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Late Quaternary coastal uplift of southwestern Sicily, central Mediterranean sea

  • Autori: Ferranti, Luigi; Burrato, Pierfrancesco; Sechi, Daniele; Andreucci, Stefano; Pepe, Fabrizio; Pascucci, Vincenzo
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2021
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
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Mapping and luminescence aging of raised marine terraces and aeolian ridges along an ~90 km coastal stretch in southwestern Sicily provide the first quantitative assessment of vertical tectonic deformation in this region, which spans the frontal part of an active thrust belt. We recognized a staircase of eleven terraces and nine related aeolian ridges. The elevation profile of terraces parallel to the coast shows a >90 km long bell-shaped pattern, onto which shorter-wavelength (~10 km long) undulations are superimposed. Luminescence ages from terraced beach deposits and aeolian sediments constrain the position of paleoshorelines formed during MIS 5e, 7a and 7c, with a maximum uplift rate of ~0.75 mm/a, and indicate a late Middle-Late Pleistocene (80e400 ka) age for the sequence of terraces. The elevation of Lower Pleistocene morpho-depositional markers points that uplift may have occurred at similar rates at the beginning of the Early Pleistocene, but almost zeroed between ~1.5 and 0.4 Ma before the recent renewal. The uneven elevation of Middle-Upper Pleistocene paleoshorelines observed moving along the coast documents that uplift embeds both a regional and a local component. The regional, symmetric bellshaped uplift is related to involvement in the thrust belt of thicker crustal portions of the northern African continental margin. The short-wavelength undulations represent the local component and correspond to actively growing bedrock folds. The present study contributes to unravel the different spatial and temporal scales of deformation processes at a collisional margin.