Abstract

The Miocene sequences of Southern Tuscany represent the first post-nappe sedimentary record of the Northern Apennines, and are linked with the opening of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The sequences are located in several basins, characterizing the hinterland of the orogen. They are settled on a stack that is composed of deformed tectonic units and are capped by Plio-Pleistocene deposits. The respective basins have been strongly controlled by tectonics, which have remarkably forced the sedimentation. The Fiora Hills represent the southernmost area of Tuscany, where there are some minor but significant examples of these basins. In particular, they are the Fiora and the Tafone basins, the infillings of which are characterized by Miocene successions subdivided into several depositional units separated by unconformity or correlative conformity surfaces. This study deals with the stratigraphic features of such Miocene basinal infillings, with the aim being to define the depositional architecture and the tectonic-sedimentation interplays. Moreover, the collected data also enables there to be a discussion of some of the aspects of the basins’ structuring that are linked with the Miocene evolution of the hinterland of the Northern Apennines.

The entire Miocene succession of the Fiora Hills spans from the Langhian up to the late Messinian, with there being minor differences between the Fiora-Tafone basins and with the nearby Albegna Basin. In general, we recognize: the basal Ponsano P Unit (middle Miocene), which is referable to coastal-shallow marine environment; the Lignitiferous T Unit (late Tortonian-early Messinian), which is referable to fan-delta and lacustrine systems; the Acquabona-Spicchiaiola M1 Unit (early Messinian), which is referable to lagoonal fan-deltaic environment; the Castelnuovo M2 Unit (early Messinian), which is referable to shallow marine environment; and the “Lago-Mare” M3 Unit (late Messinian), which is referable to fan-deltaic lacustrine systems. The Miocene succession is overlaid by Plio-Pleistocene marine to continental succession. The Miocene basins have settled on deformed Ligurian allochthonous units, which are markedly structured in tectonic depressions and highs and coherently so with the “crustal lateral segmentation” model.

The development of the Miocene sedimentation in this sector of the chain appears to be strictly connected to the tectonic evolution of the Tyrrhenian Sea rifting. The middle Miocene deposits may in fact be related to the first syn-rift shallow-marine basins, marking the beginning of the post-nappe phase. During late Tortonian-early Messinian, important lacustrine-fan-delta systems dominated in the basins and represented the development of the middle Miocene stages. They evolved during the early Messinian in lagoonal fan-deltaic systems and then in shallow-marine systems. The transition to the upper Messinian deposits is marked by a significant unconformity, which is marked locally by angularity, thus noting an intramessinian deformative episode. This characterizes the lacustrine fan-deltaic systems that are linked to the Messinian salinity crisis for the paleo-Mediterranean Sea. The stratigraphic differences between the Fiora Hills’ basins are therefore linked to the somewhat different basinal sedimentary evolution, which is connected to the development of morphological/tectonic ridges.

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