Abstract

Neogene-Quaternary wedge-top-basins arose during the Sicilian fold and thrust belt (FTB) build-up. The infilling sedimentary successions are: i) middle-upper Miocene silicoclastics succession, accommodated on top of the accreted Sicilide and Numidian flysch nappes; ii) upper Miocene-lower Pliocene deepening-upwards sediments unconformably overlying the inner Meso-Cenozoic deep-water, Imerese and Sicanian thrust units; iii) Upper Pliocene-Quaternary coastal-open shelf deposits unconformably covering (in the outer sector of the FTB) a tectonic stack (Gela thrust system). These successions are characterized by a basal unconformity on the deformed substrate believed to be the depositional interface common both to the coeval wedge-top and foredeep basins. The tectono-sedimentary evolution of the syn-tectonic basins was controlled by the progressive deepening of the structural levels, which were active during the growing of the FTB. The palinspastic restoration of a crustal geological transect in central Sicily points to: i) the occurrence of two subsequent, basal main thrusts (MT1 and MT2) active during the Neogene-middle Pleistocene tectonic evolution, as well as ii) a decrease in slip- and shortening-rate, estimated for the later MT2 as compared to earlier MT1 basal main thrust. The foreland-basin system evolution recorded during these two steps suggests:

  • – the regional lithofacies distribution, during late Tortonian-early Pliocene, accounted for a wide depozone including the Iblean plateau and its offshore;

  • – a crucial change was recorded by the late Pliocene-Pleistocene wedge-top depozone, when the deeper basal main thrust (MT2) involved and thickened (in the inner sector of the FTB) the crystalline basement (thin- to thick-skinned thrust tectonics); this change influenced the depozones, progressively narrowing up to the present-day setting.

As regards this general evolutionary framework, thin-skinned and thick-skinned thrust tectonics can be recognized in the Sicilian FTB evolution. The late Tortonian-early Pliocene, thin-skinned thrust tectonics include two main tectonic events, a “shallow-seated” Event 1 and a “deep-seated” Event 2, with the Pliocene-Pleistocene thick-skinned thrust tectonics representing a third tectonic event (Event 3).

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