide sensitive ages ranging
from ~5.000 years to several hundreds of thousands of
years. Recent studies concerning active tectonics and
travertine formation have also provided important
information. Çakır (1999), for example, stated that
complex extensional deformation in the Gediz and
Menderes grabens of Western Turkey caused hot waters
to rise to the surface and form travertines that define
when the normal fault movements occurred. Karabacak
(2002) and Karabacak & Altunel (2003) examined the
Ihlara Valley travertines from the perspective of their
morphology and crustal deformation, and Koçyi¤it
(2003a) noted that active tensional orientations and the
fissure-ridge travertine orientations within the Karakoçan
fault zone are conformable and can be used in studies of
active tectonics.
Based on the morphological classification, fissureridge travertines comprise 54% of the total travertine in
the study region. Eroded sheet-type travertine comprises
24% of the Sıcak Çermik, Delikkaya and Sarıkaya
travertine, while self-built channel and terraced types of
travertines crop out only on a very small scale and cannot
be mapped as discrete units. The travertine formations
that are currently forming and have not completed their
development account for 22% of the total (Figures 5, 6
& 7).
Accompanying the definition of each travertine type in
each of the three travertine areas, the main and parasitic
TRAVERTINE DEPOSITS AND ACTIVE TECTONICS IN THE S‹VAS BASIN
222
Tkv
Tia
Tia
PzMzm
Qt Qt Tid
Tid
Kale T.
Kalın
creek
Sıcak Çermik
Sarıkaya
Delikkaya
Sivas-Ankara
highway
PlQ
PlQ
Qa Y
ıld
ız
ri ve r İn
ce su cr e e k PlQ Pliocene-Quaternary clastic sediments
Qt Quaternary travertine
Qa Quaternary alluvium
schistosity
Tia Upper Miocene-Pliocene Aydoğmuş member of
İncesu Formation (lake river sediments)Upper Miocene-Pliocene Derindere member of
İncesu Formation (river sediments)Tid
Tkv
Eocene volcanics (pillow lavas
and pyroclastic rocks)
Kaletepe
PzMzm
Pal Akdağmadeni
(marble, quartzite, gneiss, schist and amphibolite)
aeozoic metamorphics
20
km layer strike and dip
0 50
km Sivas
study area
Gemerek
Şarkışla
Cen
tral
Ce tra
l A
na tol
ian
Fa ult
Zo ne n Siv
asB
ack
thrust
Ana
tolia
n Thru
st Zone
Del
iler
Fau
lt Figure 2. Geological map of the Sıcak Çermik region simplified from Yılmaz et al. (1997).
fissures of the fissure-ridge travertines have been
mapped using GPS on a 1/5000 scale. At each location
the width and height of the axis of the fissure, and the
inclination values of the layered travertines have been
recorded (Figures 5, 6 & 7).
Dating Results
The U/Th method of age determination has been used in
most studies that have attempted to date travertine (e.g.,
Sturchio et al. 1994; Eikenberg et al. 2001; Semghouli et
al. 2001; Mallick & Frank 2002; Soligo et al. 2002). It is
applied here to resolve extension rates and to isolate
episodes of travertine deposition. The most suitable
material for dating is the banded travertine in the fissure
system because these types are less porous and therefore
less susceptible to diagenesis and contamination by
superficial waters than the bedded travertines that form
at the surface. Banded travertines that develop as fissure
fills are therefore considered more favourable for the
U/Th age dating method. As an example of this
application, Altunel (1994) and Altunel & Karabacak
(2005) used U/Th age dating to fissure-ridge travertines
in the Pamukkale (Denizli) region. These results indicated
regional extension rates in fissures with NE–SW
orientation in the range 0.23–0.6 mm/year during the
last 200,000 years.
Two samples were collected from each sampling
location. One is the youngest and taken from the fissure
axis and the other is the oldest and taken from the fissure
wall. This approach aims to resolve opening rates from
the age difference and the width of the fissure. Twelve
samples from fissure-ridge travertines of the Sıcak
Çermik travertine region and four samples from fissureridge travertines of Sarıkaya and Delikkaya were collected
for age dating (Figure 5, 6 & 7). The results are
summarized in Table 1.
B.L. MESC‹ ET AL.
223
fis
su re eroded volume
er od ed de po si ts layered travertine
Figure 3. Three-dimensional oblique diagram showing arrangement of banded and layered travertine in a fissure-ridge deposit.
These results indicate extension rates in the Sıcak
Çermik travertine region between 0.14 and 0.028
mm/year, with an average rate of 0.068 mm/year. This
average extension rate is highly variable across the region
and was found to range from 0.007 mm/year for
Sarıkaya to 0.110 mm/year for Delikkaya. The average
extension rate based on the combined data from all three
sites is 0.063 mm/year (Table 2).
