Seismicity patterns and fault-plane solutions for the largest recent earthquakes in the Adriatic region are used to test the hypothesis that the Adriatic is a promontory of the African continental mass. The horizontal projections of the slip vectors for the 24 best constrained focal mechanisms trend at a high angle to those predicted for the Africa-Eurasia collision, and so the Adriatic cannot be thought of as a promontory of Africa. The slip vectors define an instantaneous pole of rotation that describes anticlockwise rotation of the Adriatic relative to Eurasia. The Adriatic is a stable continental block moving within the broad zone of deformation between Africa and Eurasia.

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