Structural Features and Basin Tectonics of the Tyrrhenian Sea

  • Forese-Carlo Wezel


The principal geological and geophysical features of the Tyrrhenian Sea are described and discussed in order to determine a correct kinematic picture. Its bilateral symmetry, which gives it the character of an interarc basin, is also manifested by the deep crustal configuration that should indicate opposite-vergent arcuate overthrusting (obduction) of the Tyrrhenian oceanic crust onto the Alpine (modern inactive front) and the Apennine (active front) foreland basements, respectively. The eastern, seismically active front is believed to have resulted from a process of Neogene Apenninization of the previous Alpine fold structures, triggered by the eastward migration of domal uplifts, transient in time and space.


Magnetic Anomaly Thrust Sheet Benioff Zone Italian Project Basin Tectonics 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. AGIP, 1981. Italia—Carta Magnetica (Scale 1:500,000). Fogli D,G,H,L,M. Att. Min., Direz. Espl. Idrocarburi, Met. Appl. Geofis., S. Donato Milanese (charts).Google Scholar
  2. Aubouin, J., 1981. About mountain building. Geol. Soc. China, Mem. No. 4:33–53.Google Scholar
  3. Bacini Sedimentari, 1982. Segnalazione di metamorfiti di alta pressione e di strutture a vergenza appenninica nel Mar Tirreno settentrionale. Mem. Soc. Geol. It., 21:89–92.Google Scholar
  4. Barben, F. and Innocenti, F., 1980. Volcanisme néogène et quaternaire. In: G. Fagnani and P. Zuffardi (Editors), Introduction à la Géologie Générale d’Italie et Guide à l’Excursion 122A, 26 e Congrès Géologique Intern., Paris, pp. 99–104.Google Scholar
  5. Barbieri, M., Di Girolamo, P., Locardi, E., Lom-bardi, G. and Stanzione, D., 1979. Petrology of the calc-alkaline volcanics of the Parete 2 well (Campania, Italy). Per. Miner., 48:53–74.Google Scholar
  6. Bartole, R., 1981. Seismic evidence of an earlier Pliocene erosional surface in the deep part of the Tyrrhenian Sea. In: F.C. Wezel (Editor), Sedimentary Basins of Mediterranean Margins. C.N.R. Italian Project of Oceanography, Tecno-print, Bologna, pp. 127–145.Google Scholar
  7. Bartole, R., Savelli, D., Tramontana, M. and Wezel, F.C., 1984. Structural and sedimentary features in the Tyrrhenian margin off Campania, Southern Italy. Mar. Geol., 55:163–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Beccaluva, L., Deriu, M., Macciotta, G., Savelli, C. and Venturelli, G., 1977. Geochronology and mag-matic character of the Pliocene-Pleistocene vol-canism in Sardinia (Italy). Bull. Volcanol. 40:1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Beccaluva, L., Gabbianelli, G., Lucchini, F., Rossi, P.L., Savelli, C. and Zeda, O., 1981. Magmatic character and K/Ar ages of volcanics dredged from the Eolian seamounts (Tyrrhenian Sea). In: F.C. Wezel (Editor), Sedimentary Basins of Mediterranean Margins. C.N.R. Italian Project of Oceanography, Tecnoprint, Bologna, pp. 361–368.Google Scholar
  10. Bellon, H., 1977. Chronologie radiométrique des séries magmatiques tertiaires et quaternaires de Méditerranée occidentale. 5° Réun. Ann. Sc. Terre, Rennes, p. 56.Google Scholar
  11. Billings, M.P., 1945. Mechanics of igneous intrusion in New Hampshire. Am. J. Sci., 243-A: 40–68.Google Scholar
  12. Boccaletti, M., Coli, M., Decandia, F.A., Giannini, E. and Lazzarotto, A., 1981. Evoluzione dell’Appennino settentrionale secondo un nuovo modello strutturale. Mem. Soc. Geol. It., 21:359–373.Google Scholar
  13. Bolis, G., Cappelli, V. and Marinelli, M., 1981. Aeromagnetic data of the Italian area: instrumental to a better comprehension of the basement main characteristics in Italy. Preprint 43rd European Assoc. Expl. Geophys. Meeting in Venezia, 26 pp.Google Scholar
