Abstract

The Gorgoglione Formation represents the infill of a thrust-top basin, which records the tectonic evolution of the southern Apennines (Italy) since Upper Miocene times. The Upper Miocene basin was divided into two main sub-basins, showing both about NNW-SSW elongation. During ongoing contractional deformation, the Gorgoglione basin was incorporated into the allochthonous units of the Apennine fold-and-thrust belt, as outlined by the emplacement of thrust sheets of internal provenance (Sicilide Unit) and by the development of two main generations of tight to open folds. In this work, the modalities of deformation associated to the incorporation of the Gorgoglione Formation into the fold-and-thrust belt has been documented by means of mineralogical and structural analyses. Mineralogical data show that, in the northeastern sub-basin of the Gorgoglione Formation, the illite content and the order of illite/smectite mixed layer increase near the contact with the overlaying Sicilide Unit. These data are hence used to estimate the relative tectonic load produced by thrusting of the aforementioned tectonic unit. Structural data are consistent with tight, NNW-trending, meso-scale folds particularly frequent in the upper pelitic/arenaceous portion of the Gorgoglione Formation. Within these folded pelitic levels, a well-developed axial-plane foliation, and an ordered I/S (R1 and R3) with higher illite content, is documented. Instead, other folds developed far away from the Sicilide klippen show an incipient axial-plane foliation and a random I/S (R0) with lower illite amount is found in pelites. The data suggest that the eastern sub-basin of the Gorgoglione Formation underwent variable tectonic load, increasing from E to W, as well as deformation produced by thrusting of Sicilide sheet. The mineralogical data also indicate that illitization process is favoured for the high availability of potassium due to the dissolution of k-feldspar. High potassium availability affects the samples subjected to the highest diagenetic degree, characterized by kaolinite illitization process.

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