Istituto di Scienze Marine     
Gamberi F., Rovere M., Marani M. Mass-transport complex evolution in a tectonically active margin (Gioia Basin, Southeastern Tyrrhenian Sea). In: Marine Geology, vol. 279 (1-4) pp. 98 - 110. Elsevier, 2011.
Along the southeastern Tyrrhenian Sea margin, the Gioia Basin formed as a result of extensional tectonics at the rear of the Maghrebian thrust belt. In the central part of the basin, mass-transport deposits represent up to 80% of its recent infill. The basin-wide Nicotera slump is the deepest mass-transport deposit present in the basin and was followed by sheet turbidite deposition. Above the turbidite package, a mass-transport complex (MTC) formed through the stacking of different mass-transport deposits due to repeated failures of the continental slope and of a base of slope channel levee wedge, which is still preserved in the western side of the basin. The Villafranca frontally-confined slide, a body mainly consisting of coherent blocks, represents the bulk of the MTC. The failure of the Villafranca slide was due to asymmetric loading of a permeable condensed horizon in the thinnest, distal lateral part of the channel levee wedge. The relatively large thickness of the Villafranca slide caused it to remain confined at its toe region. Smaller scale mass-transport deposits, a debris-flow sheet and a debris-flow lobe, followed the Villafranca slide and were sourced from the same headwall area. Their different run out and internal character are possibly a function of the lithology of the material involved in the collapse. A slab slide, characterized by little internal deformation and frontal contractional ridges, originated when seafloor instability propagated towards the north, causing clockwise rotation of a sediment wedge. Along the linear headwall of the slab slide, a localized upslope failure propagation is shown by a small scale re-entrant. The Sicilian margin, along which the Gioia Basin develops, is characterized by strong differential vertical movements due to ongoing extensional tectonics. The effects of both local and regional strong earthquakes are frequently felt in the area. Thus, slope oversteepening and earthquakes are suggested as the more likely causes for the observed repeated events of seafloor failure. In addition, an evolution of the MTC through larger slides controlled by the migration of uplift of the basin bounding submarine ridge, followed by smaller scale failures due to the consequent slope profile modification, is here advanced.
DOI: 10.1016/j.margeo.2010.10.015
Subject submarine landslide
channel levee wedge
tectonic activity

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