Keller & Pinter (1996) termed the tectonic processes
that create deformation in the crust and perceptible to
humans as ‘Active Tectonics’. Another point of view is
that studies of ‘active tectonics’ should be viewed
retrospectively with time period considered comprising
the last several millions of years (Davis 1983). The
hydrothermal activity that produced the structures
forming the Sıcak Çermik, Sarıkaya and Delikkaya
travertines spanned the last 500,000 years and the
associated tectonic activity is therefore embraced by
‘active tectonics’ according to the definition of Davis
(1993) but not that of Keller & Pinter (1996).
When age dating results obtained from the fissureridge travertines are presented graphically (Figure 8), it
is observed that formation ages and the closing passive
transition ages of some fissure-ridge travertines are
remarkably concentrated within several intervals and
regions. U/Th-2, 5, and 14 comprise a definite group;
U/Th-4 and 11 another; and U/Th-1 and 8 comprise yet
another. The average age obtained from U/Th-4 and 11
is 233,500 years, from U/Th-2, 5 and 24 is 178,300
years, and from U/Th-1 and 8 is 121,500 years.
The differences between these three groups are
55,200 and 56,800 years, respectively suggesting that
new hydrothermal systems developed over an average
period of about 56,000 years. At the end of the same
intervals, hydrothermal activity and banded travertine
formation at some fissure-ridge systems activity ceased,
while new activity started elsewhere.
This relationship can be tested by adding 56,000
years to 233,500 years, which gives 289,500 years. The
latter time coincides with the U/Th-12 passive transition,
and also coincides with U/Th-7 when another 56,000
years are added (Figure 8). Using the same approach
from the opposite direction, subtracting 56,000 years
from 121,500 years gives a value of 65,500 years, which
coincides with the U/Th-9 and U/Th-13 average value,
and deducting a further 56,000 years gives 9,500 years,
which coincides approximately with the age of U/Th-15
(Figure 8). Since travertine production stopped along
some ridge axes and new ridges formed at intervals with
an average period of 56,000 years, these repetitions can
be assumed to have developed during periods in which
major tectonic activity, such as major earthquakes,
intensified.
When the data are compared with the Martinson et al.
(1987) graphics showing climatic changes during last
300 ka (Figure 9) we observe that commencement and
cessation times of fissure-ridges classified by this 56 ka
interval are not apparently connected to climatic changes
Earthquakes that occur repeatedly along a fault zone
with approximately the same time periods and similar
magnitudes are defined as ‘characteristic earthquakes’. In
these types of earthquakes, the slip rate on the fault, the
magnitude of the earthquake, and the displacement
taking place are assumed to be approximately constant
TRAVERTINE DEPOSITS AND ACTIVE TECTONICS IN THE S‹VAS BASIN
224
SW NE
fissure axis
layered travertine
banded travertine
SW NE
fissure-ridge travertine
a b
Figure 4. (a) View of a fissure-ridge travertine in the Delikkaya travertine area. (b) Cross section of fissure-ridge travertine at Sıcak Çermik.
B.L. MESC‹ ET AL.
225
Spa Center
Kandil Ridge
Kaşın Hill
K
a rl ık
a ya R
id g e K
ın
ba şı
R
id ge Serim Hill
1453.67
1300.54
1451.91
1364.47
17
19
12
52
26
0420
24
13
06
45
23
06
10
04
26
22
20
34
17
14
07
15
15
10
25
06
30
31
12
06
18
18
20
50
11
07
34
26
20
15 25 03
35
14
06
19
34
14
30
12
03
22
22
39
15
25 04
16
12
11
21
10
20
17
14
16
18
06
03
5
07
07
17
58
0 400 m
23
fissure axes
layer strike and dip
river
alluvium
fissure-ridge type travertines
eroded sheet type trav rtinese
recent travertines
İncesu ormationF
slope deposits and/or soil
road
inactive springs
U/Th1: 120(±5) ky
U/Th2: 177( / ) ky+14 -13
U/Th3: 271( / ) ky+64 -42
U/Th4: 229( / ) ky+37 -29
U/Th6: 198( / ) ky+16 -14
U/Th5: 184( / ) ky+17 -15
U/Th8: 123(±9) ky
U/Th7: 364( / ) ky+201 -76
U/Th9: 84(±5) ky
U/Th12: 296( / ) ky+61 -42
U/Th10: >290 ky
U/Th11: 238( / ) ky+47 -34
0.0598 mm.yr-1
0.0714 mm.yr-1
0.0392 mm.yr-1
0.0280 mm.yr-1
0.144 mm.yr-1
0.0058 mm.yr-1
0.0024 mm.yr-1
average dilation rate during
travertine deposition (mm yr )-1
average dilation rate after
travertine deposition (mm yr )-1
Figure 5. Travertine types, fissure axes, age dating results, and opening rates in the Sıcak Çermik travertine area.
