Sea-Level Change around the Margins of the Catania—Trough and Hyblean Plateau, Southeast Sicily (African-Plate Convergence Zone): A Problem of Plio—Quaternary Plate Buoyancy?

  1. David I. M. Macdonald
  1. Martyn Pedley1 and
  2. Mario Grasso2

Published Online: 14 APR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444303896.ch24

Sedimentation, Tectonics and Eustasy: Sea-Level Changes at Active Margins

Sedimentation, Tectonics and Eustasy: Sea-Level Changes at Active Margins

How to Cite

Pedley, M. and Grasso, M. (1991) Sea-Level Change around the Margins of the Catania—Trough and Hyblean Plateau, Southeast Sicily (African-Plate Convergence Zone): A Problem of Plio—Quaternary Plate Buoyancy?, in Sedimentation, Tectonics and Eustasy: Sea-Level Changes at Active Margins (ed D. I. M. Macdonald), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444303896.ch24

Editor Information

  1. British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK

Author Information

  1. 1

    Department of Geology (Leicester), School of Geography & Earth Resources, University of Hull, Hull, HU6 7RX, UK

  2. 2

    Istituto di Geologia e Geofisica, University of Catania, Corso Italia, 55, 95129 Catania, Italy

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 14 APR 2009
  2. Published Print: 13 JUN 1991

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780632030170

Online ISBN: 9781444303896

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Keywords:

  • sea-level change around margins of Catania—problem of Plio-Quaternary plate buoyancy;
  • eustasy and Sicilian trough and plateau margins;
  • Plio-Quaternary tectonic events of region - origins in late Miocene;
  • thick Pliocene pelagic chalk (Trubi Formation) deposit in African foreland;
  • ‘Panchina’ - only regionally significant younger Pleistocene deposit;
  • Hyblean Pleistocene strata;
  • eustatic event stratigraphy

Summary

Neogene and Quaternary sea-level changes in the region were controlled by an interplay between neotectonism and Mediterranean eustacy.

After the Miocene Messinian dessication event, a broad, deep-water seaway was established in southeast Sicily between the developing Maghrebian thrust-fold belt and the emerging Hyblean Plateau to the south. After a regionally extensive pelagic chalk episode (early Pliocene, Trubi Formation), middle Pliocene to early Pleistocene coarse-grained bioclastic carbonates formed around the Hyblean coastal margins, whereas marls and clays accumulated in the Catania–Gela Trough (foredeep). Quartz arenites and silts became dominant, particularly in the west, during the closing stages of the early Pleistocene. Coastal conglomerates and sands typify the later Quaternary terrace deposits.

Neogene and Quaternary marine terraces associated with these sediments in the Hyblean Plateau margins provide the clearest record of onlap episodes. Additionally, they show rapid increases in elevation towards an uplift focus centred on the northwest Hyblean margin.

Plate convergence during the later stages of the Maghrebian orogeny was responsible for this southeast Sicilian regional neotectonism. Late Miocene Afro-European convergence was accompanied by syntectonic graben-associated sedimentation, particularly in the northern zone of the Scicli–Ragusa–Irminio fault line. This N–S to NE–SW orientated dextral wrench system extends from the northwest Hyblean Plateau south towards Malta. The syntectonic transtensional graben zone increased in effect as areas further west effected greater rates of crustal flexure than the Hyblean Plateau.

Major plate margin underthrusting ceased after the early Pleistocene and isostatic equilibrium was re-established rapidly in the north Hyblean Plateau. This was aided by extensive fault reactivation and uplift (c. 800 m) in northern marginal areas of the plateau.