Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
Paper Count: 12

Search results for: T. Beridze

12 What Defines Acceptable European Values for Georgia

Authors: Maia Kipiani, Tamari Beridze, Natalia Tchanturia, Bella Goderdzishvili, Sophio Beridze, Natia Kuparadze


Europe has concrete examples how small nations can survive and maintain their identity in its area. Values are eternal guides of our life and source of its perfection. European values are universal and relevant for every epoch, society or state. Values, such as personal freedom, human dignity, sovereignty of law, national or cultural identity are universal and eternal. Even superficial review of history of Georgian culture clearly shows that western values, including fundamental human rights. This paper discusses the approach and findings of choice of values in Georgia. Georgia is still quite far away from perfectly established values. Georgia has walked the hardest road till XXI century. Country survived miraculously many times. The study shows that the only way to survive is to strengthen national, traditional values and should not forget global factors. It is clear that for achievement of goals is important European education, legislative and economic reforms, peacefully and democratically develop Georgia.

Keywords: democracy, economical reforms, European values, human dignity, science, society, sovereignty of law, well-being

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11 Interspecific Hybridization in Natural Sturgeon Populations of the Eastern Black Sea: The Consequence of Drastic Population Decline

Authors: Tamar Beridze, Elisa Boscari, Fleur Scheele, Tamari Edisherashvili, Cort Anderson, Leonardo Congiu


The eastern part of the Black Sea and its tributaries are suitable habitats for several sturgeon species, among which Acipenser gueldenstaedtii, A. stellatus, A. nudiventris, A. persicus, A. sturio, and H. huso are well documented. However, different threats have led these species to a dramatic decline; all of them are currently listed as Critically Endangered and some Locally Extinct in that area. We tested 94 wild sturgeon samples from the Black Sea and Rioni River by analyzing the mitochondrial Control Region and nuclear markers for hybrid identification. The data analyses (1) assessed mitochondrial diversity among samples, (2) identified their species, as well as (3) indicated instances of hybridization. The data collected, besides confirming a sharp decrease of catches of Beluga and Stellate sturgeon in recent years, also revealed four juvenile hybrids between Russian and Stellate sturgeon, providing the first evidence of natural interspecific hybridization in the Rioni. The present communication raises concerns about the status of sturgeon species in this area and underlines the urgent need for conservation programs to restore self-sustaining populations.

Keywords: black sea, sturgeon, Rioni river, interspecific hybridization

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10 Jalovchat Gabbroic Intrusive of the Caucasus: Petrological Study, Geochemical Peculiarities and Formation Conditions

Authors: Giorgi Chichinadze, David Shengelia, Tamara Tsutsunava, Nikoloz Maisuradze, Giorgi Beridze


The Jalovchat intrusive is built up of hornblende gabbros, gabbro-norites and norites. Within the intrusive hornblende-bearing gabbro-pegmatites are widespread. That is a coarse-grained rock with gigantic hornblende crystals. By its unusual composition, the Jalovchat intrusive has no analogue in the Caucasus. However, petrologically and geochemically, the intrusive rocks were studied insufficiently. For comprehensive investigations, the authors applied appropriate methodologies: Microscopic study of thin sections, petro- and geochemical analyses of the samples and also different petrogenic, rare and rare earth elements diagrams and spidergrams. Analytical study established that the Jalovchat intrusive by its composition corresponds mainly to the mid-ocean ridge basalts and according to geodynamic type belongs to the subduction type. In general, it is an anomalous phenomenon, as in the rocks of such composition crystallization of hornblende and especially of its gigantic crystals is atypical. The authors believe that the water-rich magma reservoir, which was necessary for the crystallization of gigantic hornblende crystals, appeared as a result of melting of water-rich mid-ocean ridge basaltic rocks during the subduction process in Bajocian time.

