Tectonic evolution of the Sicilian Thrust System (central Mediterranean)

Giuseppe Napoli, Fabrizio Nigro, Pietro Renda, Andrzej Ślączka, Rocco Favara


The Sicilian Thrust System (STS) is a south-verging (Africa-verging) fold-and-thrust belt including a Mesozoic-Paleogene sedimentary sequence.  This thrust stack owes its origin to the deformation of pre-orogenic strata deposited in different palaeogeographic domains belonging to passive margins of the African plate. The STS was deformed during the Neogene, following the closure of the Tethys Ocean and the continental collision between the Sardo-Corso Block and the North Africa margins. The thrust pile was detached from the underlying basement during the Miocene–Pleistocene. The regional-scale structural setting recognized allows us to reconstruct the tectonic evolution of the STS as follows: I – piggy-back thrusting from the Late Oligocene to the Langhian, inducing the building of the Inner Sicilian Chain (ISC); II – piggy-back thrusting from the Langhian to the Tortonian, inducing the formation of the Middle Sicilian Chain (MSC); III – generalized extensional deformation in the chain-foredeep-foreland system from the Tortonian to the Early Pliocene; IV – a new onset of piggy-back thrusting after the Early Pliocene allowed the building of the Outer Sicilian Chain and out-of-sequence thrusting in the previously developed ISC and MSC.



Sicily; Africa margin deposits; thrusting; extension; tectonics; accretionary prism

Full Text: