We present a thermo-rheological study of the Adriatic crust in the central Po plain (Northern Italy), which records the convergence of the Alpine and Apennine external fronts. The present thermal regime of the crust is inferred from geological and geophysical data from oil exploration. A set of temperature data from 37 deep boreholes (bottom hole, drill stem, and production test temperatures) is used to estimate undisturbed formation temperatures down to 6–7 km of depth. Best quality data are used to estimate upper crustal geotherms, which are subdivided into four groups taking into considerations the following factors: i) presence/absence of relevant fluid circulation; ii) conductive thermal refraction; iii) recent sedimentation, and iv) other disturbing tectonothermal processes (e.g., recent tectonics). Assuming average corrections for temperature data affected by recent sedimentation effects, geotherms fall within the same range and provide a homogeneous thermal signal. Temperature measurements in the upper ∼7 km are used to constrain a 1-D thermal model at the crustal scale. The best fitting geotherm gives a thermal gradient of ∼23 ± 5 mK m−1 (over 7 km of depth), a surface heat flow of ∼46 ± 9 mW m−2, and an estimated Moho temperature of 620 ± 80 °C.
Using the estimated crustal structure and composition and the best-fitting geotherm, a representative strength envelope is obtained. For hydrostatic and supra-hydrostatic pore pressures, the calculated total crustal strength of this sector of the Adria microplate (not including the upper mantle contribution) is in the 1.8–2.5 TN m−1 range. Considering also the lithospheric mantle contribution, the total lithospheric strength is estimated to be between 23 (wet peridotite) and 39 (dry peridotite) TN m−1.