Keywords: gabbro-pegmatite, intrusive, petrogenesis, petrogeochemistry, the Caucasus

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9 Complete Chloroplast DNA Sequences of Georgian Endemic Polyploid Wheats

Authors: M. Gogniashvili, I. Maisaia, A. Kotorashvili, N. Kotaria, T. Beridze


Three types of plasmon (A, B and G) is typical for genus Triticum. In polyploid species - Triticum turgidum L. and Triticum aestivum L. plasmon B is detected. In the forthcoming paper, complete nucleotide sequence of chloroplast DNA of 11 representatives of Georgian wheat polyploid species, carrying plasmon B was determined. Sequencing of chloroplast DNA was performed on an Illumina MiSeq platform. Chloroplast DNA molecules were assembled using the SOAPdenovo computer program. All contigs were aligned to the reference chloroplast genome sequence using BLASTN. For detection of SNPs and Indels and phylogeny tree construction computer programs Mafft and Blast were used. Using Triticum aestivum L. subsp. macha (Dekapr. & Menabde) Mackey var. paleocolchicum Dekapr. et Menabde as a reference, 5 SNPs can be identified in chloroplast DNA of Georgian endemic polyploid wheat. The number of noncoding substitutions is 2, coding substitutions - 3. In comparison with reference DNA two - 38 bp and 56 bp inversions were observed in paleocolchicum subspecies. There were six 1 bp indels detected in Georgian polyploid wheats, all of them at microsatellite stretches. The phylogeny tree shows that subspecies macha, carthlicum and paleocolchicum occupy different positions. According to the simplified scheme based on SNP and indel data, the ancestral, female parent of the all studied polyploid wheat is unknown X predecesor, from which four lines were formed. 1 SNP and two inversions (38 bp and 56 bp) caused the formation of subsp. paleocolchicum. Three other lines are macha, durum and carthlicum lines. Macha line is further divided into two sublines (M_1 and M_4). Carthlicum line includes subsp.carthlicum and T.aestivum - C_1 - C_2 - A_1. One of the central question of wheat domestication is which people(s) participated in wheat domestication? It is proposed that the predecessors of Georgian peoples (Proto-Kartvelians) must be placed, on the evidence of archaic lexical and toponymic data, in the mountainous regions of the western and central part of the Little Caucasus (the Transcaucasian foothills) at least 4,000 years ago. One of the possibility to explain the ‘wheat puzzle’ is that Kartvelian speakers brought domesticated wheat species and subspecis from Fertile Crescent further north to South Caucasus.

Keywords: chloroplast DNA, sequencing, SNP, triticum

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8 Petrology, Geochemistry and Formation Conditions of Metaophiolites of the Loki Crystalline Massif (the Caucasus)

Authors: Irakli Gamkrelidze, David Shengelia, Tamara Tsutsunava, Giorgi Chichinadze, Giorgi Beridze, Ketevan Tedliashvili, Tamara Tsamalashvili


The Loki crystalline massif crops out in the Caucasian region and the geological retrospective represent the northern marginal part of the Baiburt-Sevanian terrain (island arc), bordering with the Paleotethys oceanic basin in the north. The pre-Alpine basement of the massif is built up of Lower-Middle Paleozoic metamorphic complex (metasedimentary and metabasite rocks), Upper Devonian quartz-diorites and Late Variscan granites. Earlier metamorphic complex was considered as an indivisible set including suites with different degree of metamorphism. Systematic geologic, petrologic and geochemical investigations of the massif’s rocks suggest the different conception on composition, structure and formation conditions of the massif. In particular, there are two main rock types in the Loki massif: the oldest autochthonous series of gneissic quartz-diorites and cutting them granites. The massif is flanked on its western side by a volcano-sedimentary sequence, metamorphosed to low-T facies. Petrologic, metamorphic and structural differences in this sequence prove the existence of a number of discrete units (overthrust sheets). One of them, the metabasic sheet represents the fragment of ophiolite complex. It comprises transition types of the second and third layers of the Paleooceanic crust: the upper noncumulated part of the third layer gabbro component and the following lowest part of the parallel diabase dykes of the second layer. The ophiolites are represented by metagabbros, metagabbro-diabases, metadiabases and amphibolite schists. According to the content of petrogenic components and additive elements in metabasites is stated that the protolith of metabasites belongs to petrochemical type of tholeiitic series of basalts. The parental magma of metaophiolites is of E-MORB composition, and by petrochemical parameters, it is very close to the composition of intraplate basalts. The dykes of hypabissal leucocratic siliceous and medium magmatic rocks associated with the metaophiolite sheet form the separate complex. They are granitoids with the extremely low content of CaO and quartz-diorite porphyries. According to various petrochemical parameters, these rocks have mixed characteristics. Their formation took place in spreading conditions or in the areas of manifestation of plumes most likely of island arc type. The metamorphism degree of the metaophiolites corresponds to a very low stage of green schist facies. The rocks of the metaophiolite complex are obducted from the Paleotethys Ocean. Geological and paleomagnetic data show that the primary location of the ocean is supposed to be to the north of the Loki crystalline massif.

