Raised marine terraces in the Northern Calabrian Arc (Southern Italy): a ~ 600 kyr-long geological record of regional uplift

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L. Cucci


The Sibari Plain in the Northeastern Calabrian Arc displays a well-developed suite of marine terraces. This paper
deals with i) the identification and correlation of the terraces; ii) their age assignment and a tentative reconstruction
of the uplift history of the area; iii) the relationships between terraces and major faults in the study area and between uplift in the Plain and pattern of Quaternary uplift throughout the Calabrian Arc. Identifying wavecut platforms and inner-edge fragments over a linear extent of ~ 100 km was achieved by photo interpretation, 1:25 000 scale map analyses and field survey. Morphological evidence led to the correlation of the identified fragments into five complete strandlines (numbered #1 to #5 lowest to highest), at elevations ranging from 60 m to ~ 650 m.
Analysis of two parameters of the emerged platform-cliff systems, namely the platform-cliff ratio and the dissection percentage, further testifies that the two lowest terraces are strongly correlative. A 130 kyr AAR age of in situ fossil samples of Glycymeris collected at 114 m elevation within the deposit of Terrace #2 indicates a key correlation of T#2 with MIS 5.5 (the peak of the last interglacial, 124 kyr), i.e. an uplift rate of ~ 0.98 mm/yr for this strandline. The other four terraces have been tentatively associated with MIS 5.3, 7, 9 and 15. Geological observations
independent of geochronological evidence provide consistent lower age boundaries for the terraces and supply further constraints to this interpretation. Investigating the relations between setting of the terraces and location of major tectonic structures in the region is suggestive of no recent activity of two previously recognized faults, the «Sangineto Line» and the «Corigliano-Rossano Line». Instead, some limited anomalies that affect the terraces are tentatively associated with the activity of the Castrovillari Fault. Therefore, sustained uplift has been the long-term dominant process of tectonic deformation in the study area over the past 124 kyr, possibly 600 kyr. Rates and history
of uplift in the Sibari Plain are largely comparable with those observed in the whole Calabrian Arc, confirming that the uplift driving mechanism is deep-seated and closely connected to the Tyrrhenian subduction as already pointed out by several authors. Despite a dearth of Holocene raised paleoshorelines, it is suggested that similarly to what was observed only few tens of kilometres north and south of the Sibari Plain, the Late Pleistocene rise is still active today and that without Holocene uplift the Plain should have been far less developed and attractive for human settlement.

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How to Cite
Cucci, L. (2004) “Raised marine terraces in the Northern Calabrian Arc (Southern Italy): a ~ 600 kyr-long geological record of regional uplift”, Annals of Geophysics, 47(4). doi: 10.4401/ag-3350.