  14. Bouillin, J.-P., 1977. Géologie alpine de la Petite Ka-bylie dans les régions de Collo et d’El Milia (Algérie). Thesis, Univ. P. et M. Curie, Paris, pp. 1–511.Google Scholar
  15. Burke, K. and Dewey, J.F., 1973. Plume-generated triple junctions: key indicators in applying plate tectonics to old rocks. J. Geol. 81:406–433.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Caire, A., 1975. Italy in its Mediterranean setting. In: C.H. Squyres (Editor), Geology of Italy, Earth Sci. Soc. Libyan Arab Rep., Tripoli, pp. 11–74.Google Scholar
  17. Caputo, M., Panza, G.F. and Postpischl, D., 1970. Deep structure of the Mediterranean basin. J. Geophys. Res., 75:4919–4923.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cassinis, R., 1981a. The structure of the earth’s crust in the Italian region. In: F.C. Wezel (Editor), Sedimentary Basins of Mediterranean Margins. C.N.R. Italian Project of Oceanography, Tecnoprint, Bologna, pp. 19–31.Google Scholar
  19. Cassinis, R., 1981b. Prime correlazioni tra struttura crostale e sismicità della regione italiana. Atti V Conv. Ann. Gruppo Naz. Geofis. Terra Solida, 2:507–532.Google Scholar
  20. Cassinis, R., 1983. Seismicity and crustal structure in the Italian region: a preliminary zoning. Boll. Geofis. Teor. Appl., 25:3–26.Google Scholar
  21. Cloos, H., 1939. Hebung, Spaltung, Vulkanismus. Geol. Rundsch. 30:400–527.Google Scholar
  22. Cohen, C.R., Schweickert, R.A. and Odom, A.L., 1981. Age of emplacement of the Schistes lustrés nappe, Alpine Corsica. Tectonophysics, 73:267–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Condomines, M. and Allègre, C.I., 1980. Age and magmatic evolution of Stromboli volcano from 230Th-238U disequilibrium data. Nature, 288:354–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Dallan Nardi, L., 1979. Microfossili miocenici nella matrice sedimentaria delle brecce situate alia base della “Falda Toscana” nelle Apuane meridionali. Boll. Soc. Geol. It., 98:119–128.Google Scholar
  25. Dallan Nardi, L. and Nardi, R., 1974. Schema strati-grafico e strutturale dell’Appennino settentrionale. Mem. Acc. Lunig. Sc, 42:1–212.Google Scholar
  26. Delia Vedova, B. and Peius, G., 1981. Misure di flusso di calore nei mari italiani: stato di avanza-mento della ricerca. Atti l Conv. Ann. Gruppo Naz. Geofis. Terra Solida, 2:401–413.Google Scholar
  27. Della Vedova, B., Pellis, G., Foucher, LP. and Renault, LP., 1984. Geothermal structure of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Mar. Geol., 55:271–289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Dickinson, W.R., 1975. Potash-depth (K-h) relations in continental margin and intra-oceanic magmatic arcs. Geology, 3:53–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Dietrich, V., Emmermann, R., Keller, J. and Puchelt, H., 1977. Tholeiitic basalts from the Tyrrhenian Sea floor. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 36:285–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Di Girolamo, P., 1978. Geotectonic settings of Miocene-Quaternary volcanism in and around the eastern Tyrrhenian Sea border (Italy) as deduced from major element geochemistry. Bull. Volcanol., 41:229–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Elliott, D., 1976. The motion of thrust sheets. J. Geophys. Res., 81:949–963.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Fabbri, A. and Curzi, P., 1979. The Messinian of the Tyrrhenian Sea: seismic evidence and dynamic implications. G. Geol., 43:215–248.Google Scholar
  33. Fabbri, A., Gallignani, P., Gennesseaux, M. and Rehault, J.P., 1980. Structure superficielle et profonde de la zone de la Faille Centrale (Mer Tyr-rhénienne). Paper presented at the XXVII Congrès-Assemblée CIESM, Cagliari, 9–18 October.Google Scholar
  34. Fabbri, A., Gallignani, P. and Zitellini, N., 1981. Geologic evolution of the peri-Tyrrhenian sedimentary basins. In: F.C. Wezel (Editor), Sedimentary Basins of Mediterranean Margins. C.N.R. Italian Project of Oceanography, Tecnoprint, Bologna, pp. 101–126.Google Scholar
