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Tectono-stratigraphic evolution of southern margin of the Crotone Basin
(Calabria, south Italy)
Article in Rendiconti Online Societa Geologica Italiana · January 2015
DOI: 10.3301/ROL.2015.02
4 authors:
Fabrizio Brutto
Francesco Muto
Università della Calabria
Università della Calabria
Vincenzo Tripodi
Salvatore Critelli
Università della Calabria
Università della Calabria
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Rend. Online Soc. Geol. It., Vol. XX (2014), pp. XX-XX, 1 fig., x pl., x tab.
© Società Geologica Italiana, Roma 2014
Tectono-stratigraphic evolution of southern margin of the Crotone
Basin (Calabria, south Italy)
Evoluzione tettono-stratigrafica del margine meridionale del Bacino di
Crotone (Calabria, Italia meridionale)
Brutto F. , Muto F. , Tripodi V. , Critelli S. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________
(a) Dipartimento di Biologia, Ecologia e Scienze della Terra (DiBEST)- Università della Calabria, via Pietro Bucci, 87036, Arcavacata di Rende (CS) Italy.
(*) E-mail: [email protected]
Document type: Short notes
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________
The Crotone Basins (CB) (Zecchin et al., 2013 and references therein)
is located in the eastern sectors of the Sila Massif. The CB depicts the
Neogene-Quaternary foreland basin of central Mediterranean region. The
study area is influenced by different set of NW-SE major transcurrent
faults and their antithetic lineaments which show alternating episodes of
transtensional and transpressional faulting.
Southwestern sector of the basin was characterized by three main fault
1) Active since Serravallian, NW-SE oriented faults bordering the CB
to the west and with a left-lateral strike slip kinematics at the first stage.
This transtensional phase has produced the basin opening, filled by coarsegrained, sand, clay and evaporitic deposits.
2) To the central part of the study area, Miocene deposits was
displaced by NNW-SSE and NE-SW oriented faults, this pattern displays
a dextral transpressional kinematic which seems to replace extensional
kinematic giving rise to local inversion of former basins.
3) The CB experienced a new extensional phase along N-S or NNW- SSE
oriented normal faults, starting from the Middle Pleistocene period.
Il Bacino di Crotone (CB) si estende lungo il margine
orientale del Massiccio della Sila. Il CB rappresenta uno dei
bacini di foreland neogenici-quaternari del Mediterraneo
centrale. L’area è caratterizzata da un insieme di faglie
trascorrenti principali con orientazione NO-SE e i loro
rispettivi lineamenti antitetici che mostrano episodi di
cinematica tranpressiva a transtensiva.
Il settore sud-occidentale del CB è caratterizzato da tre
sistemi di faglia principali:
1) Il sistema di faglie NO-SE, attivo sin dal Serravalliano,
borda le porzioni più occidentali del CB, mostrando una
cinematica trascorrente destra durante l’ apertura del bacino.
Questa fase transtensiva ha favorito la deposizione di sedimenti
conglomeratici che evolvono verso l’alto a sedimenti fini
(sabbie e argille) e in un secondo tempo a depositi evaporitici;
2) nella parte centrale dell’area di studio, i depositi
miocenici subiscono una serie di deformazioni a causa del
sistema di faglia NNW- SSE e NE-SW; questo pattern
tettonico mostra una cinematica transpressiva destra che
sembra sovrapporsi alla cinematica estensionale attiva almeno
fino al Messiniano, producendo localmente l’inversione dei
bacini più vecchi;
3) dal Pliocene medio il CB subisce una nuova fase
estensionale lungo i sistemi di faglie normali N-S o NNO-SSE.
KEY WORDS: Calabrian Arc, foreland basin, strike slip faults
PAROLE CHIAVE: Arco Calabro, bacini di foreland, faglie trascorrenti
The study area is located on the Ionian side of the northern
Calabrian Arc, extending from the eastern flank of the Sila
Massif, in the west, to the Tacina River, in the east (Fig.1).
Complex palaeogeographic evolution of the Crotone Basin
is tied to a several tectonic events which have characterized
this region in the last 10 My. Major events are represented by
high angle structures of the Middle Miocene to the Recent that
dissected and folded preexisting low angle overthrust contacts.
