Anatomy and evolution of a Mediterranean-type fault bounded basin: the Lower Pliocene of the northern Crotone Basin (Southern Italy)


Massimo Zecchin, Via Ca'Correr 138, 35013 Cittadella, Padova, Italy. E-mail:


The complex development of the northern Crotone Basin, a forearc basin of the Calabrian Arc (Southern Italy), has been documented by sedimentological, stratigraphic and structural analyses. This Mediterranean-type fault bounded basin consists of small depocentres commonly characterized by a mix of facies that grades from continental to shallow marine. The lower Pliocene infill of the Crotone Basin consists of offshore marls (Cavalieri Marl) that grade upwards into a shallow-marine to continental succession up to 850 m thick (Zinga Formation). The succession is subdivided into three main stratal units: Zinga 1, Zinga 2, Zinga 3 bounded by major unconformities. The Zinga 1 stratal unit grades from the Cavalieri Marl to deltaic and shoreface deposits, the latter organized into several stacked progradational wedges that show spectacular thickness changes and progressive unconformities related to salt-cored NE-trending growth folds and listric normal faults. The Zinga 2 stratal unit records a progressive and moderate deepening of the area, marked by fluvial sedimentation at the base, followed by lagoonal deposits and by a stacking of mixed bioclastic and siliciclastic shoreface units, organized into metre-scale high-frequency cycles. Deposition was controlled by NE-trending synsedimentary normal faults that dissected the basin into a series of half-grabens. Hangingwall stratigraphic expansion was compensated by footwall condensed sedimentation. The extensional tectonic regime continued during sedimentation of the Zinga 3 stratal unit. Deposition confined within structural lows during a generalized transgressive phase led to local enhancement of tidal flows and development of sand-wave trains. The tectonic setting testifies the generalized structural domain of a forearc region. The angular unconformity at the top of the Zinga 3 stratal unit is regional, and marks the activation of a large-scale tectonic phase linked to strike-slip movements.