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Land-locked Armenia lies within the South Caucasus geological region which is the southern part of the Caucasus mountain range, known as the Lesser Caucasus, plus its lowlands between the continents of Europe and Asia.
The Caucasus Mountains extend from southeastern Europe into Asia and were formed as the Arabian tectonic plate moved northwards and collided with the Eurasian tectonic plate. The northern Greater Caucasus mountains comprise folded Cretaceous and Jurassic sediments with older Paleozoic and Precambrian basement exposed at higher altitude. All the sediments in the Tethys basin were first uplifted in the Late Miocene during the Alpine orogeny to form the Greater Caucasus Mountains.
The Lesser Caucasus, largely volcanic mountains, are overlain by younger Paleogene sediments and volcanics. They were created during the Late Triassic to Late Jurassic during the earlier Cimmerian orogeny at the margin of the Tethys Ocean. The later Alpine orogeny also caused uplift along with the Cenozoic volcanism.
The Armenian highland was flooded by basalts and andesites in the Pliocene with the highest summits formed as Pleistocene-Pliocene volcanoes. The entire region in Armenia is still subjected to strong earthquakes from this activity.
Small depressions lie in the centre and west of the country, in particular the Ararat Depression which mostly lies in Turkey. However a lack of commercial success in the few wells drilled due to poor reservoir development and complex small traps, leads Globalshift to consider that Armenia has no oil and gas potential.