Abstract

The Abruzzi Pliocene Basin covers the outer part of the present Central Apennines chain-foredeep-foreland system and records the last deformation phases associated with the migration of the Apenninic orogen. This basin is divided into four main sectors characterized by successions with different stratigraphic evolution. From the innermost to the external ones, they are: Villadegna-Cellino Anticline, Atri Basin, Coastal Structure and Adriatic Foreland. Facies stacking patterns, geometric relationships and types of processes associated with the formation of unconformities together allow subdivision of the sedimentary fill into eight depositional sequences, detectable along the whole basin and recognizable with different features along different sectors. These sequences represent the response of the main evolutionary stages of the Pliocene Abruzzi Basin, referable to Incipient Foredeep, Foredeep and Piggy-back stages. The Incipient Foredeep stage characterizes the area at the base of the Pliocene; it forces physiographic changes, and records increasing tectonic subsidence rates and deposition of condensed successions. The Foredeep stage develops diachronously from Lower Pliocene p.p. to Upper Pliocene, moving from the internal sectors to the Adriatic Foreland; it is characterized by the maximum development of the depocenter with the highest rates of tectonic subsidence and with the deposition of thick turbiditic successions. The Piggy-back stage involves the internal sectors of the Pliocene Abruzzi basin starting from Lower Pliocene p.p. and develops diachronously within the main depocenter; it is characterized by the decrease of tectonic subsidence rates and by the progressive shallowing upward signature of sedimentary successions. This research shows the migrating behaviour of major and minor stratigraphic-structural elements; that is realized through the progressive involvement of different sectors during the evolution and is locally controlled by the presence of pre-existing paleogeographic elements and by the transversal and longitudinal propagation of thrusts.

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