  35. Galdeano, A. and Rossignol, J.C., 1977. Assemblage à altitude constante des cartes d’anomalies magnétiques couvrant l’ensemble du bassin occidental de la Méditerranée. Bull. Soc. Géol. Fr. 19:461–468.Google Scholar
  36. Gasparini, C., Iannaccone, G. and Scarpa, R., 1980. On the focal mechanism of Italian earthquakes. Rock Mechanics Suppl. 9:85–91.Google Scholar
  37. Gasparini, C., Iannacone, G., Scandone, P. and Scarpa, R., 1982. Seismotectonics of the Calabrian arc. Tectonophysics, 84:267–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Giese, P., 1981. Intramontanous basins and crustal structures. In: F.C. Wezel (Editor), Sedimentary Basins of Mediterranean Margins. C.N.R. Italian Project of Oceanography, Tecnoprint, Bologna, pp. 55–61.Google Scholar
  39. Giese, P., Wigger, P., Morelli, C. and Nicolich, R., 1981. Seismische Studien zur Bestimmung der Krustenstruktur im Bereich der geothermischen Anomalie der Toskana. Final Report EG Contract No. 486–78–1 and 487–78–1, Berlin and Trieste, 108 pp.Google Scholar
  40. Giese, P., Reutter, K.-J., Jacobshagen, V. and Nicolich, R., 1982. Explosion seismic crustal studies in the Alpine Mediterranean region and their implications to tectonic processes. In: H. Berckhemer and K. Hsü (Editors), Alpine-Mediterranean Geo-dynamics. Am. Geophys. Union and Geol. Soc. Am., Geodynamics Series, 7:39–73.Google Scholar
  41. Green, D.H. and Ringwood, A.E., 1969. The origin of basaltic magmas. Am. Geophys. Un., Geophys. Monogr., 13:489–495.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Hamelin, B., Lambret, B., Joron, J.L., Treuil, M. and Allègre, C.J., 1979. Geochemistry of basalts from the Tyrrhenian Sea. Nature, 278:832–834.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Hsü, K. et al., 1978. Initial Reports of the Deep-Sea Drilling Project, vol. 42, Part 1. Natl. Sci. Found., Washington, D.C., 1249 pp.Google Scholar
  44. Keller, J., 1980. The Island of Vulcano. In: L. Villari (Editor), The Aeolian islands. An Active Volcanic Arc in the Mediterranean Sea. Rend. Soc. It. Min. Petr., 36:369–414.Google Scholar
  45. Keller, J., 1982. Mediterranean island arcs. In: R.S. Thorpe (Editor), Andesites. John Wiley & Sons, New York, pp. 307–325.Google Scholar
  46. Kligfield, R., 1979. The Northern Apennines as a collisional orogen. Am. J. Sci., 279:676–691.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Koide, H. and Bhattacharji, S., 1975. Formation of fractures around magmatic intrusions and their role in ore localization. Econ. Geol., 70:781–799.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Locardi, E., 1981. La provincia comagmatica ro-mana e l’evoluzione geodinamica dell’area tir-renica. CNEN-RT/AMB (81) 12:3–72.Google Scholar
  49. Locardi, E., 1982. Tectonic control of volcanism in an uranium province. In: Uranium Exploration Methods. NEA, Paris, pp. 1–12.Google Scholar
  50. Locardi, E. and Molin, D., 1977. Tettonica, vulcanismo e bacini uraniferi nel Lazio. Mem. Soc. Geol. It., 13:441–453.Google Scholar
  51. Locardi, E., Lombardi, G., Funiciello, R. and Parotto, M., 1977. The main volcanic groups of Latium (Italy): relations between structural evolution and petrogenesis. Geol. Romana, 15:279–300.Google Scholar
  52. Marinelli, G., 1975. Magma evolution in Italy. In: C.H. Squyres (Editor), Geology of Italy. Earth Sci. Soc. Libyan Arab. Rep., Tripoli, pp. 165–219.Google Scholar
  53. Merla, G., 1952. Geologia dell’Appennino setten-trionale. Boll. Soc. Geol. It., 70:95–382.Google Scholar
  54. Mitchell, A.H.G. and Reading, H.G., 1978. Sedimentation and tectonics. In: H.G. Reading (Editor), Sedimentary Environments and Facies. Blackwell Scientific Publishers, Oxford, pp. 439–476.Google Scholar
