Recent tectonics of Tripolitania, Libya: an intraplate record of Mediterranean subduction
F. A. Capitanio, C. Faccenna, R. Funiciello, F. Salvini, 2011. "Recent tectonics of Tripolitania, Libya: an intraplate record of Mediterranean subduction", The Formation and Evolution of Africa: A Synopsis of 3.8 Ga of Earth History, D. J. J. Van Hinsbergen, S. J. H. Buiter, T. H. Torsvik, C. Gaina, S. J. Webb
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High-energy seismicity is historically recorded in Tripolitania, Libya suggesting that this area, far from Mediterranean convergent margin, is currently deforming. How this deformation relates to surrounding tectonics of the Africa-Europe convergence is still poorly known. Here, we use remote sensing image analysis and structural survey to show the recent deformation history that affected Tripolitania and reactivated the western bordering structures of Sirte Basin. This tectonic regime onset long after the Paleocene–Oligocene deformation correlated to the Hellenic subduction evolution (Libyan tectonics have been quiescent since then) and is compatible with age and trends of the Sicily Channel rift zone, a deformational belt that developed across the Maghrebian chain. We show that the continuity of this belt reaches farther than that previously acknowledged, as far as c. 1400 km from the collisional front. We speculate on the causes of deformation in this remote area, suggesting that the extensional belt formed in response to the strong slab-pull gradients at the central Mediterranean subduction margin which followed the progressive closure of the oceanic basin.