The late Cenozoic structural evolution of western Greece involved the shortening of Mesozoic passive continental-margin and Cenozoic foreland basin sequences in a foreland-propagating, fold-and-thrust system and superimposed neotectonic deformation related to the development of an active island arc. Although the Pre-Apulian zone has been regarded as the undeformed, western foreland to the thrust belt, three-dimensional exposures in the Ionian islands of Kephalonia and Zakinthos afford evidence of significant late Neogene and Quaternary shortening, including thrusting on reactivated normal faults. Time relations and fault kinematics show that these structures are compatible with the westward migration of the locus of Hellenide thrusting beyond its previously recognized limit and outer-arc compression related to active subduction. The presence of the Pre-Apulian zone in the west contrasts with other Aegean foreland areas, where no such intermediate block lay between the thrust pile and old (?Mesozoic) oceanic crust. Consequently, the Pre-Apulian block took up continued Hellenide shortening in the late Miocene while oceanic crust was being overridden (subducted) in southern parts of the arc to the east. The Pre-Apulian zone subsequently overrode the ocean-floored Ionian Sea during the late Neogene. The confusion in determining driving mechanisms for late Cenozoic deformation in western Greece and the apparent conflict between evidence for the age of initial subduction in different parts of the arc are explained by this model, which is consistent with regional considerations, including structuration in adjacent areas and important paleomagnetic rotations in the arc.

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