Keywords: the Caucasus, crystalline massif, ophiolites, tectonic sheet

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7 Petrogeochemistry of Hornblende-Bearing Gabbro Intrusive, the Greater Caucasus

Authors: Giorgi Chichinadze, David Shengelia, Tamara Tsutsunava, Nikoloz Maisuradze, Giorgi Beridze


The Jalovchat gabbro intrusive is exposed on the northern and southern slopes of Main Range zone of the Greater Caucasus, on an area about 25km2. It is intruded in Precambrian crystalline schists and amphibolites intensively metamorphose them along the contact zone. The intrusive is represented by hornblende-bearing gabbro, gabbro-norites and norites including thin vein bodies of gabbro-pegmatites, anorthosites and micro-gabbros. Especially should be noted the veins of gabbro-pegmatites with the gigantic (up to 0.5m) hornblende crystals. From this point of view, the Jalovchat gabbroid intrusive is particularly interesting and by its unusual composition has no analog in the Caucasus overall. The comprehensive petrologic and geochemical study of the intrusive was carried out by the authors. The results of investigations are following. Amphiboles correspond to magnesiohastingsite and magnesiohornblende. In hastingsite and hornblende as a result of isovalent isomorphism of Fe2+ by Mg, content of the latter has been increased. By AMF and Na20+K diagrams the intrusive rocks correspond to tholeiitic basalts or to basalts close to it by composition. According to ACM-AMF double diagram the samples distributed in the fields of MORB and alkali cumulates. In TiO2/FeO+Fe2O3, Zr/Y-Zr and Ti-Cr/Ni diagrams and Ti-Cr-Y triangular diagram samples are arranged in the fields of island-arc and mid-oceanic basalts or along the trends reflecting mid-oceanic ridges or island arcs. K2O/TiO2 diagram shows that these rocks belong to normal and enriched MORB type. According to Th/Nb/Y ratio, the Jalovchat intrusive composition corresponds to depleted mantle, but by Sm/Y-Ce/Sm - to the MORB area. Th/Y and Nb/Y ratios coincide with the MORB composition, Th/Yb-Ta/Yb and La/Nb-Ti ratios correspond to N MORB, and Rb/Y and N/Y - to the lower crust formations. Exceptional are Ce/Pb-Ce and Nb/Th-Nb diagrams, showing the area of primitive mantle. Spidergrams are characterized by almost horizontal trend, weakly expressed Eu minimums and by a slight depletion of light REE. Similar are characteristic of typical tholeiit basalts. In comparison to MORB spidergrams, they are characterized by depletion of light REE. Their correlation to the spidergrams of Jalovchat intrusive proves that they are more depleted. The above cited points to the gradual depletion of mantle with the light REE in geological time. The RE and REE diagrams reveal unexpected regularity. In particular, petro-geochemical characteristics of Jalovchat gabbroid intrusive predominantly correspond to MORB, that usually is an anomalous phenomenon, since in ‘ophiolitic’ section magmatic formations represented mainly by gigantic prismatic hornblende-bearing gabbro and gabbro-pegmatite are not indicated. On the basis of petro-mineralogical and petro-geochemical data analysis, the authors consider that the Jalovchat intrusive belongs to the subduction geodynamic type. In the depleted mantle rich in water the MORB rock system has subducted, where the favorable conditions for crystallization of hornblende and especially for its gigantic crystals occurred. It is considered that the Jalovchat intrusive was formed in deep horizons of the Earth’s crust as a result of crystallization of water-bearing Bajocian basalt magma.

