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ABSTRACT

The volcanic complexes from the Eolian islands to the Campania/Roman regions and Tuscany further north, rest on lithospheric sectors which overlie the Adriatic continental lithosphere sinking along the Apennine-Maghrebian orogenic belt. Evidence for this stems from the melting, at mantle depth, of upper crustal materials as indicated by the widespread interaction of S-type and K-alkaline melts. The genesis of atypical magmas of the Roman Province (central-southern Italy) appears to be the result of an important block faulting and deep lithospheric rifting of the Apennine continental margin lying parallel to and above relic sinking slabs. Intermediate and deep-focus earthquakes indicate that the lithospheric slab is still seismically active under the Eolian-Calabrian area and, sporadically, at the southern end of Campania. On the other hand, in the Roman/Tuscan region, it seems to be almost inactive, few earthquakes having been located with hypocentral depths not exceeding 150 km. The analysis of the spectral content of seismic sources supports the existence of two distinct zones of lithospheric shortening in correspondence of Tuscany and South Tyrrhenian sea, which are separated by a tensional region, which extends from Latium to Calabria. The existence of distinct lithospheric slabs along the Tyrrhenian rim is supported by surface wave dispersion and scattering measurements as well as P-wave residuals, and is confirmed by the trend of long-wavelength gravity anomalies. Bidimensional gravity models along transects in the Tyrrhenian sea and italian peninsula interpreted within the geometrical constraints imposed by the results of the interpretation of aeromagnetic, seismic and seismological data have been used to delimit the spatial distribution of the density contrasts in the upper mantle which might be due to the existence of the above-mentioned lithospheric slabs.