for each event. Under such conditions, the average
recurrence period is related in every case to the slip rate
displacement. Slemmons & DePolo (1986) suggested that
there is a relationship between the recurrence of
earthquakes, and the slip rate and magnitude, which they
showed graphically. The calculated extension rates, age
dating results, and the time period between the beginning
and end of hydrothermal activity on a fissure axis for this
region have been applied to the Slemmons & DePolo
(1986) graph (Figure 10). Based on the 56,000 years
repetition period and an average extension rate of
0.0633 mm/year at Sıcak Çermik, Delikkaya and
Sarıkaya, it can be inferred that earthquake(s) in and
around the study area have been up to magnitude 7.4 and
that the region falls in the “low activity” zone of the
graph with respect to the frequency of earthquake
activity (Figure 10).
Geological-Structural Relationships
One of the main aims of this study was to determine
structural tectonic elements that led to the hydrothermal
activity and caused the deposition of travertines. To this
end, rose diagrams were constructed by taking
measurements of the orientations of the main fissure
TRAVERTINE DEPOSITS AND ACTIVE TECTONICS IN THE S‹VAS BASIN
226
23
fissure axes
l s dayer trike and ip
river
alluvium
fissure-ridge type travertines
recent travertines
İncesu Formation
active hotwater springs
inactive springs
U/Th13: 57.5(±2.3) ky
U/Th14: 174( / ) ky+15 -14
0.00652 mm.yr-1
average dilation rate during
travertine deposition (mm yr )-1
Figure 6. Travertine types, fissure axes, age dating results, and opening rates in the Sarıkaya travertine area.
B.L. MESC‹ ET AL.
227
axes of fissure-ridges at all three travertine sites; fault
properties were also measured including data from the
metamorphic rocks that crop out around the travertine
sites and from the ‹ncesu Formation, which is the
substrate of the travertines. These data are essential for
establishing the effective tectonic regime in the region
and for determining whether trends conform to the axes
of the fissure ridge travertines. Joint set data obtained
from the quasi-horizontal ‹ncesu Formation were also
obtained to investigate the relationship between joint
patterns and fissure systems at the travertine sites.
Analysis of Fissure Systems in The Travertines
Rose-diagrams were prepared from 599 strike
measurements of fissure axes in the fissure ridge
travertines of the Sıcak Çermik site. Similarly, 27
measurements from the Sarıkaya travertine site and 52
measurements from the Delikkaya travertine site were
taken and evaluated. The fissure axis in the region is not
uniform and therefore the measurement of each fissure
axis were carried out in an approximately fifty metres
successions where the trend of the fissure axis changed.
Based on these results, concentrations are evident in the
1336.21
25
10
25
21
25
46
21
24
14
03
14
11
10
20
15
45
19
22
Çilözü Creek
0 250m
23
fissure axes
l s dayer trike and ip
river
alluvium
fissure-ridge type travertines
recent travertines
İncesu Formation
Akdağ etamorphicsm
e erroded sheet type trav tines
s ychistosit 24U/Th15: 11.4(±0.5) ky
U/Th16: 15.1(±0.7) ky
0.110 mm.yr-1
average dilation rate during
travertine deposition (mm yr )-1
Figure 7. Travertine types, fissure axes, age dating results and opening rates in the Delikkaya travertine area.
TRAVERTINE DEPOSITS AND ACTIVE TECTONICS IN THE S‹VAS BASIN
228
Table 1. U/Th Age dating results of banded travertine from fissure-ridge travertines in the study area.
