A geodynamic model of the Southern Apennines accretionary prism



The Apennines comprise a Neogen—Quaternary accretionary prism that shows several anomalies with respect to classic alpine-type mountain belts, namely (i) low elevation, (ii) a shallow new Moho below the core of the belt, (iii) high heat flow in the internal parts, (iv) mainly sedimentary cover involved in the prism, (v) a deep foredeep and (vi) a fully developed back-arc basin. The suction exerted by a relatively eastward migrating mantle can determine the eastward retreat of the subduction zone and an asthenospheric wedging at the retreating subduction hinge. Heat flow, geochemical and seismological data support the presence of a hot mantle wedge underlying the western side of the Apenninic accretionary prism. A thermal model of the belt with foreland dipping isotherms fits with deepening of the seismicity toward the east. Mantle volatiles signatures are also widespread in springs along the Apennines.