Late Miocene uplift in the Romagnan Apennines and the detachment of subducted lithosphere

M. J. Van Der Meulen, T. J. Kouwenhoven, G. J. Van Der Zwaan, J. E. Meulenkamp, M. J.R. Wortel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We report part of a test of the hypothesis that detachment of subducted lithosphere may be a process of lateral propagation of a horizontal tear [Wortel and Spakman, Proc. Kon. Ned. Akad. Wetensch., 95 (1992) 325-347]. We have used the Apennines as a test area. The test procedure consists of the comparison of hypothetical vertical motions, predicted from the expected redistribution of slab pull forces, with observed vertical motions. We demonstrate that a Late Miocene depocentre migration from the Northern towards the Central Apennines is associated with uplift of (the fore-arc of) the Northern Apennines. Such a combination of a depocentre shift and uplift is thought to be diagnostic for lateral migration of slab detachment. The depocentre migration was identified in earlier work [van der Meulen et al., Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 154 (1998) 203-219]. This contribution focuses on uplift, which has primarily been identified through the geohistory analysis of the Monte del Casino Section (Romagnan Apennines, Northern Italy). Owing to methodological problems, the start and duration of the uplift phase could not be constrained, and only a minimum estimate of the total amount of uplift (483 ± 180 m) is obtained. The data do allow for an estimate of the uplift rate: 163 ± 61 cm/ky. A review of regional data results in better constraints on the timing of the above lateral reorganisation of the fore-arc, and on the spatial extent of the uplifted area. Depocentre development in the Central Apennines began between 8.6 and 8.3 Ma B.P. Uplift started between 9 and 8 Ma B.P., and affected the entire northernmost Apennines. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-335
Number of pages17
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 1999


  • Apennines
  • Basin analysis
  • Foredeep
  • Italy
  • Late Miocene
  • Messinian
  • Slab detachment
  • Southern Europe
  • Stratigraphy
  • Tortonian


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