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Geometry and modeling of an active offshore thrust-related fold system: the Amendolara Ridge, Ionian Sea, southern Italy

  • Autori: Ferranti, L.; Pepe, F.; Burrato, P.; Santoro, E.; Mazzella, M.; Morelli, D.; Passaro, S.; Vannucci, G.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2012
  • Tipologia: Proceedings (TIPOLOGIA NON ATTIVA)
  • Parole Chiave: Active fault-propagation folds, blind fault segment modeling, seismotectonics, southern Italy
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On the Ionian Sea coast of southern Italy, spanning the transition from the Calabrian Arc to the Apennines, NE-directed motion of the thin-skinned frontal thrust belt of the Apennines toward the Apulian foreland reportedly ceased during the Early-Middle Pleistocene (PATACCA & SCANDONE, 2007). Deformation since then was dominated by the regional uplift of the Calabrian Arc (WESTAWAY, 1993; CUCCI & CINTI, 1998). However, detailed structural and geomorphologic analysis has revealed that uplift of Middle Pleistocene and younger marine terraces not only ensues from a regional-scale process, but also reflects a smaller-wavelength component of shortening which is attributed to recent, deeper activity of blind thrust and transpressional structures (FERRANTI et alii, 2009; CAPUTO et alii, 2010). Thus, shortening in this sector of the Apennines may still be ongoing although at a very slow rate and with a subdue morphological signature. The latter limitations have led to the common thinking that this sector of the Apennines is inactive. The submarine extension of the frontal thrust belt is represented by the Amendolara ridge, which stretches for over 80 km to the SE beneath the Taranto Gulf, the northern embayment of the Ionian Sea (Fig. 1, inset). Although it was suggested, based on existing multichannel seismic profile analysis, that the ridge has grown as a result of transpressional displacement (DEL BEN et alii, 2007; FERRANTI et alii, 2009), detailed images of the structural architecture as well as robust constraints on the timing of recent deformation were lacking. High-resolution marine geophysical data collected on the Amendolara ridge during the TEATIOCA_2011 cruise provided unequivocal constraints to assert active fault-related fold growth. Single-channel seismic (sparker) and acoustic CHIRP profiles, corroborated by multibeam mapping and shallow coring, form the novel dataset to constrain the near-bottom evolution. The new data were benchmarked to the crustal geometry by means of interpretation of existing multichannel seismic profiles. The integrated dataset analysis revealed that the NW-SE trending ridge has grown during Late Pliocene- Quaternary as a result of motion above an array of blind thrusts grouped into the Amendolara Thrust-Fold System (ATFS). Strikingly, the ATFS has displacement to the southwest toward land, and represents a backthrust belt in the regional reference frame. The stratigraphic signature of recent (Middle-Late Quaternary) fold growth is recorded by syn-tectonic depositional sequences within ponded basins and on the flanks of the ridge, and is represented by tectonicallystacked packages, and by widespread debris flows and slumping (Figs. 2, 3). Along the whole southwest margin of the ridge, the Middle-Late Quaternary depositional packages are ostensibly folded in response to southwestdirected displacement, as documented by fold asymmetry (Figs. 2, 3). Morpho-bathymetry data and seismic profiling show contrasting geometries and structural styles among the three ~15 to 20 km long and right-laterally offset banks which form the top of the Amendolara Ridge (Fig. 1). These banks are floored by the folded sediments and locally by lower Pleistocene or older bedrock. Whereas the Amendolara and Rossano banks are floored by an asymmetric fold (Fig. 2) the structure of the Cariati bank is represented by a north-dipping monocline with a train of minor frontal folds (Fig. 3). Based on the different geometry and morpho-structure, we argue that the banks are the expression of as many en-echelon blind fault segments. Based on the pattern of folded reflectors, the eastern and central segments (Cariati and Rossano, respectively) display evidence of more recent activity (Fig. 3). To the north of the Amendolara bank , a NE-verging system of two anticlines (Fig. 2), which are the offshore prosecution of the Valsinni ridge on-land (one of the recen