Sample Location U (ppm) (234U/238U) (230Th/234U) Age (1.000 year) Ui
U/Th1 S›cak Çermik 0.73 (0.01) 1.98 (0.02) 0.718 (0.020) 120 (±5) 2.38 (0.03)
U/Th2 S›cak Çermik 0.21 (0.01) 2.03 (0.06) 0.891 (0.032) 177 (+14/-13) 2.70 (0.09)
U/Th3 S›cak Çermik 0.045 (0.002) 1.34 (0.06) 0.984 (0.049) 271 (+64/-42) 1.73 (0.14)
U/Th4 S›cak Çermik 0.014 (0.001) 1.41 (0.07) 0.945 (0.046) 229 (+37/-29) 1.79 (0.13)
U/Th5 S›cak Çermik 0.071 (0.002) 1.85 (0.07) 0.897 (0.036) 184 (+17/-15) 2.43 (0.11)
U/Th6 S›cak Çermik 0.294 (0.008) 1.93 (0.03) 0.930 (0.030) 198 (+16/-14) 2.62 (0.06)
U/Th7 S›cak Çermik 0.083 (0.004) 1.37 (0.06) 1.056 (0.050) 364 (+201/-76) 2.05 (0.17)
U/Th8 S›cak Çermik 0.085 (0.002) 1.45 (0.42) 0.709 (0.030) 123 (±9) 1.64 (0.06)
U/Th9 S›cak Çermik 0.420 (0.01) 2.53 (0.05) 0.575 (0.022) 84 (±5) 2.94 (0.06)
U/Th10 S›cak Çermik 0.022 (0.001) 1.12 (0.10) 1.038 (0.077) >290 1.60 (0.50)
U/Th11 S›cak Çermik 0.034 (0.001) 1.17 (0.06) 0.921 (0.046) 238 (+47/-34) 1.33 (0.11)
U/Th12 S›cak Çermik 0.025 (0.001) 1.59 (0.07 1.042 (0.044) 296 (+61/-42) 2.37 (0.17)
U/Th13 Sar›kaya 0.600 (0.01) 1.88 (0.03) 0.424 (0.014) 57.5 (±2.3) 2.04 (0.03)
U/Th14 Sar›kaya 0.269 (0.007) 1.60 (0.04) 0.859 (0.033) 174 (+15/-14) 1.98 (0.06)
U/Th15 Delikkaya 0.138 (0.004) 4.05 (0.10) 0.101 (0.004) 11.4 (±0.5) 4.26 (0.12)
U/Th16 Delikkaya 0.104 (0.004) 3.90 (0.14) 0.131 (0.006) 15.1 (±0.7) 4.03 (0.14)
Table 2. Opening rates of fissures deduced from U/Th age determinations.
Sample Number Age Occurence Interval Maximum Width of Banded Opening
(1.000 year) (1.000 year) Travertines (cm) Rate mm.y-1
U/Th-1 120(±5)
57 341 0.0598
U/Th-2 177(+14/-13)
U/Th-3 271(+64/-42)
42 300 0.0714
U/Th-4 229(+37/-29)
U/Th-5 184(+17/-15)
14 55 0.0392
U/Th-6 198(+16/-14)
U/Th-7 364(+201/-76)
241 675 0.0280
U/Th-8 123(±9)
U/Th-10 >290
52 750 0.144
U/Th-11 238(+47/-34)
U/Th-13 57.5(±2.3)
116.5 76 0.00652
U/Th-14 174(+15/-14)
U/Th-15 11.4(±0.5)
3.7 41 0.110
U/Th-16 15.1(±0.7)
Sıcak Çermik travertine site with N–S and N40°W
orientations. In the Sarıkaya travertine site there is a
concentration of N60°W orientations, whereas in the
Delikkaya travertine site the concentration has N30°W
orientation (Figure 11).
Kinematic Analysis of Fault Systems
Fourteen fault measurements from Palaeozoic
metamorphic units that crop out around the travertine
outcrops and 23 measurements from small scale faults in
the ‹ncesu Formation were measured and assessed using
the Carey (1979) method for kinematic analysis. When
data on fault kinematics of Palaeozoic marbles and the
Upper Miocene–Pliocene ‹ncesu Formation were
evaluated, the resultant R value was found to be greater
than 0.5, which indicates that these faults developed as a
result of compressional tectonic deformation. The main
compression that formed these faults was oriented
NW–SE (343°N) in the Palaeozoic units while the
maximum compression direction derived from fault
B.L. MESC‹ ET AL.
229
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
400
A
g e (1
0
0
0
ye a r) U/Th-6
U/Th-5
U/Th-4
U/Th-3
U/Th-7
U/Th-8
U/Th-9
?
U/Th-10
U/Th-11
U/Th-12
U/Th-13
U/Th-14U/Th-2
U/Th-1
55 200 yr
56 800 yr
121.5
65.5
9.5
178.3
233.5
289.5
345.5
U/Th-16
U/Th-15
?
?
9500
ceasing of
fissure-ridges activity
65500
ceasing of
fissure-ridges activity
121500
ceasing of
fissure-ridges activity
178300
starting and
ceasing of
new fissure-ridges
activity
233500
ceasing of
fissure-ridges activity
age (year)
18O
Figure 8. The relationship between U/Th ages and the opening and
closure of travertine ridges in the study area.
Figure 9. Graph shows climatic changes during last 300 ka after Martinson et al. (1987). compared with the
starting and ceasing periods of some fissure-ridges.
kinematic analysis of the Upper Miocene–Pliocene ‹ncesu
Formation was determined to be NW–SE (308°N) (Figure
12).
This evidence shows that the force couple that
produced the contractional tectonics in the region has
changed its position during the neotectonic history. The
angular difference between the compression directions is
035° counter-clockwise. Palaeomagnetic results obtained
from the Miocene, Pliocene, and Quaternary rocks in the
Sivas Basin also confirm that a rotation of this magnitude
occurred during the Quaternary (Gürsoy et al. 1997). The
agreement of rotation values derived from Miocene,
Pliocene and Quaternary volcanic units in the Sivas Basin
shows that the counter-clockwise rotations occurred
mostly during last stage of neotectonic deformation
during the Quaternary (Figure 13).
