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Abstract

New seismic reflection data reveal that the south-eastward prolongation of the Apennine thrust front in the central Adriatic Sea is most likely located in a more external position with respect to the traditional interpretation. In this new interpretation, the Apennine thrust front shows a segmented geometry in correspondence to the Tremiti lithospheric transfer zone. The available data suggest that the north-eastward flexural retreat of the subducting Adriatic lithosphere and the related frontal accretion of the Apennine accretionary prism have acted during the last 5 Ma and may be considered still lively in both the Po plain and in the Central Adriatic domain, north of the Tremiti lineament. By analysing the tectonic evolution of the Apulo-Adriatic areas, it may be argued that the differential slab retreat between the central and southern sectors of the subducting Adriatic plate has been able to induce the segmentation of the Apennine thrust front.