Keywords: The Greater Caucasus, gabbro-pegmatite, hornblende-bearing gabbro, petrogenesis

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6 The Late Bronze Age Archeometallurgy of Copper in Mountainous Colchis (Lechkhumi), Georgia

Authors: Nino Sulava, Brian Gilmour, Nana Rezesidze, Tamar Beridze, Rusudan Chagelishvili


Studies of ancient metallurgy are a subject of worldwide current interest. Georgia with its famous early metalworking traditions is one of the central parts of in the Caucasus region. The aim of the present study is to introduce the results of archaeometallurgical investigations being undertaken in the mountain region of Colchis, Lechkhumi (the Tsageri Municipality of western Georgia) and establish their place in the existing archaeological context. Lechkhumi (one of the historic provinces of Georgia known from Georgian, Greek, Byzantine and Armenian written sources as Lechkhumi/Skvimnia/Takveri) is the part of the Colchian mountain area. It is one of the important but little known centres of prehistoric metallurgy in the Caucasian region and of Colchian Bronze Age culture. Reconnaissance archaeological expeditions (2011-2015) revealed significant prehistoric metallurgical sites in Lechkhumi. Sites located in the vicinity of Dogurashi Village (Tsageri Municipality) have become the target area for archaeological excavations. During archaeological excavations conducted in 2016-2018 two archaeometallurgical sites – Dogurashi I and Dogurashi II were investigated. As a result of an interdisciplinary (archaeological, geological and geophysical) survey, it has been established that at both prehistoric Dogurashi mountain sites, it was copper that was being smelted and the ore sources are likely to be of local origin. Radiocarbon dating results confirm they were operating between about the 13th and 9th century BC. More recently another similar site has been identified in this area (Dogurashi III), and this is about to undergo detailed investigation. Other prehistoric metallurgical sites are being located and investigated in the Lechkhumi region as well as chance archaeological finds (often in hoards) – copper ingots, metallurgical production debris, slag, fragments of crucibles, tuyeres (air delivery pipes), furnace wall fragments and other related waste debris. Other chance finds being investigated are the many copper, bronze and (some) iron artefacts that have been found over many years. These include copper ingots, copper, bronze and iron artefacts such as tools, jewelry, and decorative items. These show the important but little known or understood the role of Lechkhumi in the late Bronze Age culture of Colchis. It would seem that mining and metallurgical manufacture form part of the local agricultural yearly lifecycle. Colchian ceramics have been found and also evidence for artefact production, small stone mould fragments and encrusted material from the casting of a fylfot (swastika) form of Colchian bronze buckle found in the vicinities of the early settlements of Tskheta and Dekhviri. Excavation and investigation of previously unknown archaeometallurgical sites in Lechkhumi will contribute significantly to the knowledge and understanding of prehistoric Colchian metallurgy in western Georgia (Adjara, Guria, Samegrelo, and Svaneti) and will reveal the importance of this region in the study of ancient metallurgy in Georgia and the Caucasus. Acknowledgment: This work has been supported by the Shota Rustaveli National Science Foundation (grant FR # 217128).

Keywords: archaeometallurgy, Colchis, copper, Lechkhumi

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5 Biotite from Contact-Metamorphosed Rocks of the Dizi Series of the Greater Caucasus

