pp 1–20 | Cite as

The History of the Southern Apennines of Italy Preserved in the Geosites Along a Geological Itinerary in the High Agri Valley

  • Francesco BucciEmail author
  • Enrico Tavarnelli
  • Rocco Novellino
  • Giuseppe Palladino
  • Paola Guglielmi
  • Salvatore Laurita
  • Giacomo Prosser
  • Mario Bentivenga
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Geoheritage: the foundation for sustainable geotourism


The itinerary presented in this paper links several geosites and proposes a series of geostructural and geomorphological observations that illustrate the cyclical character of the orogenic processes. The itinerary crosses the northern corner of the High Agri Valley, a 200-km2-wide area of outstanding geological importance located along the axial sector of the Southern Apennine of Italy. Its history is the result of the succession of extensional and contractional deformation phases that allowed the deposition of sediments, the formation and deformation of rocks, the growth and the fragmentation of an orogenic system during the last 250 MA. The aim of the study is to bridge scientific and educational values of the High Agri Valley area by examining its geological and geomorphological features, which have been fundamental in shaping the landscape, and determining the geological resources and the natural hazards, highlighted through the itinerary. Despite its outstanding natural beauty, over the years, the investigated area has suffered the pressure of diverse human activities, including a growing industrial development related to hydrocarbon exploration and production, often leading to conflicting interests and severe landscape damage. As a result, environmental and geoconservation aspects of this area have been at the centre of regional and national debates. In the light of these issues, this work aims at providing a better understanding of the geological and geomorphological value of the High Agri Valley area, in order to strengthen the basis for setting-up a sustainable geoconservation plan, which includes geotourism issues.


Inversion tectonics Structural geology Geomorphology Natural hazards Georesources 



We are grateful to Alessia Amorfini and to an anonymous referee for their positive and constructive comments, and we thank Kevin Page for the editorial support.


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Copyright information

© The European Association for Conservation of the Geological Heritage 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Consiglio Nazionale delle RicercheIstituto di Ricerca per la Protezione IdrogeologicaPerugiaItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Scienze Fisiche, della Terra e dell’AmbienteUniversità degli Studi di SienaSienaItaly
  3. 3.Dipartimento di ScienzeUniversità degli Studi della BasilicataPotenzaItaly

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