International Geological Journal - Official Journal of the Carpathian-Balkan Geological Association

Tectonic evolution of the Sicilian Maghrebian Chain inferred from stratigraphic and petrographic evidences of Lower Cretaceous and Oligocene flysch State of the art and objectives

Pages: 293 - 305

Authors: DIEGO PUGLISI

Abstract: The occurrence of a Lower Cretaceous flysch group, cropping out from the Gibraltar Arc to the Balkans with a very similar structural setting and sedimentary provenance always linked to the dismantling of internal areas, suggests the existence of only one sedimentary basin (Alpine Tethys s.s.), subdivided into many other minor oceanic areas. The Maghrebian Basin, mainly developed on thinned continental crust, was probably located in the westernmost sector of the Alpine Tethys. Cretaceous re-organization of the plates triggered one (or more) tectonic phases, well recorded in almost all the sectors of the Alpine Tethys. However, the Maghrebian Basin seems to have been deformed by Late- or post-Cretaceous tectonics, connected with a “meso-Alpine” phase (pre-Oligocene), already hypothesized since the be- ginning of the nineties. Field geological evidence and recent biostratigraphic data also support this important meso- Alpine tectonic phase in the Sicilian segment of the Maghrebian Chain, indicated by the deformations of a Lower Cretaceous flysch sealed by Lower Oligocene turbidite deposits. This tectonic development is emphasized here because it was probably connected with the onset of rifting in the southern paleomargin of the European plate, the detaching of the so-called AlKaPeCa block (Auct.; i.e. Alboran + Kabylian + Calabria and Peloritani terranes) and its fragmentation into several microplates. The subsequent early Oligocene drifting of these microplates led to the progressive closure of the Maghrebian Basin and the opening of new back-arc oceanic basins, strongly controlled by extensional processes, in the western Mediterranean (i.e. Gulf of Lion, Valencia Trough, Provençal Basin and Alboran Sea).

Keywords: Alpine Tethys, Sicilian Maghrebian Chain, sedimentary petrography, meso-Alpine tectonics, western Mediterranean, Cretaceous-to-Oligocene paleogeography, plate tectonic context

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