Authors: Irakli Javakhishvili, Tamara Tsutsunava, Giorgi Beridze


The Caucasus is a component of the Mediterranean collision belt. The Dizi series is situated within the Greater Caucasian region of the Caucasus and crops out in the core of the Svaneti anticlinorium. The series was formed in the continental slope conditions on the southern passive margin of the small ocean basin. The Dizi series crops out on about 560 square km with the thickness 2000-2200 m. The rocks are faunally dated from the Devonian to the Triassic inclusive. The series is composed of terrigenous phyllitic schists, sandstones, quartzite aleurolites and lenses and interlayers of marbleized limestones. During the early Cimmerian orogeny, they underwent regional metamorphism of chlorite-sericite subfacies of greenschist facies. Typical minerals of metapelites are chlorite, sericite, augite, quartz, and tourmaline, but of basic rocks - actinolite, fibrolite, prehnite, calcite, and chlorite are developed. Into the Dizi series, polyphase intrusions of gabbros, diorites, quartz-diorites, syenite-diorites, syenites, and granitoids are intruded. Their K-Ar age dating (176-165Ma) points out that their formation corresponds to the Bathonian orogeny. The Dizi series is well-studied geologically, but very complicated processes of its regional and contact metamorphisms are insufficiently investigated. The aim of the authors was a detailed study of contact metamorphism processes of the series rocks. Investigations were accomplished applying the following methodologies: finding of key sections, a collection of material, microscopic study of samples, microprobe and structural analysis of minerals and X-ray determination of elements. The Dizi series rocks formed under the influence of the Bathonian magmatites on metapelites and carbonate-enriched rocks. They are represented by quartz, biotite, sericite, graphite, andalusite, muscovite, plagioclase, corundum, cordierite, clinopyroxene, hornblende, cummingtonite, actinolite, and tremolite bearing hornfels, marbles, and skarns. The contact metamorphism aureole reaches 350 meters. Biotite is developed only in contact-metamorphosed rocks and is a rather informative index mineral. In metapelites, biotite is formed as a result of the reaction between phengite, chlorite, and leucoxene, but in basites, it replaces actinolite or actinolite-hornblende. To study the compositional regularities of biotites, they were investigated from both - metapelites and metabasites. In total, biotite from the basites is characterized by an increased of titanium in contrast to biotite from metapelites. Biotites from metapelites are distinguished by an increased amount of aluminum. In biotites an increased amount of titanium and aluminum is observed as they approximate the contact, while their magnesia content decreases. Metapelite biotites are characterized by an increased amount of alumina in aluminum octahedrals, in contrast to biotite of the basites. In biotites of metapelites, the amount of tetrahedric aluminum is 28–34%, octahedral - 15–26%, and in basites tetrahedral aluminum is 28–33%, and octahedral 7–21%. As a result of the study of minerals, including biotite, from the contact-metamorphosed rocks of the Dizi series three exocontact zones with corresponding mineral assemblages were identified. It was established that contact metamorphism in the aureole of the Dizi series intrusions is going on at a significantly higher temperature and lower pressure than the regional metamorphism preceding the contact metamorphism.

Keywords: biotite, contact metamorphism, Dizi series, the Greater Caucasus

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4 Petrogenetic Model of Formation of Orthoclase Gabbro of the Dzirula Crystalline Massif, the Caucasus

Authors: David Shengelia, Tamara Tsutsunava, Manana Togonidze, Giorgi Chichinadze, Giorgi Beridze


