Abstract

The Sicily thrust belt is a segment of the Apenninic-Maghrebian chain (Central Mediterranean), related to the Alpine orogenesis, which occurred during Oligocene-to-Pleistocene times. The orogen is composed of several thrust units, detached along incompetent stratigraphic levels. The tectonic wedge was thrust onto a foreland plate, gently dipping below the chain. The thrust fronts generally have an arch-shaped geometry and are bounded and/or cut by transfer structures. These structures allow three main segments to be identified within the chain, which today are juxtaposed from west (the more external) to east (the more internal). The westernmost is made by Panormide and Imerese-Sicanian tectonic units, the intermediate mostly by the Sicilide units and the Numidian Flysch, the easternmost by the Peloritani units. Meso-structural analysis of fold axes and thrust orientation reveals the occurrence of oblique-slip thrusting along oblique-lateral ramps, developing during Miocene-Pliocene compression. The proposed kinematic model shows the progressive juxtaposition of the different segments of the chain bounded by oblique ramps during thrusting. Oblique-slip thrusting accompanied the clockwise rotation of the different blocks of the chain. This kinematic evolution was controlled by inherited structures and also by the rheology, the thickness and the location of the more external element of the system and its counterclockwise rotation during Alpine convergence.

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