Analysis of Joint Systems
A contour diagram was prepared from 78 joint
measurements collected from rock units of the ‹ncesu
Formation during the fieldwork and the dominant joint
set was determined. A rose diagram, prepared using the
measurements obtained from the fissure axes of fissureridge travertines at the Sıcak Çermik site, was compared
with these joint set data (Figure 14). The dominant joints
show two different strike orientations on the contour
diagram: N35°W and N04°E. When the joints are
considered in the context of the general inferred
compression orientation of NW–SE (308°N), the first
joint set (N35°W) is identified as an open (dilatory)
system and the second joint set (N04°E) is identified as a
shear joint system. The fissures in the fissure ridge
travertines proved to be concordant with kinematic
results obtained from both the fault measurements and
TRAVERTINE DEPOSITS AND ACTIVE TECTONICS IN THE S‹VAS BASIN
230
earthquake magnitude
10.000.000
1.000.000
500.000
100.000
35.000
f l aults inactive or with extremely
low rates of activity
ess than 0.01 mm/yr
low activity rate
0.01- mm/yr0.1
moderate activity rate
0.1-1 mm/yr
high activity rate
1-10 mm/yr
very high activity rate
10-100 mm/yrl
xtreme rate of activity, seldom
developed even on major plate
boundaries
reater than 100 mm/yr
e g 10.000
1000
100
10
1
0.0
1 m
m/y
r 0.0
6 m
m/y
r 0.1
mm /yr
1 m
m/y
r 10
mm /yr
100
mm /yr
6 7 8 9
t y im e (
e a r) o r re cu rr e n ce in te rv a l Figure 10. Graphical relationship between time-magnitude and motion for the ~56,000 year earthquake cycle
(source graph from Slemmons & DePolo 1986, as reproduced in Keller & Pinter 1996).
the joint systems, although the fissure systems in the
travertines are more compatible with the joint systems of
‹ncesu Formation (Figure 14).
Lineament Analysis With Remotely Sensed Data
Lineation analysis on images obtained by remote sensing
is a common method for investigating the quality and
quantity of discontinuity planes such as fissures, faults,
and joints, and also for studying their relationship to
magmatic intrusion and volcanism. These methods can be
used to locate the positions of the linear structures, and
their general distribution can then be plotted on a rosediagram. For lineation analysis, a framework covering the
main study area and surrounding region was established
initially on a Landsat TM image (Figure 15a). By applying
‘Directional Gradient Enhancement’ effects on the 5th
spectral band of this framework, linear structures with
different orientations are highlighted. To make the
NE–SW-oriented linear structures become evident, a
NW–SE-oriented enrichment method was applied and
linear structures were drawn on the image (Figure 15b).
The same method was used for enhancing the NW–SEoriented linear structures (Figure 15c). While drawing
linear structures on the image, comparison were made
with the 1:25,000 scale topographic maps to resolve
human-made cultural structures such as roads, water
transportation channels, high voltage lines, etc. When the
linear structures are plotted on rose-diagrams, the
NE–SW and NNE–SSW orientations are evident (Figure
15d, e), and are compatible with the fault orientations
obtained from the fault system analysis (Figure 12), and
with the N04°E-oriented, dominant joint set (Figure 14).
Tectonic Model
The Sivas Tertiary Basin, which lies between ophiolites
related to the closure of northern branch of Neotethyan
ocean in the north and uplifted basement composed of
metamorphic rocks of the Kırflehir Massif in the south,
includes different rock units from Paleocene to
Quaternary in age. The basin is tectonically limited by the
Central Anatolian Thrust Zone in the north and by an
unconformity from the Kangal Neogene sub-basin, which
forms Uzunyayla Plateau in the south. The Sivas
Backthrust is a thrust fault developed in the basin that
extends through the left-lateral Central Anatolian Fault
Zone to the southwest of fiarkıflla (Figure 16).
The travertines and hot spring sites in the Sivas region
extend from the northwest of Gemerek to fiarkıflla in the
southwest, and extend northwest of Sivas to a line
B.L. MESC‹ ET AL.
231
N
S
EW
599 measurements
10
30
20
40
50
60
70
80
N
S
EW
52 measurements
15
30
45
60
75
N
S
EW
27 measurements
15
30
45
60
75
a b c Figure 11. Rose diagrams of fissure axis orientations in the (a) Sıcak
Çermik, (b) Delikkaya and (c) Sarıkaya fissure-ridge
travertines.
oriented at approximately N40°E (Figure 17). The
concentration of these features in a prominent NE–SWtrending linear zone can hardly be a coincidence and
suggests deep control by a major tectonic structure.
