Neogene-Quaternary magmatic activity and its geodynamic implications in the Central Mediterranean region

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G. Serri


The petrogenesis and time/space distribution of the magmatism associated with the formation of the Northern and Southern Tyrrhenian basins, together with the directions and ages of lithospheric extension and/or spreading north and south of the 410N discontinuity, show that the two arc/back-arc systems have undergone a different structural evolution at least since the middle Miocene (Langhian). The geochemical components involved in the genesis of the heterogeneities of the mantle sources of this magmatism require two separate, compositionally different slabs: 1) an old oceanic (Ionian) lithosphere still seismically active below the Calabrian arc and the Southern Tyrrhenian region; 2) an almost seismically inactive continental (Adriatic) lithosphere which carried large amounts of upper crustal materials within the upper mantle under the NW Roman Province/Tuscan/Northern Tyrrhenian region. The proposed geodynamic models require: 1) for the Northern Tyrrhenian/Northern Apenninic arc/back-arc system, the delamination and foundering of the Adriatic continental lithosphere as a consequence of the continental collision between the Corsica block and the Adriatic continental margin. This delamination process, which is still ongoing, probably started in the early-middle Miocene, but earlier than 15-14 Ma, as indicated by the age and petrogenesis of the first documented magmatic episode (the Sisco lamproite) of the Northern Apennine orogenesis; 2) for the Southern Tyrrhenian/Southern Apenninic-Calabrian arc/back-arc system, the roll-back subduction and back-arc extension driven by gravitational sinking of the Ionian oceanic subducted lithosphere. This process started after the end of the arc volcanism of Sardinia (about 13 Ma) but earlier than the first recorded episode of major rifting (about 9 Ma) in the Southern Tyrrhenian back-arc basin.

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Serri, G. (1997) “Neogene-Quaternary magmatic activity and its geodynamic implications in the Central Mediterranean region”, Annals of Geophysics, 40(3). doi: 10.4401/ag-3896.