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Large-scale correlations and sequence stratigraphic analyses have been carried out in the central Mediterranean region, a tectonically active area crossing the extensional margin of the southern Tyrrhenian, the compressional front of the Siculo-Maghrebian Tertiary chain and the North African foreland. The Plio-Pleistocene marine record has been subdivided in sequences and systems tracts on the basis of both original data and correlations. We provide seismic, well-log and outcrop data supporting the occurrence of regional unconformities of constant age, related to glacio-eustatic oscillations. Evidence of transgressive-regressive facies cycles having different orders of duration, major erosional truncations and basin starvation events contributed to the construction of a new sea-level cycle chart based on the available Mediterranean high-resolution biochronology and magnetostratigraphy. We largely used the deep-sea correlative conformities of sequence boundaries in order to improve the age calibration of the cycle chart. The chart, based on a new Plio-Pleistocene time scale, can resolve boundary ages up to 5th-order paracycles based on correlations to the high-frequency oscillations of the deep-sea record. Outcrop evidence of correlations between individual parasequences and 41 ky astronomical and climatic oscillations of the deep-sea record is supported by high-resolution biochronology. A comparison with the Mediterranean Plio-Pleistocene sequence chart confirms the general validity of the Gulf of Mexico cycle chart of Wornardt and Vail (1991), except for minor differences in age and number of 4th-order sequences.

The sequence stratigraphic subdivisions are recognizable even in active sectors where stratal analysis separates the eustatic from the tectonic component; from this perspective, our experience support the regional synchroneity of sequences and systems tracts occurring in the studied interval independently of local tectonic factors.

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