When the main fissure axes of the travertines in the
Sıcak Çermik region are carefully investigated as a whole,
it is apparent that they are very similar to open structures
formed in left lateral shear-zones (Figure 17). A possible
TRAVERTINE DEPOSITS AND ACTIVE TECTONICS IN THE S‹VAS BASIN
232
1


10 20 ( ,s)
75 87 -0.82
308 2 0.37
218 2 0.44
R 0.945
1


4
9 6 8
12 24
2619
10
13
22
23
2
3
5
11
16
7
25
1 27 21 15
N
S
EW
1
1




11
14 7
12 5 9 10 13
1531648
10 20 30 ( ,s)
24 68 -0.92
177 20 0.38
271 9 0.52
R 0.902
N
S
EW
Pal eozoic arblesa m
a b
Upper Miocene-Pliocene İncesu Formation
N17°W
S17°E
S52°E
N52°W
Figure 12. Lower hemisphere stereographic plots showing kinematic determination of fault planes in the (a) Palaeozoic marbles, and (b) Upper
Miocene–Pliocene ‹ncesu Formation.

Miocene ocksr
Present day
Qu ternary ocksa r
Pliocene
ocksr
90°
180°
Pal eozoic metamorphicsa
Upper Miocene-Pliocene İncesu Formation
270°
N
S
EW
N52°W
N17°W
35°
35°
~30°
a b
Figure 13. (a) Comparison of the 35° rotation derived from kinematic results from Palaeozoic marbles and the ‹ncesu Formation and (b)
stereographic projection of the regional palaeomagnetic results (Gürsoy et al. 1997).
shear zone that would produce the fissure-ridge
travertines in Sıcak Çermik should therefore be left
lateral (Figure 18). The observation that the trend of the
shear zone shown in Figure 18 is comparable with the
linear trend given in Figure 17, which includes the hot
springs and travertine sites in Sivas region, increases the
significance of this interpretation.
The approach of Price (1966), which was applied to
fissure systems formed in horizontal sedimentary rock
units that have undergone compression and extension but
without bending, has been applied to the Sıcak Çermik
travertines. This method identifies a left lateral shear
zone as the cause of a N52°W directed tensional force. It
is then possible to interpret the fissures in this region as
tensional and cutting fissures that are parallel and
perpendicular to a regional compression (Figure 19).
Also, the fact that some of the fissure axes are convex
indicates that when the tension and fissures cross each
other, or when the fissure axis development continues,
this can force one fissure to change into the other type of
fissure.
The data obtained from the fissure systems in the
‹ncesu Formation, the rose-diagrams of the fissure
locations in the Sıcak Çermik, Delikkaya and Sarıkaya
travertine fields, and kinematic analysis of the fault planes
measured in the ‹ncesu Formation collectively identify the
existence of a kinematically NW–SE-oriented compression
linked to NE–SW extensional tectonics (Figure 20).
Results and Discussion
Travertines at the Sıcak Çermik, Sarıkaya and Delikkaya
sites can be classified on their morphology into fissureridge travertines, eroded sheet-type travertines, and
channel and terraced travertines. These travertine types
and the fissure axes of the fissure-ridge travertines were
mapped in detail on a 1:5,000 scale for the first time.
Within the region, 54% of all the travertines that outcrop
in this region are fissure ridge travertines, 24% are
eroded sheet-type travertine, and 22% are actively
forming travertines. The most widespread type is the
fissure-ridge travertine, and because these types provide
much information about tectonics, they were studied in
detail and mapped on 1:5,000 scale with the help of GPS
nineteen fissure-ridge travertines were mapped at Sıcak
Çermik, three in Delikkaya, and one in Sarıkaya. The
widths of the banded travertine that form as fissure fills
in the fissure-ridges vary between 0.5 cm and 20.8 m.
To reveal the neotectonic properties of the region
from the travertine, kinematic analysis of small-scale
faults located in the Upper Miocene–Pliocene ‹ncesu
Formation, which is the substrate for the travertine sites,
was carried out and rose and contour diagrams of the
joint measurements were prepared. The rose-diagrams
obtained from the fissure axes of the fissure-ridge
travertines at Sıcak Çermik and the joint systems of the
‹ncesu Formation are entirely compatible, and yield a
compression direction oriented approximately at N20°W.
B.L. MESC‹ ET AL.
233
1
1
2
2
N
S
EW
N
S
EW
599 easurementm s78 e suremenm a ts
10
30
20
40
50
60
70
80
a b
Figure 14. (a) Contour diagram and dominant joint planes in the ‹ncesu Formation, (b) rose diagram of the fissure axes of the fissure-ridge
travertines.
