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Silja Hüsing
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Mrs. S. Hüsing
Paleomagnetic Laboratory
Fort Hoofddijk
Utrecht University
Department of Earth Sciences, 
Utrecht University 
Budapestlaan 17
3584 CD Utrecht 
The Netherlands 

Phone +31 30 253 5418
Fax +31 30 243 1677


My PhD thesis

Research of Silja Hüsing

Geodynamic and paleogeographic evolution of the 
East Tethys gateway during the middle Miocene
The opening or closing of oceanic gateways – often of tectonic origin - play an important role in Earth’s geodynamic, palaeogeographic and climatic evolution. The closure of the Mediterranean-Indian Ocean gateway marks a major factor in the Neogene history of the (circum)Mediterranean area. 

Research evidences that the middle Miocene has been a time of drastic climatic changes towards a colder climate (~ 13 Ma), but the timing of closure of the Mediterranean - Indian gateway is unknown. It may have followed the climate change (e.g. by sea-

level lowering), or it may have preceeded this change (e.g. tectonic closure in the Africa - Europe convergence zone), and caused the climatic change. 

In general, processes governing (or following) climatic changes are still obscure, and in particular for this important Middle Miocene global cooling event. Studies on the Mediterranean-Indian gateway closure are not only virtually non-existent, but, in particular, they lack the accurate age control necessary to distinguish cause-and- consequence of geodynamic vs. climatic changes.

Miocene biogeography of the circum-Mediterranean area (after Harzhauser et al., 2002)

We propose an approach on sedimentary sequences sections that enables to trace the closure, accurately date it and elucidate the related effects. The research follows a spatial and temporal approach. 

Hoya village and section (Eocene - Miocene limestones) in SE Anatolia

Firstly, we aim at establishing a high- resolution time scale in Early and Middle Miocene sections from the eastern Mediterranean, the area of the once-existing ocean gateway, namely southeastern Turkey. An integrated stratigraphy approach will be used.  Secondly, these sections, and therefore the history of the gateway, will be spatially compared with astronomically dated and – in part – already analysed sections in the Central Mediterranean (northern Italy, Tremiti Islands, Malta). 

Silja drilling in the river section near Antakya, SE Turkey

Detailed rock magnetic and geochemical analyses will subsequently be carried out for an environmental investigation on these available sections and on suitable new sections. We use the advantage of already existing records of middle Miocene sections (Monte dei Corvi, Tremiti, Malta) - the few in the world spanning the (astronomically dated) time interval from approximately 11 to 16 Ma. 

publications Publications of Silja Hüsing

  • Huesin, S. (2008). Astrochronology of the Mediterranean Miocene: Linking palaeoenvironmental changes to gateway dynamics (PhD Thesis Utrecht University), Geologica Ultraiectina, 295, 171 pp.   
  • Hüsing, S.K., Zachariasse, W.J., Van Hinsbergen, D.J.J., Krijgsman, W., Inceöz, M., Harzhauser, M., Mandic, O. and Kroh, A. (2008).  Oligo-Miocene foreland basin evolution in SE Anatolia: implications for the closure of the eastern Tethys gateway, In: Van Hinsbergen, D.J.J., Edwards, M.A. and Govers, R. (editors), Geodynamics of Collision and Collapse at the Africa-Arabia-Eurasia subduction zone, Geological Society of London Special Publication, in press
  • Dupont-Nivet, G., Sier, M., Campisano, C.J., Arrowsmith, J.R., DiMaggio, E.N., Reed, K., Lockwood, C.A., Franke, C., and Huesing, S. (2009), Magnetostratigraphy of the eastern Hadar Basin (Ledi-Geraru research area, Ethiopia), implications for hominin paleoenvironments, In: Quade, J., and Wynn, J.G. (eds.), The Geology of Early Humans in the Horn of Africa, The Geological society of America Special Paper xxx, in press.
  • Hüsing, S.K., Hilgen, F.J., Abdul Aziz, H. and Krijgsman, W. (2007). Completing the Neogene geological time scale between 8.5 and 12.5 Ma, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 253, 340-358