Marine Geophysical Researches

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 403–426 | Cite as

A seismic reflection study of the External Calabrian Arc in the northern Ionian Sea (eastern Mediterranean)

  • Sergio Rossi
  • Renzo Sartori


The External Calabrian Arc is located off the convex side of the Calabro-Peloritanian Arc in the northern Ionian Sea. A systematic reflection seismic survey indicates that it is made of different structural elements whose characters seem consistent with an active accretionary margin. The main structures are the Crotone-Spartivento slope (comparable to an inner trench slope) and the intermediate depressions (comparable to a trench area). Internal to these elements, the Crotone-Spartivento basin may represent a fore-arc basin. This partly outcrops in Calabria and its structure suggests that the accretionary margin developed at least since middle-upper Miocene.

Subduction processes do not affect a true oceanic crust, because of the great thickness of sediments covering the whole eastern Mediterranean. Hence some peculiar features occur in the system. as the cobblestone topography, or are lacking, as a typical and continuous trench zone.

In the areas with cobblestone topography we distinguish a Calabrian Ridge sensu stricto from a Calabrian Ridge sensu lato. The former is a N-S trending swell, external to the supposed trench zone, interpreted as a sedimentary outer-arc ridge produced by rather surficial tectonic accumulation of sediments further chaoticized by gravitative mechanisms. The Ridge s.l. is a very wide area with low relief and little or no seismic penetration. Tectonization seems gentler than in the Ridge s.s. and structural axes seem to possess different orientations. These areas are interpreted as due to a widespread surficial chaoticization above presumed decollement layers occurring within the sedimentary column of the Ionian bathyal plain.

The pattern of deformations of the Calabrian Ridge seems consistent with the Calabro-Peloritanian Arc actively overriding the eastern Mediterranean, with a resultant direction of movement essentially towards the East.


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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sergio Rossi
    • 1
  • Renzo Sartori
    • 1
  1. 1.Istituto di Geologia MarinaBolognaItaly

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