TRAVERTINE DEPOSITS AND ACTIVE TECTONICS IN THE S‹VAS BASIN
234
0 4 km
Sıcak Çermik
Sarıkaya
Kızılırmak
Delikkaya
Sıcak Çermik
Delikkaya
Sarıkaya
0 4 km
Kızılırmak
Sıcak Çermik
Delikkaya
Sarıkaya
0 4 km
Kızılırmak
N
S
EW
15
30
45
60
7
5
173 easurementm s
N
S
EW
15
30
45
60
7
5
459 easurementm s
a d e b c Figure 15. (a) Landsat TM satellite images comprising the study area (2, 4 and 7 bands, as RGB); (b) lineaments derived from NE and (c)
NW. Filtering for the frame used Directional Gradient Enhancement. Rose diagrams of lineaments derived with (d) NW and (e)
NE filtering.
The fact that the tension joints developed in the ‹ncesu
Formation are conformable with the fissure systems in
the travertines shows that hydrothermal solutions have
been transported to the surface by these fissure systems
and small faults located in the ‹ncesu Formation.
Kinematic analysis of the faults located in the
Palaeozoic Akda¤madeni metamorphic rocks and the
Upper Miocene–Pliocene ‹ncesu Formation yields a
fundamental tension axis (σ1) that is vertical or subvertical. The intermediate (σ2) and the smallest
fundamental tension axes (σ3) were found to be
horizontal and/or sub-horizontal, which together shows
that a NE–SW opening tectonic regime is effective. A 35°
counterclockwise difference was observed between the
strikes of the kinematic results obtained from the
Palaeozoic units and the kinematic results obtained from
the Late Miocene–Pliocene units. This difference in the
Sivas Basin conforms to the palaeomagnetic results of
Gürsoy et al. (1997), who determined a counterclockwise vertical axis block rotation and identified
rotation that has probably occurred entirely within the
Quaternary. Remote sensing studies of satellite images
has shown that lineations are concentrated in NE–SW and
NNE–SSW directions.
The U/Th age dating method, which provides the main
temporal framework of this study, was used to calculate
B.L. MESC‹ ET AL.
235
0 50 km
Sivas
Gemerek
Şarkışla
Sıcak Çermik
Sarıkaya
Delikkaya
Cen
tral
Ce tra
l A
na tol
ian
Fa ult
Zo ne ı
n Siv
as Bac
kthrust
Ana
tolia
n Thru
st Zone
Del
iler
Fau
lt 1900- resent, 2.2-7.1 magnitudep earthquakes between
thrust faults strike-slip faults possible lineament
Figure 16. Digital elevation model, tectonic structures, and earthquake epicenters in the Tertiary Sivas Basin and surrounding area.
fissure opening rates and to identify the chronological
progress of travertine formation using 20 core samples
from the Sıcak Çermik, Delikkaya and Sarıkaya sites, and
26 other samples of which 21 were taken from Sıcak
Çermik, three from Delikkaya and two from Sarıkaya.
Analyses of 20 samples were completed, including 12
sample pairs, one of which was taken from the centre of
the fissure and the other from the band near the outer
wall of the fissure. In these six vertically-banded fissureridge travertines, the youngest was found to be 84,000
(±5,000) years old and the oldest was found to be
364,000 (+201,000/-76,000) years old. Two samples were
taken from the only fissure-ridge travertine in Sarıkaya,
which yielded ages of 57,500 (± 2,300) and 174,000
(+15.000/-14.000) years, respectively. The youngest fissureridge travertine deposit, based on the U/Th age dating
results, is at Delikkaya, which yielded an age interval of
11,400 (±500) to 15,100 (±700) years.
According to age dating results from fissure-ridge
travertines obtained from Sıcak Çermik, Sarıkaya and
Delikkaya, a regional extension rate of 0.0633 mm/year
is established. From the dating results, a grouping with a
56,000-year period is observed. However, this interval
may be refined when further dating of the undated
fissure-ridge travertines is carried out. According to the
graph of Slemmons & DePolo (1986), which relates
extension rate and recurrence period, this region falls in
the low activity category and implies that a 7.4 magnitude
major earthquake may have occurred in and around Sivas,
with a recurrence interval of approximately 56,000
years. These findings suggest that the largest, most
recent earthquake event may have occurred 9,500 years
ago. No major destructive earthquake has been recorded
historically in and around Sivas.
When earthquakes that have occurred in and around
the Tertiary Sivas Basin in the period of instrumental
observation are compared with tectonic lineaments, it is
evident that the Central Anatolian Fault Zone extends
from Kayseri to fiarkıflla and is a fault zone with a low
activity. The Sivas Backthrust extends from fiarkıflla to
the northeast; no earthquake focus has been observed on
this fault line. Earthquake foci form a line from fiarkıflla
to the northeast to the south of Sivas Backthrust. This
finding is probably related to the thrust fault geometry,
which becomes listric at depth such that earthquake foci
project onto the surface in the opposite direction to the
thrust direction behind the fault line. These earthquakes
show that the Sivas Backthrust is still an active fault.
