Strike-slip systems as the main tectonic features in the Plio-Quaternary kinematics of the Calabrian Arc

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The oblique and diachronous collision of the Apennine-Maghrebian Chain with the Apulian (in the north-east) and Pelagian (in the south) continental forelands, has determined the characteristic arcuate structure of this orogen. The effects of Plio-Pleistocene deformation of the Calabrian Arc have been analysed on the basis of available reflection seismic profiles and using local time-structural maps reconstructed along the main structures. During this period, internal sectors of the Tertiary chain migrated forward on the oceanic Ionian foreland, and were cut by important strike-slip systems. These last have an orientation approximately coincident with that of the migration of the front, allowing differential movement of the different sectors of the arc, towards the weakly buoyant Ionian oceanic domain. The dataset suggests a clear connection between the development of the strike-slip systems cutting the chain and the direction of tectonic transport, towards the East during Late Messinian/Early Pliocene time, to the ESE during Late Pliocene/Early Pleistocene time, finally to the SSE during the Middle/Late Pleistocene to Present, showing a clockwise rotation in well defined stages during the kinematic evolution of the chain. The origin of the Strait of Messina during the different phases is also interpreted in the context of the analysed regional tectonic setting.

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