These high angle structures are represented by NW-SE oblique
transcurrent faults and extensional faults (Van Dijk et al.,
This paper deals with tectono – stratigraphic evolution of an
Ionian sedimentary basin which depicts a key sector of the
Central Mediterranean region. Using new geological and
structural data coming from geological survey it has been
possible to provide further insights on the Neogene-Quaternary
evolution of the Crotone Basin.
Furthermore data from the project ViDEPI (Marcedusa 1
and Botricello 1) have been used for comparison to the results
of this study obtained by geological and structural survey.
Geological Setting
The Crotone Basin (CB) is a Cenozoic basin belonging to
the wedge-top depozone of the Calabrian foreland-basin
systems (Perri et al., 2012, Critelli et al., 2013).
The southwestern sector of the CB is infilled by a NeogeneQuaternary sedimentary succession divided by major
unconformities. This succession overlies igneous-metamorphic
basement of the uppermost Sila Unit thrust nappe.
These sequences document the pulsating displacement
(Tripodi et al., 2013) of the Calabrian Arc towards the
southeast and the opening of the Tyrrhenian back-arc basin
during the last 10 My due to the roll-back of the Ionian portion
of the subducting lithosphere (Faccenna et al. 2005; Zecchin et
al., 2012).
Several authors have proposed that most of the subduction
system (Apennines- Calabrian Arc) has partially or completely
undergone detachment of the subducting lithosphere (Fig.1)
Fig. 1: Geological map of study area: 1. Holocene deposits; 2. Marine and Continental terraces; 3. Marcedusa Arenites ; 4. Cutro Clay; 5. Cavalieri Marl; 6.
Carvane Group; 7. Petilia Policastro Fm; 8. Calcare di Base Fm.; 9. Tripoli Fm and Ponda Clay; 10. Clypeaster Sandstones; 11. S. Nicola Fm; 12. Basement
rocks. Fig, 1: Carta geologica dell’area: 1. Depositi olocenici; 2. Terrazzi marini e continentali; 3. Areniti di Marcedusa; 4. Argille di Petrogallo; 5. Marne
dei Cavalieri; 6. Gruppo delle Carvane; 7. Fm Petilia Policastro; 8. Fm Calcare di Base; 9. Fm del Tripoli e Argille del Ponda; 10. Arenarie a Clipeastri; 11.
Fm S.Nicola; 12. Substrato.
(Neri et al., 2009; Guarnieri et al., 2006; Wortel & Spakman,
2000), followed by rebound (uplift) when the propagating tear
passes underneath the plate margin segment involved (Wortel
& Spakman, 2000).
The study area is influenced by different set of NW-SE
major transcurrent faults and their antithetic lineaments which
show alternating episodes of transtensional and transpressional
faulting. These structures belong to the larger fault system
named Petilia-Rizzuto Fault Zone which acted an oblique,
sinistral shear zone between the Sila Piccola block and the Sila
Grande block since at least the middle Miocene (Van Dijk et
al., 2000).
The CB stratigraphy (Fig.2) is characterized by a series of
stratigraphic sequences (Roda, 1964, Barone et al., 2008,
Massari et al., 2010).
The CB sedimentary succession can be subdivided into
three main tectono-stratigraphic sequences :
The first sequence (Serravallian – Early Messinian) is
a transgressive sedimentary unit which overlies the Sila
Massif. At the bottom, this sequence shows alluvional fan
and fluvial deposits of the San Nicola Formation (Fm),
formed by brown to reddish conglomerates. This
succession passes upward to shelf deposits, characterized
by grey bioclastic (Ostrea and Chlamis) to silicoclastic
sandstones, Clypeaster Sandstones (Fig.2a, 2b), and
overlain, in turn, by deeper-water grey- blue marls and
biosiliceous clay (diatomite and organic-rich laminites)
referred to Ponda Clay and Tripoli Fm, respectively
(Massari et al., 2010).
Fig 2: Stratigraphic column of the Crotone Basin (Zecchin et al., 2013) and sedimentary units in the study area: a), b) Clypeaster Sandstones; c) Calcare di
Base; d) Petilia Policastro Fm; e), f) Carvane Group; g) Cavalieri Marl; h) Cutro Clay.