Orthoclase gabbro intrusive exposes in the Eastern part of the Dzirula crystalline massif of the Central Transcaucasian microcontinent. It is intruded in the Baikal quartz-diorite gneisses as a stock-like body. The intrusive is characterized by heterogeneity of rock composition: variability of mineral content and irregular distribution of rock-forming minerals. The rocks are represented by pyroxenites, gabbro-pyroxenites and gabbros of different composition – K-feldspar, pyroxene-hornblende and biotite bearing varieties. Scientific views on the genesis and age of the orthoclase gabbro intrusive are considerably different. Based on the long-term pertogeochemical and geochronological investigations of the intrusive with such an extraordinary composition the authors came to the following conclusions. According to geological and geophysical data, it is stated that in the Saurian orogeny horizontal tectonic layering of the Earth’s crust of the Central Transcaucasian microcontinent took place. That is precisely this fact that explains the formation of the orthoclase gabbro intrusive. During the tectonic doubling of the Earth’s crust of the mentioned microcontinent thick tectonic nappes of mafic and sialic layers overlap the sialic basement (‘inversion’ layer). The initial magma of the intrusive was of high-temperature basite-ultrabasite composition, crystallization products of which are pyroxenites and gabbro-pyroxenites. Petrochemical data of the magma attest to its formation in the Upper mantle and partially in the ‘crustal astenolayer’. Then, a newly formed overheated dry magma with phenocrysts of clinopyrocxene and basic plagioclase intruded into the ‘inversion’ layer. From the new medium it was enriched by the volatile components causing the selective melting and as a result the formation of leucocratic quartz-feldspar material. At the same time in the basic magma intensive transformation of pyroxene to hornblende was going on. The basic magma partially mixed with the newly formed acid magma. These different magmas intruded first into the allochthonous basite layer without its significant transformation and then into the upper sialic layer and crystallized here at a depth of 7-10 km. By petrochemical data the newly formed leucocratic granite magma belongs to the S type granites, but the above mentioned mixed magma – to H (hybrid) type. During the final stage of magmatic processes the gabbroic rocks impregnated with high-temperature feldspar-bearing material forming anorthoclase or orthoclase. Thus, so called ‘orthoclase gabbro’ includes the rocks of various genetic groups: 1. protolith of gabbroic intrusive; 2. hybrid rock – K-feldspar gabbro and 3. leucocratic quartz-feldspar bearing rock. Petrochemical and geochemical data obtained from the hybrid gabbro and from the inrusive protolith differ from each other. For the identification of petrogenetic model of the orthoclase gabbro intrusive formation LA-ICP-MS- U-Pb zircon dating has been conducted in all three genetic types of gabbro. The zircon age of the protolith – mean 221.4±1.9 Ma and of hybrid K-feldspar gabbro – mean 221.9±2.2 Ma, records crystallization time of the intrusive, but the zircon age of quartz-feldspar bearing rocks – mean 323±2.9 Ma, as well as the inherited age (323±9, 329±8.3, 332±10 and 335±11 Ma) of hybrid K-feldspar gabbro corresponds to the formation age of Late Variscan granitoids widespread in the Dzirula crystalline massif.

Keywords: The Caucasus, isotope dating, orthoclase-bearing gabbro, petrogenetic model

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3 Recent Findings of Late Bronze Age Mining and Archaeometallurgy Activities in the Mountain Region of Colchis (Southern Lechkhumi, Georgia)

Authors: Rusudan Chagelishvili, Nino Sulava, Tamar Beridze, Nana Rezesidze, Nikoloz Tatuashvili


The South Caucasus is one of the most important centers of prehistoric metallurgy, known for its Colchian bronze culture. Modern Lechkhumi – historical Mountainous Colchis where the existence of prehistoric metallurgy is confirmed by the discovery of many artifacts is a part of this area. Studies focused on prehistoric smelting sites, related artifacts and ore deposits have been conducted during the last ten years in Lechkhumi. More than 20 prehistoric smelting sites and artifacts associated with metallurgical activities (ore roasting furnaces, slags, crucible, and tuyères fragments) have been identified so far. Within the framework of integrated studies was established that these sites were operating in 13-9 centuries B.C. and used for copper smelting. Palynological studies of slags revealed that chestnut (Castanea sativa) and hornbeam (Carpinus sp.) wood was used as smelting fuel. Geological exploration-analytical studies revealed that copper ore mining, processing and smelting sites were distributed close to each other. Despite recent complex data, the signs of prehistoric mines (trenches) haven’t been found in this part of the study area so far. Since 2018 the archaeological-geological exploration has been focused on the southern part of Lechkhumi and covered the areas of villages Okureshi and Opitara. Several copper smelting sites (Okureshi 1 and 2, Opitara 1), as well as a Colchian Bronze culture settlement, have been identified here. Three mine workings have been found in the narrow gorge of the river Rtkhmelebisgele in the vicinities of the village Opitara. In order to establish a link between the Opitara-Okureshi archaeometallurgical sites, Late Bronze Age settlement and mines, various scientific analytical methods - mineralized rock and slags petrography and atomic absorption spectrophotometry (AAS) analysis have been applied. The careful examination of Opitara mine workings revealed that there is a striking difference between mine #1 on the right bank of the river and mine #2 and #3 on the left bank. The first one has all characteristic features of the Soviet period mine working (e. g. high portal with angular ribs and roof showing signs of blasting). In contrast, mines #2 and #3, which are located very close to each other, have round-shaped portals/entrances, low roofs and fairly smooth ribs and are filled with thick layers of river sediments and collapsed weathered rock mass. A thorough review of the publications related to prehistoric mine workings and revealed some striking similarities between mines #2 and #3 with their worldwide analogs. Apparently, the ore extraction from these mines was conducted by fire-setting applying primitive tools. It was also established that mines are cut in Jurassic mineralized volcanic rocks. Ore minerals (chalcopyrite, pyrite, galena) are related to calcite and quartz veins. The results obtained through the petrochemical and petrography studies of mineralized rock samples from Opitara mines and prehistoric slags are in complete correlation with each other, establishing the direct link between copper mining, and smelting within the study area. This work was supported by the Shota Rustaveli National Science Foundation of Georgia (grant # FR-19-13022).

