Evolution of the Calabrian accretionary wedge (central Mediterranean)



[1] The Neogene tectonics of the central Mediterranean are related to the subduction and trench rollback of the Ionian basin under Eurasia, causing the opening of the Liguro-Provencal and Tyrrhenian back-arc basins and the formation of the Calabrian accretionary wedge. The Calabrian accretionary wedge is a partially submerged accretionary complex located in the Ionian offshore and laterally bounded by the Apulia and Malta escarpments. While the history of the back-arc extension process is fairly well defined, the structure and evolution of the wedge are still poorly known. We have analyzed and interpreted the available reflection multichannel and single-channel seismic profiles in the Ionian offshore and integrated them with other geological and geophysical data acquired in the last 40 years. Here we present unpublished seismic profiles to provide a new map of the tectonic structure of the Ionian offshore and to define the structure of the wedge and its evolution during the last 15 Myr. Our reconstruction points out that the Messinian salinity crisis represents an important break in the evolution of the wedge, as the basal décollement ramps up onto the Messinian salt deposits, producing a dramatic and fast forward propagation of the frontal thrust and resulting underplating of the underlying crustal Ionian sequence during progressive trench rollback. Our results provide new insight into the style of accretion in a weakly converging setting, which is typical for the Mediterranean region.