Abstract:

The fold and thrust belt in western Sicily is characterized by the presence and interference of shallow and deep-seated compressional structures, which were generated and developed at different structural levels. The shallow structures consist of imbricated thrusts and asymmetric folds, with a typical wavelength of 2 km, involving relatively thin deep-water units. These units are superimposed on thick platform carbonate units, along a wide and originally almost flat floor thrust. The axial trend of the folds is variable, as multi-phase folding often occurred, producing a characteristic interference pattern, reflecting continuous variations of the apparent transport direction during the emplacement (i.e. rotation of the allochthonous thrust sheets). The deep-seated structures consist of large, double-verging pop-up structures, with a typical wavelength of 5–10 km, involving thicker platform carbonate successions. The deep-seated structures are characterized by large folds, with vertical to overturned limbs, caused by high-angle, transpressive ramps that reactivated previous (i.e. Mesozoic) synsedimentary normal or transtensional faults. The floor thrust of the shallow structures was passively deformed by the subsequent growth of the underlying, younger deep-seated structures. Large clockwise rotations of the tectonic units occurred during the compressional deformation, and the amount of rotation is apparently related to the timing and amount of the tectonic transport.

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