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Slab damage and the pulsating retreat of the Ionian-Apennines subduction

Eugenio Carminati and Claudio Chiarabba
Slab damage and the pulsating retreat of the Ionian-Apennines subduction
Geology (Boulder) (January 2023) 51 (3): 227-232


Episodes of slow and fast plate subduction, slab rollback, and backarc opening are widely documented; e.g., in the central Mediterranean region. Pervasive damage by fluids is emerging as a possible weakening mechanism that could lead to slab segmentation and breakoff. We show that low-velocity anomalies within the Ionian slab present in along-dip seismic tomography profiles are traces of past damaging events generated by water penetration into the oceanic lithosphere when it was at the trench. We propose that the stepwise evolution of the central Mediterranean over the past 21 m.y. has been governed by strength changes of the Ionian slab induced by damage. More generally, we speculate that the cyclicity of such a process in space and time in the different circum-Mediterranean subduction events may have led to the present shape of the Mediterranean basin.

ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 51
Serial Issue: 3
Title: Slab damage and the pulsating retreat of the Ionian-Apennines subduction
Affiliation: Sapienza University of Rome, Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Rome, Italy
Pages: 227-232
Published: 20230127
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 35
Accession Number: 2023-016925
Categories: Solid-earth geophysics
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sect., geol. sketch map
N38°00'00" - N40°00'00", E12°00'00" - E16°00'00"
N40°00'00" - N42°00'00", E04°00'00" - E08°00'00"
Secondary Affiliation: Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, ITA, Italy
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2023, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 202312
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