Some geophysical constraints to dynamic processes in the Southwestern Mediterranean

V. Pasquale, M. Verdoya, P. Chiozzi


The total tectonic subsidence, thermal state and seismotectonic regime have been analysed to better constrain the dynamic processes which originated the basins of the Southwestern Mediterranean. It is argued that backarc extension and oceanic spreading are the possible and main processes which took place within a compressional framework, driven by the interaction between the African and European plates. As inferred by both subsidence and heat-flux data, in the central part of the Algerian-Balearic basin the crust is oceanic, 20 Ma old on average, originated by a spreading phase, which also affected the Ligurian-Provençal basin. The Alboran basin, which is underlain by stretched continental crust, shows an intermediate seismic activity and a few deep events, explainable by a gravitational collapse of cold lithosphere. After a review of the most recent geodynamical hypotheses, an evolutionary scheme is attempted envisaging the lateral continental escape of the Gibraltar arc. Within a convergent tectonic framework, some lithospheric material could translate almost perpendicular to the convergence direction, and undergo a lateral subduction process, secondary to the main boundary between plates.


marginal basin;heat-flux and seismotectonic data;lateral extrusion model;Algerian-Balearic and Alboran basins;Betic cordillera-Rif system

Full Text:



We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it (Read more).

Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X