Abstract

The Northern Sicilian-Maghrebian Chain courses W-E from the Trapani Mts. to the Peloritani Mts. and is composed by a set of tectonic units deriving from the Neogene deformation of the Northern African Continental Margin. Inside it three main geotectonic elements ("external", Sicilide and "Austroalpine") are present, today juxtaposed from west to east. The thrust tectonics-related structures are displaced by a variously trending high-angle faults, generally interpreted as a neotectonic dip-slip extensional tectonics-related system, which starts since the early Pliocene, following the Miocene Maghrebian Chain-related thrusting. The tectonic edifice is represented by an uplifting zone along the Northern Sicily coastal areas, while, in the southern Tyrrhenian off-shore, a subsiding discontinuous basinal zone is located, filled by several Plio-Pleistocene clastic deposits and interposed between morphostructural highs. The opening and subsidence history of these basins appear diachronous towards the east. In the present paper a complicated grid of Plio-Pleistocene net-and strike-slip fault system is described, which occurred owing to the genesis of tectonic depressions in the northern off-shore areas and some contemporaneous outcropping transpressional structures of the Sicilian Chain. This neotectonic system may be related to a W-E trending simple shear system, which controls the Tyrrhenian Basin development.

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