Keywords: archaeometallurgy, mountainous Colchis, mining, ore minerals

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2 Digital Geological Map of the Loki Crystalline Massif (The Caucasus) and Its Multi-Informative Explanatory Note

Authors: Irakli Gamkrelidze, David Shengelia, Giorgi Chichinadze, Tamara Tsutsunava, Giorgi Beridze, Tamara Tsamalashvili, Ketevan Tedliashvili, Irakli Javakhishvili


The Caucasus is situated between the Eurasian and Africa-Arabian plates and represents a component of the Mediterranean (Alpine-Himalayan) collision belt. The Loki crystalline massif crops out within one of the terranes of the Caucasus – Baiburt-Sevanian terrane. By the end of 2018, a digital geological map (1:50 000) of the Loki massif was compiled. The presented map is of great importance for the region since there is no large-scale geological map which reflects the present standards of the geological study of the massif up to the last time. The existing State Geological Map of the Loki massif is very outdated. A new map drown by using GIS (Geographic Information System) technology is loaded with multi-informative details that include: specified contours of geological units and separate tectonic scales, key mineral assemblages and facies of metamorphism, temperature conditions of metamorphism, ages of metamorphism events and the massif rocks, genetic-geodynamic types of magmatic rocks. Explanatory note, attached to the map includes the large specter of scientific information. It contains characterization of the geological setting, composition and petrogenetic and geodynamic models of the massif formation. To create a geological map of the Loki crystalline massif, appropriate methodologies were applied: a sampling of rocks, GIS technology-based mapping of geological units, microscopic description of the material, composition analysis of rocks, microprobe analysis of minerals and a new interpretation of obtained data. To prepare a digital version of the map the appropriated activities were held including the creation of a common database. Finally, the design was created that includes the elaboration of legend and the final visualization of the map. The results of the study presented in the explanatory note are given below. The autochthonous gneissose quartz diorites of normal alkalinity and sub-alkaline gabbro-diorites included in them belong to different phases of magmatism. They represent “igneous” granites corresponding to mixed mantle-crustal type granites. Four tectonic plates of the allochthonous metamorphic complex–Lower Gorastskali, Sapharlo–Lok-Jandari, Moshevani, and Lower Gorastskali differ from each other by structure and degree of metamorphism. The initial rocks of these plates are formed in different geodynamic conditions and during the Early Bretonian orogeny while overthrusting due to tectonic compression they form a thick tectonic sheet. The Lower Gorastskali overthrust sheet is a fragment of ophiolitic association corresponding to the Paleotethys oceanic crust. The protolith of the ophiolitic complex basites corresponds to the tholeiitic series of basalts. The Sapharlo–Lok-Jandari overthrust sheet is metapelites, metamorphosed in conditions of greenschist facies of regional metamorphism. The regional metamorphism of Moshevani overthrust sheet crystalline schists quartzites corresponds to a range from greenschist to hornfels facies. The “mélange” is built of rock fragments and blocks of above-mentioned overthrust sheets. Sub-alkaline and normal alkaline post-metamorphic granites of the Loki crystalline massif belong to “igneous” and rarely to “sialic” and “anorogenic” types of granites.

