, Volume 98, Issue 4, pp 931-947
Date: 03 Jan 2008

Travertine deposition and faulting: the fault-related travertine fissure-ridge at Terme S. Giovanni, Rapolano Terme (Italy)

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Abstract

In this paper we describe an example of travertine fissure-ridge development along the trace of a normal fault with metre displacement, located in the eastern margin of the Neogene–Quaternary Siena Basin, in the Terme S. Giovanni area (Rapolano Terme, Italy). This morphotectonic feature, 250 m long, 30 m wide and 10 m high, formed from supersaturated hot waters (39.9°C) flowing from thermal springs aligned along the trace of the normal fault dissecting travertines not older than Late Pleistocene (24 ± 3 ka). A straight, continuous fissure with a maximum width of 20 cm occurs at the top of the ridge, along its crest. Hot fluids flow from cones mainly located at the extremities of the ridge, where travertine is depositing. The travertine fissure-ridge shows an asymmetrical profile since it buries the fault scarp. The difference in height of slopes corresponds to the vertical displacement of the normal fault. Fissuring of the recent travertine deposits along the strike of the crestal fissure, as well as recent hydrothermal circulation, lead us to believe that the Terme S. Giovanni normal fault may be currently active. On the whole, the Terme S. Giovanni fissure ridge can be defined as a travertine fault trace fissure-ridge, adding a helpful example for studying the relationship between faulting and travertine deposition.