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During the past few decades, palaeomagnetism has been used as a powerful tool for constraining kinematic models of curved orogenic systems, because of its great potential in quantifying vertical axis rotations and in discriminating between primary and secondary (orocline s.l.) arcs. The Mediterranean area has represented an attractive region to apply palaeomagnetic analysis, as it shows a large number of narrow arcs, defining an irregular and rather diffuse plate boundary. This paper is intended to be an updated review on the contribution of palaeomagnetism to the reconstruction of the Neogene geodynamic evolution of the arc-shaped orogenic belts in the Western and Central Mediterranean Basin. The Gibraltar Arc, the Northern Apennines and the Calabria Arc are here described, underlining the common and the different features that characterize these arcuate mountain chains. In particular, the mechanisms that lead to the present-day shape of these arcs (the subduction process) will be discussed, in the general framework of the geometry and space–time evolution of the Mediterranean subduction system.

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