International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 107, Issue 7, pp 2433–2447 | Cite as

Regional deformation of late Quaternary fluvial sediments in the Apennines foreland basin (Emilia, Italy)

  • Marco Stefani
  • Luca Minarelli
  • Alessandro Fontana
  • Irka Hajdas
Original Paper


Our research is aimed at estimating the vertical deformation affecting late Quaternary units accumulated into the foreland basin of the Northern Apennines chain. Beneath the study alluvial plain, compressive fault-fold structures are seismically active. We reconstructed the stratigraphic architecture and the depositional evolution of the alluvial deposits, which accumulated in the first 40 m of subsurface, through the last 45,000 years, from before the Last Glacial Maximum to the present. A 58 km-long stratigraphic profile was correlated from the foothill belt near Bologna to the vicinity of the Po River. The analysis of the profile documents subsidence movements through the last 12,000 years, exceeding − 18 m in syncline areas, with subsidence rates of at least 1.5 m/ka. Anticlines areas experienced a much lower subsidence than the syncline ones.


Subsidence Foreland basin Fluvial depositional system Stratigraphy Pleistocene Holocene Po Plain Italy 



We thank Daniel Egli and Christoph Grützner for their accurate and helpful reviews, and Riccardo Caputo and Daniela Fontana for critical discussion. We thank the Servizio Geologico, Sismico e dei Suoli della Regione Emilia Romagna and the Municipal Administration of Ferrara for the access to the subsurface data bases and for financial support in early stages of the research. A part of the subsurface data gathering and preliminary interpretation was carried out within a seismic risk microzonation project for the municipalities of Cento, Mirabello, Sant’Agostino, and Sala Bolognese. This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di ArchitetturaUniversità degli Studi di FerraraFerraraItaly
  2. 2.GeotemaFerraraItaly
  3. 3.Dipartimento di GeoscienzeUniversità degli Studi di PadovaPadovaItaly
  4. 4.Laboratory of Ion Beam PhysicsETH, HPK H25ZurichSwitzerland

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