Quaternary evolution of the largest intermontane basin of the Molise Apennine (central-southern Italy)
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An integrated morpho-stratigraphic approach has been used to reconstruct the Quaternary history of the Boiano basin, the largest tectonic depression of the Molise Apennine (Italy). Lacustrine, marshy and fluvial environments alternate all along the investigated infilling succession as a response to tectonic subsidence, volcaniclastic inputs and climate changes, from ca. 500 ka. Two tephra layers 40Ar/39Ar have been dated and referred to the Middle Pleistocene explosive activity of the Roccamonfina volcano, while a younger tephra layer has been related to the Campi Flegrei Neapolitan Yellow Tuff (ca. 15 ka). Pollen analysis has highlighted the vegetation changes related to the 100 ka glacial–interglacial cyclicity, between MIS 13 and 2. From 500 to 350 ka, a strong subsidence led to lacustrine deposition, while between 350 and 250 ka, a decrease in subsidence rates caused the transition to fluvial–marshy conditions and, at a later stage, to floodplain environments. The analysis of palaeosurfaces allowed the geomorphological evolution of the basin to be reconstructed since the Middle Pleistocene and the morpho-sedimentary events to be related to the SW-NE extensional tectonics affecting this sector of the central-southern Apennine. This tectonic behavior is also testified by the differential subsidence rates recorded within the basin through the analysis of two deep cores drilled in the center of the Boiano town.