Abstract

Gravitational collapse occurs during the mature evolution of orogenic belts, but its signature is difficult to discriminate in macroscopic structures from that of pre-, syn- or late-/post-orogenic extension, so reliable mesoscopic examples are particularly useful. A composite fabric developed along a lateral thrust ramp in the Apennines reveals mesoscopic normal faults that truncate the thrust surface, overprint the S-fabric and merge downwards in a foreland-directed splay, leaving the thrust footwall undeformed. These relationships indicate syn-/late-thrusting extension, which we interpret as induced by hanging-wall gravitational collapse. Our study provides critical constraints for reconstructing the kinematic evolution of collapsing thrust fronts.

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