Fig. 2: Colonna stratigrafica del bacino di Crotone (Zecchin et al., 2013) e unità sedimentarie dell’area; a,) b) Arenarie a Clipeastri; c) Calcare di Base;
d) Fm di Petilia Policastro; e), f) Gruppo delle Carvane; g) Marne dei Cavalieri; h) Argille di Cutro.
Second sequence (Early Messinian – Late Messinian)
is bounded at the bottom by an abrupt erosional surface,
due to severe sea level changes (Messinian Salinity Crisis).
The Calcare di Base is the lower sedimentary succession
of this sequence stratified carbonate deposits and grey
marls, up to 60 m thick, near the Crocchio River, (Fig.2c),
this unit overlies the Tripoli Fm. An intra-Messinian
unconformity marks a thick non-marine mudstone
(Massari et al., 2010), locally including fault-scarp
breccias with large blocks of the Calcare di Base (Petilia
Policastro Fm) (Fig.2d). The Petilia Policastro Fm (LagoMare deposits) outcrops extensively in the Fosso Umbro.
In turn this sedimentary succession is covered by the
Carvane Group with an erosional unconformity. The
Carvane Group consists of a fining-upward continental
succession up to 50 m thick, formed by conglomerates,
passing upward to sandstones, siltstones and claystones
(Fig.2e) (Barone et al., 2008).
The third sequence (lower Pliocene–Middle
Pleistocene) is characterized by grey-brown claystone and
siltstone enriched in foraminifera (Massari et al., 2010),
and by the Cavalieri Marl and the Cutro Clay outcropping
in the Petrogallo area (Fig.2f). These deep- marine units
show an apparent continuity, whereas the seismic data
exhibit that the two formations are separated by an
unconformity: Timpa Biso Unconformity (TBU) (Zecchin
et al., 2012).
Structural Data
Geological survey has allowed to collect about 250 fault
planes, distributed in the whole investigated area.
The study area is marked by different set of NW-SE major
transcurrent faults. The most prominent morphological
evidence of the NW–SE fault system is in the Petilia-Rizzuto
Fault Zone, an oblique, sinistral shear zone between the Sila
Piccola block and the Sila Grande block, active since the
middle Miocene (Van Dijk et al., 2000).
The NW-SE fault system (Fig.3) bordering the Fosso
Umbro depression, is characterized by right-lateral and leftlateral movements with associated transtensional and
transpressional structures. The NE–SW fault system has
normal, right- lateral kinematics. The E-W oriented faults
display a normal kinematics that prevail over other ones,
whereas N–S normal faults show a significant distribution in
mesostructural data, widespread both sedimentary and
crystalline outcropping.
Fig. 3: Stereographic projections of mesoscopic fault planes, grouped by orientation and kinematics.
Fig. 4: Proiezioni stereografiche dei piani di faglie mesoscopici, raggruppati per orientazione e cinematiche
Using new geological and structural data coming from
geological survey it has been possible to provide further
insights on the Neogene-Quaternary evolution of the Crotone
This sector is characterized by three main fault systems:
1) NO-SE fault systems, probably active from Serravallian
age, border western and central sector of the study area. It
shows an extensional and transtesional kinematics that
contributed to the basin opening.
The CB underwent a severe sea-level changes, during the
Messinian period (Messinian Salinity Crisis) and, in the study
area, limestones and non-marine mudstones with levels of
resedimented gypsarenites were deposited. This succession is
bounded by two unconformities at the base and at the top, and
it is overlain by the silicoclastic succession;
2) in the central part of the study area, the Miocene deposits
undergo several tectonic deformation due to NNW-SSE and
NE-SW orientated faults; this fault pattern shows a
transtensional kinematics, producing locally basin inversion;
3) starting from the Middle Pliocene the basin undergo a
new extensional tectonic phase along N-S and NNO-SSE
normal fault systems, probably coeval to the Cavalieri Marl
and the Cutro Clay deposition.
We are gratefull to F. Perri for reviews, discussions, and
thoughtful comments on this work.
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