The Oligocene to Recent Foreland Basins of the Northern Apennines

  1. P. A. Allen and
  2. P. Homewood
  1. Franco Ricci Lucchi

Published Online: 5 MAY 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444303810.ch6

Foreland Basins

Foreland Basins

How to Cite

Ricci Lucchi, F. (1986) The Oligocene to Recent Foreland Basins of the Northern Apennines, in Foreland Basins (eds P. A. Allen and P. Homewood), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444303810.ch6

Author Information

  1. Istituto di Geologia, University of Bologna, Via Zamboni 67-40127 Bologna, Italy

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 5 MAY 2009
  2. Published Print: 22 DEC 1986

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780632017324

Online ISBN: 9781444303810



  • Alpine basins of Europe and Asia;
  • Oligocene to recent foreland basins of northern Apennines;
  • surrection of Apenninic chain - attributed to sudden, paroxysmal event, ‘Tortonian phase’;
  • dispersal pattern in idealized Apenninic foredeep;
  • foreland basins and their fills;
  • main molasse cycles in Padan foredeep;
  • from present to past foreland basins;
  • comparing ancient and recent wedges of foredeep;
  • pre-orogenic deposits;
  • Flysch stage - Marnoso-arenacea wedge


Elongated foreland basins were formed by compression and shortening of the African–Adriatic continental margin from the Oligocene to the Quaternary, and filled mostly by turbidite deposits. Unlike other foredeeps (e.g. Rocky Mountains), loci of deposition occurred on the fold belt itself. Thus, major basins (foredeeps) were coupled with minor basins carried piggy-back on thrust sheets. This system migrated, mostly stepwise, toward the craton, reflecting an alternation of thrust activity and quiescence. Subsidence and deposition cycles are well synchronized and coupled in major and satellite basins until the end of the Miocene, then decoupled. The backbone of the Apennines chain emerged, and the molasse stage replaced the flysch stage; the feeding changed from alpine to apenninic, but resedimentation in deep water was still dominant. The migration of subsident axes slowed down and vertical movements became more important. Older foredeep wedges were incorporated in the thrust belt and uplifted while the rates of subsidence and sedimentation increased in the Po Basin.

The stratigraphy of both foredeep and thrust-based deposits is revised in terms of depositional sequences; the Miocene ones reflect not only the regional tectonic control but also correlate with the global Vail curve. Examples of correlation between marginal and basinal sequences, of dispersal patterns, cannibalistic feeding, topographic control on gravity sediment flows, and peculiar clastic facies are discussed.