TIMING AND MODES OF DEFORMATION IN THE WESTERN SICILIAN THRUST SYSTEM, SOUTHERN ITALY

L. Tortorici*+, C. Monaco*, S. Mazzoli** and M. Bianca*

*Dipartimento di Scienze Geologiche, UniversitÓ degli Studi di Catania, Corso Italia 55, 95129 Catania, Italy.

+ author for correspondence: tortoric@mbox.unict.it

**Facolta' di Scienze Ambientali, UniversitÓ degli Studi di Urbino, 61029 Urbino, Italy.

Imbricate units in the western Sicilian fold-and-thrust belt originated on the southern continental margin of Neotethys, and were deformed during the Neogene-Recent in response to convergence between the African and European Plates. Neogene-Pleistocene syn-orogenic sediments, deposited in flexural foredeeps and satellite piggy-back basins, contain a record of the belt’s evolution. Progressive migration of the thrust front southwards into the foreland has been documented, beginning in the Tortonian and continuing to the present-day particularly in western parts of the belt. In the eastern part, activity on Quaternary strike-slip fault zones has produced asymmetric flower structures and other interference structures.

In this paper, we present two regional sections across the western Sicilian foreland-thrust belt system. These structural cross-sections extend down as far as the top of the Hercynian basement and integrate our field observations with previously-acquired well log, magnetic and seismic data. We show that complex interactions between the foreland-migrating thrust belt, which developed between the Late Miocene and the Pleistocene, and Pleistocene strike-slip faults led to the development of structural traps which constitute potential targets for hydrocarbon exploration.

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