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The Early Miocene “Bisciaro volcaniclastic event” (northern Apennines, Italy): a key study for the geodynamic evolution of the central-western Mediterranean

Abstract

The Early Miocene Bisciaro Fm., a marly limestone succession cropping out widely in the Umbria–Romagna–Marche Apennines, is characterized by a high amount of volcaniclastic content, characterizing this unit as a peculiar event of the Adria Plate margin. Because of this volcaniclastic event, also recognizable in different sectors of the central-western Mediterranean chains, this formation is proposed as a “marker” for the geodynamic evolution of the area. In the Bisciaro Fm., the volcaniclastic supply starts with the “Raffaello” bed (Earliest Aquitanian) that marks the base of the formation and ends in the lower portion of the Schlier Fm. (Late Burdigalian–Langhian p.p.). Forty-one studied successions allowed the recognition of three main petrofacies: (1) Pyroclastic Deposits (volcanic materials more than 90 %) including the sub-petrofacies 1A, Vitroclastic/crystallo-vitroclastic tuffs; 1B, Bentonitic deposits; and 1C, Ocraceous and blackish layers; (2) Resedimented Syn-Eruptive Volcanogenic Deposits (volcanic material 30–90 %) including the sub-petrofacies 2A, High-density volcanogenic turbidites; 2B, Low-density volcanogenic turbidites; 2C, Crystal-rich volcanogenic deposits; and 2D, Glauconitic-rich volcaniclastites; (3) Mixing of Volcaniclastic Sediments with Marine Deposits (volcanic material 5–30 %, mixed with marine sediments: marls, calcareous marls, and marly limestones). Coeval volcaniclastic deposits recognizable in different tectonic units of the Apennines, Maghrebian, and Betic Chains show petrofacies and chemical–geochemical features related to a similar calc-alkaline magmatism. The characterization of this event led to the hypothesis of a co-genetic relationship between volcanic activity centres (primary volcanic systems) and depositional basins (depositional processes) in the Early Miocene palaeogeographic and palaeotectonic evolution of the central-western Mediterranean region. The results support the proposal of a geodynamic model of this area that considers previously proposed interpretations.

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Acknowledgments

This research was supported by Urbino University funds (responsibles F. Guerrera and M. Tramontana); by CGL2011-30153-CO2-02 and CGL2012-32169 Research Project (Spanish Ministry of Education and Science); and by Research Groups and projects of the Generalitat Valenciana and Alicante University (CTMA-IGA). The authors thank their colleague Michele Mattioli for the useful suggestions. The authors are very grateful to a native speaker (David Nesbitt) for improving the English version of the manuscript. The revisions performed by S. Critelli and topic-Editor Christoph Breitkreuz are also acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Manuel Martín-Martín.

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Guerrera, F., Martín-Martín, M., Raffaelli, G. et al. The Early Miocene “Bisciaro volcaniclastic event” (northern Apennines, Italy): a key study for the geodynamic evolution of the central-western Mediterranean. Int J Earth Sci (Geol Rundsch) 104, 1083–1106 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00531-014-1131-5

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Keywords

  • Volcaniclastic event
  • Early Miocene
  • Umbria–Romagna–Marche Apennines
  • Stratigraphy
  • Petrography
  • Mediterranean-scale correlations
  • Geodynamic model