  55. Morelli, C., 1970. Physiography, gravity and magnetism of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Boll. Geofis. Teor. Appl., 12:275–309.Google Scholar
  56. Morelli, C., 1981. Gravity anomalies and crustal structures connected with the Mediterranean margins. In: F.C. Wezel (Editor), Sedimentary Basins of Mediterranean Margins. C.N.R. Italian Project of Oceanography, Technoprint, Bologna, pp. 33–53.Google Scholar
  57. Morelli, C., Giese, P., Cassinis, R., Colombi, B., Guerra, I., Luongo, G., Scarascia, S. and Schütte, K.G., 1975. Crustal structure of Southern Italy. A seismic refraction profile between Puglia-Cala-bria-Sicily. Boll. Geofis. Teor. Appl., 17:183–210.Google Scholar
  58. Morelli, C., Giese, P., Carrozzo, M.T., Colombi, B., Guerra, I., Hirn, A., Letz, H., Nicolich, R., Pro-dehl, C., Reichert, C., Rower, P., Sapin, M., Scarascia, S. and Wigger, P., 1977. Crustal and upper mantle structure of the Northern Apennines, the Ligurian Sea, and Corsica, derived from seismic and gravimetric data. Boll. Geofis. Teor. Appl., 20:199–260.Google Scholar
  59. Nicolich, R., 1981a. Crustal structures in the Italian Peninsula and surrounding seas: a review of DSS data. In: F.C. Wezel (Editor), Sedimentary Basins of Mediterranean Margins. C.N.R. Italian Project of Oceanography, Tecnoprint, Bologna, pp. 3–17.Google Scholar
  60. Nicolich, R., 1981b. Il profilo Latina-Pescara e le registrazioni mediante OBS nel Mar Tirreno. Atti l Conv. Ann. Gruppo Naz. Geofis. Terra Solida, 2:621–633.Google Scholar
  61. Ogniben, L., 1969. Schema introduttivo alia geologia del confine calabro-lucano. Mem. Soc. Geol. It., 8:453–763.Google Scholar
  62. Pautot, G., 1975. Marges actives: Pérou et autres exemples. Bull. Soc. Géol. Fr. 17:529–543.Google Scholar
  63. Peterschmitt, E., 1956. Quelques données nouvelles sur les seismes profonds de la Mer Tyrrhénienne. Ann. Geofis., 9:305–334.Google Scholar
  64. Pichler, H., 1980. The Island of Lipari. In: L. Villari (Editor), The Aeolian Islands. An Active Volcanic Arc in the Mediterranean Sea. Rend. Soc. It. Min. Petr., 36:415–440.Google Scholar
  65. Pieri, M. and Groppi, G., 1982. Sub surface geological structure of the Po Plain, Italy. C.N.R. P.F. Geodinamica, pubbl. n. 414:1–13.Google Scholar
  66. Reutter, K.-J. and Groscurth, J., 1978. The pile of nappes in the Northern Apennines, its unravel-ment and emplacement. In: H. Closs, D. Roeder and K. Schmidt (Editors), Alps, Apennines, Hellenides. Schweizerbart, Stuttgart, pp. 234–243.Google Scholar
  67. Ritsema, A.R., 1979. Active or passive subduction at the Calabrian Arc. In: W.J.M. Van der Linden (Editor), Fixism, Mobilism or Relativism: Van Bemmelen’s Search for Harmony. Geol. Mijn. 58:127–134.Google Scholar
  68. Rittmann, A. and Villari, L., 1979. Volcanism as a tracer in geodynamic processes. In: W.J.M. Van der Linden (Editor), Fixism, Mobilism or Relativism: Van Bemmelen’s Search for Harmony. Geol. Mijn. 58:225–230.Google Scholar
  69. Rittmann, A., Romano, R. and Sturiale, C., 1973. Some considerations on the 1971 Etna eruption and on the tectonophysics of the Mediterranean area. Geol. Rundsch. 62:418–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Riuscetti, M. and Schick, R., 1975. Earthquakes and tectonics in Southern Italy. Boll. Geofis. Teor. Appl., 17:59–78.Google Scholar
  71. Romano, R. and Sturiale, C., 1971. L’isola di Ustica. Studio geo-vulcanologico e magmatologico. Riv. Min. Sicil. 22:3–61.Google Scholar
  72. Ryan, W.B.F., Stanley, D.J., Hersey, J.B., Fahlquist, D.A. and Allan, T.D., 1970. The tectonics and geology of the Mediterranean Sea. In: A. Maxwell (Editor), The Sea, vol. 4, part II. John Wiley & Sons, New York, pp. 387–492.Google Scholar
  73. Savelli, D. and Wezel, F.C., 1978. Schema geologico del Messiniano del Pesarese. Boll. Soc. Geol. It., 97:165–188.Google Scholar