The lineation formed by the travertine groupings
located in the Sivas region shows a similarity between
open fissure geometries and the ‘S’-type geometry of én
echelon fissures in the Sıcak Çermik. The evidence shows
that these fissures have formed due to a NE–SW Sivas
Backthrust activity, a left-lateral shear system that
controlled NW–SE-oriented compression, and NE–SWoriented extension tectonics.
Travertine sites have a special importance for studies
of active tectonics and have been used intensively in these
kinds of investigations, especially since 1990. Thus, the
present research supplements a body of earlier studies
that highlights the tectonic significance of travertine.
Altunel & Hancock (1993a, b, 1996) and Altunel (1994,
1996) examined the relationship of Pamukkale (Denizli)
travertines to the active tectonic regime. The travertines
were found to have resulted from active faulting that
originated in extensional tectonic regimes, and regional
extension rates were obtained directly from studies of
exposed fissure-ridge travertines. Çakır (1999) noted
that in places where active normal fault segments jump in
the Gediz and Menderes grabens and in the complex
extensional regions, hot water rises to the surface and
precipitates travertine. Karabacak (2002) and Karabacak
& Altunel (2003) examined the Ihlara Valley travertines
with respect to their morphology and crustal
deformation, and Koçyi¤it (2003a) stated that the
effective tension orientations in the Karakoçan fault zone
conform with the strikes of the fissure-ridge travertines
and can be used in active tectonic studies.
TRAVERTINE DEPOSITS AND ACTIVE TECTONICS IN THE S‹VAS BASIN
236
Kangal
Ulaş
Gürün
İmranlı
Suşehri
Divriği
300
km o t i e ather ravert n reas
Sıcak Çermik ravertine reat a1
Sarıkaya ravertine reat a2
Delikkaya ravertine reat a3
1
Şarkışla
Gemerek
K4

D
SİVAS
Hafik
Zara
Koyulhisar
2
3
Yıldızeli
Figure 17. Distribution of travertine locations and spa centres in the
Sivas region.
B.L. MESC‹ ET AL.
237
K
al ın
riv
er Kaşın Tepe
Serim Hill
pressure
extension
1451.91
1364.47
e oxtension comp nent
of shear vector
p oressure comp nent
of shear vector
e a xtensional joint developed
on shear zone
s zhear one
a c b Figure 18. (a) Extension and pressure components in a shear zone (from Dunne & Hancock 1994), (b) General position of a shear zone
geometry of fissures in the Sıcak Çermik travertine area, (c) view of S-shape rotation of én echelon fissures in a left-lateral
shear zone (inverted image from figure 4 in Park 1989).
As pointed out in the earlier studies of Altunel &
Hancock (1993a, b, 1996) and Altunel (1994, 1996),
the morphology of the Pamukkale travertines and those
in the Tertiary Sivas Basin are very similar. Although the
tectonic regime in the Tertiary Sivas Basin and the
tectonic regime in Pamukkale are now recognized as
being different, the resultant travertine types and the
tectonic environment are remarkably similar. Both this
study and those undertaken by Altunel (1994, 1996) on
the travertines of this study area show that travertine
cropping out in different regions with different tectonic
regimes can be evaluated and can make important
contributions to the study of active tectonics.
Acknowledgements
This research is part of Levent Mesci’s PhD work. U/Th
analyses were performed by Dr. Neil Sturchio at the
University of Illinois. We thank Dr. Sturchio for this
contribution. The English was kindly reviewed by Dr.
J.D.A. Piper. Financial support from CÜBAP (project no:
M204) is gratefully acknowledged.
TRAVERTINE DEPOSITS AND ACTIVE TECTONICS IN THE S‹VAS BASIN
238
Spa centre
Kaşın Hill
1453.67
1451.91
0 500m
t cension racks
s chear racks
co m pr es sio
n ex te ns io n a b Sivas
Gemerek
Şarkışla
Cen
tral
Sivas Bac usk thr t
Ana
tolia
n Thru
st Zone
Ce nt ra l A
na to lian
Fa ult
Zo ne Del
iler
Fau
lt 0 50
1
K


km Sar kayaı joint
Sıcak Çermik joint
fault kinematic
Delikkaya joint
İ Fm. jointncesu
thrust faults strike-slip faults possible lineament
Figure 19. Inset (a) shows the similarity of the classification of
fissures according to Price (1966) with (b) the fissures
observed in Sıcak Çermik.
Figure 20. Regional pressure and extension directions based on rose diagrams of fissure systems in travertines,
joint systems from the ‹ncesu Formation, and kinematic results from fault analyses of the ‹ncesu
Formation within the Tertiary Sivas Basin.
B.L. MESC‹ ET AL.
239
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TRAVERTINE DEPOSITS AND ACTIVE TECTONICS IN THE S‹VAS BASIN
240
Received 08 January 2007; revised typescript received 01 November 2007; accepted 12 November 2007

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