Abstract

Positive structural inversion within foreland domains ahead of thrust belts can create structures with significant hydrocarbon potential in mature and underexplored areas. Within this context, the Adriatic region represents a well-established hydrocarbon province constituting a foreland domain bounded by the Apennines, Southern Alps, and Dinaric fold-and-thrust belts. Newly reprocessed regional 2D seismic data and a renewed exploration interest in the area motivate a reappraisal of the regional structure and stratigraphy of the deformed Central Adriatic region of Italy (i.e., the Mid-Adriatic Ridge). Here, we developed and discussed examples of inversion structures that have different structural styles. The structural interpretations displayed on time-to-depth converted profiles had been validated by 2D structural-kinematic balancing and forward modeling. Our aim was to better define the geometry, style, and timing of the analyzed inversion-related folds. Positive inversion structures appeared locally as asymmetric harpoon-shaped anticlines riding over high-angle blind thrusts. More commonly, inversion structures were symmetric anticlines formed above conjugate faults. Retrodeformed cross sections showed that positive inversion involved symmetric graben and asymmetric half-graben that originated during the Triassic and Jurassic. That these inversion structures developed during basement-involved thrusting, as suggested for the Adriatic in general, was consistent with forward modeling. Regionally, the contractional structures belonging to the Mid-Adriatic Ridge can be explained in terms of intraplate deformation that chiefly acted through reactivation of Mesozoic normal faults.

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