  74. Savelli, D. and Wezel, F.C., 1979. Morfologia e stile tettonico del Bacino Tirrenico. Atti Conv. Sc. Naz. P.F. Oceanografia e Fondi Marini C.N.R., Roma, 2:729–738.Google Scholar
  75. Savelli, D. and Wezel, F.C., 1980. Morphologic Map of the Tyrrhenian Sea (Scale 1:1,250,000). C.N.R. P.F. Oceanografia e Fondi Marini, Litografia Ar-tistica Cartografica, Firenze (chart, in color).Google Scholar
  76. Selli, R., 1974. Appunti sulla geologia del Mar Tir-reno. In: Paleogeografia del Terziario Sardo nelV Ambito del Mediterraneo Occidentale. Suppl. Rend. Seminario Fac. Sc. Univ. Cagliari, pp. 327–351.Google Scholar
  77. Selli, R., 1981. Thoughts on the geology of the Mediterranean region. In: F.C. Wezel (Editor), Sedimentary Basins of Mediterranean Margins. C.N.R. Italian Project of Oceanography, Tecno-print, Bologna, pp. 489–501.Google Scholar
  78. Selli, R., 1985. The tectonic evolution of the Tyrrhenian Sea. In: D.J. Stanley and F.C. Wezel (Editors), Geological Evolution of the Mediterranean Basin. Springer-Verlag, New York, pp. 131–151.Google Scholar
  79. Selli, R. and Fabbri, A., 1971. Tyrrhenian: a Pliocene deep sea. Rend. Cl. Sci. Fis. Mat. Acc. Naz. Lincei 50, 5:104–116.Google Scholar
  80. Selli, R., Lucchini, F., Rossi, P.L., Savelli, C. and Del Monte, M., 1977. Dati geologici, petrochimici e radiometrici sui vulcani centro-tirrenici. G. Geol, 42:221–246.Google Scholar
  81. Steinmetz, L., Ferrucci, F., Hirn, A., Morelli, C. and Nicolich, R., 1983. A 550 km long Moho traverse in the Tyrrhenian Sea from O.B.S. recorded Pn waves. Geophys. Res. Lett., 10:428–431.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Tchoumakov, I.S., Dontsov, V.V. and Sorokine, V.M., 1981. Resultats préliminaires des dragages et carottages du substratum du Bassin Méditerranéen occidental. Rapp. Comm. Int. Mer Médit., 27:8.Google Scholar
  83. Udías, A., 1980. Seismic stresses in the region Azores-Spain-Western Mediterranean. Rock Mechanics Suppl. 9:75–84.Google Scholar
  84. Wezel, F.C., 1981a. Sedimentary basins of Mediterranean margins—an introductory view. In: F.C. Wezel (Editor), Sedimentary Basins of Mediterranean Margins. C.N.R. Italian Project of Oceanography, Tecnoprint, Bologna, pp. xix-xxiii.Google Scholar
  85. Wezel, F.C., 1981b. The structure of the Calabro-Sicilian Arc: krikogenesis rather than subduction. In: F.C. Wezel (Editor), Sedimentary Basins of Mediterranean Margins. C.N.R. Italian Project of Oceanography, Tecnoprint, Bologna, pp. 485–487.Google Scholar
  86. Wezel, F.C., 1982. The structure of the Calabro-Sici-lian Arc: result of a post-orogenic intra-plate deformation. In: J.K. Leggett (Editor), Trench-Fore arc Geology: Sedimentation and Tectonics on Modern and Ancient Active Plate Margins. Geol. Soc. London, Spec. Publ. 10:345–354.Google Scholar
  87. Wezel, F.C., Mezzadri, G., Chiari, R., Gallo, F. and Vernia, L., 1977. Prima descrizione di alcune rocce del substrato del bacino della Sardegna (Mar Tirreno). Ateneo Parmense, Acta Nat., 13:71–92.Google Scholar
  88. Wezel, F.C., Savelli, D., Bellagamba, M., Tramon-tana, M. and Bartole, R., 1981. Plio-Quaternary depositional style of sedimentary basins along insular Tyrrhenian margins. In: F.C. Wezel (Editor), Sedimentary Basins of Mediterranean Margins. C.N.R. Italian Project of Oceanography, Tecnoprint, Bologna, pp. 239–269.Google Scholar
  89. Wezel, F.C., Bartole, R., Savelli, D. and Tramon-tana, M., 1982. Plio-Quaternary tectono-sedi-mentary development of the Campanian margin (Tyrrhenian Sea). Preliminary report. Paper presented at the XXVIII Congrès-Assemblée CIESM, Cannes, 2–11 December, 1982Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Forese-Carlo Wezel
    • 1
  1. 1.Istituto di GeologiaUniversità degli StudiUrbinoItaly

Personalised recommendations