Istituto di Scienze Marine     
Argnani A. Plate motion and the evolution of Alpine Corsica and Northern Apennines. In: Tectonophysics, vol. 579 (S.I.) pp. 207 - 219. si. ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV, PO BOX 211, 1000 AE AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS, 2012.
The polarity of subduction in the Corsica-Northern Apennine system is a long-debated issue. Models adopting an original W-dipping subduction and models preferring a flip in the polarity of subduction, from E-dipping to W-dipping present inconsistencies that are mainly due to the 2D approach. A new proposal is presented, using Late Cretaceous to Present-Day kinematic reconstructions of the Central Mediterranean. A wide oceanic embayment is required to the west of the Adriatic Promontory, to account for the Oligocene-Present calcalkaline volcanism and back-arc extension. This implies that the continental collision that originated the Alps s.s. could not continue SW-ward of Adria. The change in subduction polarity, going from the Alps, to the Apennines, is taken as on original feature since the beginning of convergence. Kinematic reconstructions show that the point where subduction polarity changes moved N-ward along the plate boundary, from Late Cretaceous to Eocene. As a result, areas that previously experienced the continental collision of the Adriatic Promontory were subsequently affected by the oceanic subduction of the Tethyan embayment. This sequence of events caused the collapse of Alpine Corsica and led to the opening of the Balearic back-arc basin. A similar kinematic evolution is ongoing in Taiwan, where the N-ward subduction of the Philippine Sea plate is progressively substituting the E-ward subduction of the Eurasian plate, causing the collapse of the orogen in northern Taiwan. The slivers of continental basement rocks that are encased within the uppermost nappe in Corsica have been interpreted as remnants of a microplate that collided with Corsica. Plate kinematics offers an alternative explanation, with these basement rocks being derived from the colliding Adriatic promontory during Paleocene-Eocene; the promontory then passed away laterally, allowing the juxtaposition of the Alpine belt of Corsica with the early Apennines. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
DOI: 10.1016/j.tecto.2012.06.010
Subject Plate kinematics; Alpine Corsica; Northern Apennines; Alps-Apennines boundary; Central Mediterranean

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