Lithological control on thrust-related deformation in the Sassa-Guardistallo Basin (Northern Apennines hinterland, Italy)
A.C. Feroni, M. Bonini, P. Martinelli, G. Moratti, F. Sani, D. Montanari and V. Del Ventisette
Journal name: Basin Research
Issue: Vol 18, No 3, September 2006 pp. 301 - 321
Info: Article, PDF ( 3.9Mb )
The Sassa-Guardistallo Basin (SGB) is located close to the Tyrrhenian Sea and represents one of the most internal Neogene-Quaternary hinterland basins of the Northern Apennines fold-and-thrust belt. Its sedimentary succession consists of ca. 400-m-thick Late Tortonian-Messinian continental largely conglomeratic-units overstepping a mainly shaly substratum (Palombini Shales) and overlain by Late Messinian evaporites and marine to continental Pliocene-Pleistocene sediments. This stratigraphic succession can be approximated to a composite rheological multilayer that dictated the style of basin deformation. Detailed geological mapping and structural analysis revealed that basin deposits were affected by compressional deformations that can be found both at map and outcrop scales. Decametric splay thrusts emanating from the substratum-conglomerate interface locally double the continental succession and are bounded by a roof thrust along the Late Messinian evaporite décollement, defining a deformation pattern consistent with a duplex-like structure. The time-space structural evolution of the basin inferred from the field work was addressed and tested by analogue modelling that approximated the rheological stratification of the study area to a layered brittle-ductile system. The model results support the hypothesis that the evolution of the thrust system affecting the SGB started as an early floor imbricate fan thrust system that successively evolved to a duplex structure as the link thrusts propagated into the upper décollement layer that resulted from the deposition of the Late Messinian evaporites. Models display many structural features that may be compared with the natural prototype, and highlight the importance of syntectonic sedimentation in the development and evolution of tectonic structures. The results of this study retain relevant implications for the Neogene evolution of the Tyrrhenian Basin-Northern Apennines system. This study also supports that combining between field structural analyses and analogue modelling can give useful hints into the evolutionary history of tectonically complex areas.