Keywords: digital geological map, 1:50 000 scale, crystalline massif, the caucasus

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1 Regional Metamorphism of the Loki Crystalline Massif Allochthonous Complex of the Caucasus

Authors: David Shengelia, Giorgi Chichinadze, Tamara Tsutsunava, Giorgi Beridze, Irakli Javakhishvili


The Loki pre-Alpine crystalline massif crops out within the Caucasus region. The massif basement is represented by the Upper Devonian gneissose quartz-diorites, the Lower-Middle Paleozoic metamorphic allochthonous complex, and different magmatites. Earlier, the metamorphic complex was considered as indivisible set represented by the series of different temperature metamorphits. The degree of metamorphism of separate parts of the complex is due to different formation conditions. This fact according to authors of the abstract was explained by the allochthonous-flaky structure of the complex. It was stated that the complex thrust over the gneissose quartz diorites before the intrusion of Sudetic granites. During the detailed mapping, the authors turned out that the metamorphism issues need to be reviewed and additional researches to be carried out. Investigations were accomplished by using the following methodologies: finding of key sections, a sampling of rocks, microscopic description of the material, analytical determination of elements in the rocks, microprobe analysis of minerals and new interpretation of obtained data. According to the author’s recent data within the massif four tectonic plates: Lower Gorastskali, Sapharlo-Lok-Jandari, Moshevani and “mélange” overthrust sheets have been mapped. They differ from each other by composition, the degree of metamorphism and internal structure. It is confirmed that the initial rocks of the tectonic plates formed in different geodynamic conditions during overthrusting due to tectonic compression form a thick tectonic sheet. Based on the detailed laboratory investigations additional mineral assemblages were established, temperature limits were specified, and a renewed trend of metamorphism facies and subfacies was elaborated. The results are the following: 1. The Lower Gorastskali overthrust sheet is a fragment of ophiolitic association corresponding to the Paleotethys oceanic crust. The main rock-forming minerals are carbonate, chlorite, spinel, epidote, clinoptilolite, plagioclase, hornblende, actinolite, hornblende, albite, serpentine, tremolite, talc, garnet, and prehnite. Regional metamorphism of rocks corresponds to the greenschist facies lowest stage. 2. The Sapharlo-Lok-Jandari overthrust sheet metapelites are represented by chloritoid, chlorite, phengite, muscovite, biotite, garnet, ankerite, carbonate, and quartz. Metabasites containing actinolite, chlorite, plagioclase, calcite, epidote, albite, actinolitic hornblende and hornblende are also present. The degree of metamorphism corresponds to the greenschist high-temperature chlorite, biotite, and low-temperature garnet subfacies. Later the rocks underwent the contact influence of Late Variscan granites. 3. The Moshevani overthrust sheet is represented mainly by metapelites and rarely by metabasites. Main rock-forming minerals of metapelites are muscovite, biotite, chlorite, quartz, andalusite, plagioclase, garnet and cordierite and of metabasites - plagioclase, green and blue-green hornblende, chlorite, epidote, actinolite, albite, and carbonate. Metamorphism level corresponds to staurolite-andalusite subfacies of staurolite facies and partially to facies of biotite muscovite gneisses and hornfelse facies as well. 4. The “mélange” overthrust sheet is built of different size rock fragments and blocks of Moshevani and Lower Gorastskali overthrust sheets. The degree of regional metamorphism of first and second overthrust sheets of the Loki massif corresponds to chlorite, biotite, and low-temperature garnet subfacies, but of the third overthrust sheet – to staurolite-andalusite subfacies of staurolite facies and partially to facies of biotite muscovite gneisses and hornfelse facies.

Keywords: regional metamorphism, crystalline massif, mineral assemblages, the Caucasus

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