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The role of drainage systems and intermontane basins in the Quaternary landscape of the Central Apennines chain (Italy)

Abstract

The Central Apennines chain (Central Italy) is an asymmetric NW–SE thrust belt, NE verging, that has developed since the Neogene. The present landscape is made up of alternating calcareous ridges, valleys on pelitic arenaceous bedrock, as well as wide intermontane basins filled by Quaternary continental deposits. The chain is characterised at high elevation by glacial and isolated patches of dissected karst relict landscapes elevations, and by slope landforms, alluvial fans and fluvial landforms within valleys and intermontane basins; in the latter ancient lacustrine deposits are preserved. Intermontane basins, valley and drainage systems, and relict landscapes are affected by active geodynamic processes resulting in regional uplift, extensional faulting and local subsidence, and by Quaternary climate fluctuations. In this work, the main intermontane basins have been correlated along a SW–NE transect, comparing sedimentary sequences and morphotectonic features, the evidence of local tectonics and uplift pulses, and the main features of the drainage systems, in order to outline the drainage changes occurred during the Quaternary in the Central Apennines chain. Along a SW–NE swath profile, min, mean and max topography elevations, the basins’ min elevation, the elevation of the main karst landforms, and the Pleistocene uplift have been compared. These correlations and comparisons allowed us to provide a further contribution to the understanding of the Quaternary evolution of the drainage systems and the landscape of the Central Apennines chain.

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Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank the anonymous reviewers and the special volume’s editors, whose precious comments and suggestions greatly improved the manuscript. The work was financed by the University ‘G. d’Annunzio’ of Chieti Pescara (E. Miccadei, T. Piacentini). The paper is the result of a research carried out by: Enrico Miccadei (research guideline) and Tommaso Piacentini (geomorphological analysis, GIS data processing, mauscript).

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Correspondence to Tommaso Piacentini.

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This peer-reviewed article is part of a coordinated collection of scientific researches on the comparative evolution of intermontane basins of the central-southern Apennines.

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Piacentini, T., Miccadei, E. The role of drainage systems and intermontane basins in the Quaternary landscape of the Central Apennines chain (Italy). Rend. Fis. Acc. Lincei 25, 139–150 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12210-014-0312-2

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Keywords

  • Drainage systems
  • Intermontane basins
  • Tectonic geomorphology
  • Landscape
  • Central Apennines