Skip to main content

Morphometric analysis of fluvial network and age constraints of terraced surfaces of the Ofanto basin, Southern Italy

Abstract

The Ofanto basin is an intermontane depression located in an intermediate position between the axial zone and the thrust front of the southern Apennines, Italy, filled by Pliocene to Quaternary sediments of both marine and continental origin. This basin presents some peculiarities such as the orientation of the elongation axis with regard to the strike of the chain, marked anomalies of the drainage network, and the asymmetric distribution of the terraced surfaces. Our paper focuses on the morphotectonic evolution of such a complex intermontane basin and tries to explain all those characteristics. The results obtained from both quantitative and morphostructural analyses allowed us to reconstruct the Quaternary evolution of the basin, particularly referred to the ancient land surfaces and the younger fluvial terraces. The hypothesis of a long-term process driven by the differential tectonic behaviour of the two basin flanks instead of a pure litho-structural control responsible for the fluvial network asymmetry of the Ofanto River catchment is here presented and discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5

References

  • Amato A, Cinque A (1999) Erosional land surfaces of the Campano-Lucano Apennines (S. Italy): genesis, evolution, and tectonic implications. Tectonophysics 315:251–267

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Avena GC, Giuliano G, Lupia Palmieri E (1967) Sulla valutazione quantitativa della gerarchizzazione ed evoluzione dei reticoli fluviali. Boll Soc Geol It 86:781–796

    Google Scholar 

  • Benito-Calvo A, Pérez-González A, María Parés Josep (2008) Quantitative reconstruction of late cenozoic landscapes: a case study in the Sierra de Atapuerca (Burgos, Spain). Earth Surf Process Landf 33:196–208

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Boenzi F, Capolongo D, Cecaro G, D’Andrea E, Giano SI, Lazzari M, Schiattarella M (2004) Evoluzione geomorfologica polifasica e tassi di sollevamento del bordo sud-occidentale dell’alta Val d’Agri (Appennino meridionale). Boll. Soc. Geol. It. (Ital. J. Geosci.) 123:357–372

    Google Scholar 

  • Buettner A, Principe C, Villa IM (2003) Ar–Ar investigations on quaternary volcanic sequences of Monte Vulture (Southern Italy). In: Geophysical research abstracts 5

  • Bull WB (1991) Geomorphic Response to Climatic Change. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 1–326

    Google Scholar 

  • Burbank DW, Johnson GD (1982) Intermontane-basin development in the past 4 Myr in the north-west Himalaya. Nature 298:432–436

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Casas-Sainz AM, Cortés-Gracia AL (2002) Cenozoic landscape development within the Central Iberian Chain, Spain. Geomorphology 44:19–46

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Casciello E, Esestime P, Cesarano M, Pappone G, Snidero M, Vergés J (2013) Lower plate geometry controlling the development of a thrust-top basin: the tectonosedimentary evolution of the Ofanto basin (southern Apennines). J Geol Soc Lond 170:147–158

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ciccacci S, Fredi P, Lupia Palmieri E, Pugliese F (1980) Contributo dell’analisi geomorfica quantitativa dei reticoli idrografici alla valutazione dell’entità dell’erosione nei bacini fluviali. Boll Soc Geol It 99:455–516

    Google Scholar 

  • Ciccacci S, D’Alessandro L, Dramis F, Miccadei E (1999) Geomorphologic evolution and neotectonics of the Sulmona intramontane basin (Abruzzi, Apennine, Central Italy). Zeirschrift für Geomorphologie 118:27–40

    Google Scholar 

  • Crosby BT, Whipple KX (2006) Knickpoint initiation and distribution within fluvial networks: 236 waterfalls in the Waipaoa River, North Island, New Zealand. Geomorphology 82:16–38

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dar RA, Chandra R, Romshoo SA (2013) Morphotectonic and lithostratigraphic analysis of intermontane Karewa Basin of Kashmir Himalayas. India J Mt Sci 10:1–15

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Einsele G (2000) Sedimentary basins. Evolution, facies, and sediment budget. Springer, Berlin, p 792

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Flint JJ (1974) Stream gradient as a function of order, magnitude and discharge. Water Resour Res 10:969–973

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gawthorpe RL, Leeder MR (2000) Tectono-sedimentary evolution of active extensional basins. Basin Res 12:195–218

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Giannandrea P (2003) Analisi sedimentologica del Sintema di M. Sirico (parte alta della successione del Bacino dell’Ofanto), Appennino Meridionale, Basilicata. Il Quaternario, Italian Journal of Quaternary Sciences 16:269–277

    Google Scholar 

  • Giannandrea P (2004) I depositi terrazzati affioranti nell’alta valle del Fiume Ofanto (Foglio n. 451 “Melfi”, Appennino campano-lucano). Il Quaternario, Italian Journal of Quaternary Sciences 17:511–521

    Google Scholar 

  • Giannandrea P, Marino M, Romeo M, Schiattarella M (2014) Pliocene to Quaternary evolution of the Ofanto basin in southern Italy: an approach based on the unconformity-bounded stratigraphic units. Ital J Geosci 133:27–44

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Giano SI (2011) Quaternary alluvial fan systems of the Agri intermontane basin (southern Italy): tectonic and climatic controls. Geol Carpath 62:65–76

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gioia D, Schiattarella M, Mattei M, Nico G (2011) Quantitative morphotectonics of the Pliocene to Quaternary Auletta basin, southern Italy. Geomorphology 134:326–343

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hippolyte JC, Angelier J, Roure F, Casero P (1994) Piggyback basin development and thrust belt evoution: structural and palaeostress analyses of Plio-Quaternary basins in the Southern Apennines. J Struct Geol 16:159–173

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Horton RE (1945) Erosional development of stream and their drainage basins: hydrophysical approach to quantitative morphology. Geol Soc Am Bull 56:275–370

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Keller EA, Pinter N (1996) Active tectonics: earthquake, uplift, and landscape. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River 338

    Google Scholar 

  • Labella R, Giannandrea P (2012) Arrangement of terraced surfaces and middle Pleistocene to Holocene geomorphological evolution of the Ofanto Basin (southern Apennines). Rend Online Soc Geol It 21:1242–1244

    Google Scholar 

  • Martino C, Nico G, Schiattarella M (2009) Quantitative analysis of InSAR digital elevation models for identification of areas with different tectonic activity in southern Italy. Earth Surf Proc Land 34:3–15

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Patacca E, Scandone P (2001) Late thrust propagation and sedimentary response in the thrust-belt-forepeep system of the southern Apennines (Pliocene–Pleistocene). In: Vai GB, Martini IP (eds) Anatomy of an Orogen: the Apennines and adjacent Mediterranean Basins. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Norwell, pp 401–440

    Google Scholar 

  • Principe C, Giannandrea P (2008) UBSU e cartografia geologica: problemi e potenzialità dell’utilizzo delle UBSU per l’interpretazione e la rappresentazione cartografica dei depositi quaternari vulcanici. L’esempio dei fogli n.451 “Melfi” e n. 452 “Rionero in Vulture”. Il Quaternario, Italian Journal of Quaternary Sciences 21:61–68

    Google Scholar 

  • Schiattarella M, Di Leo P, Beneduce P, Giano SI (2003) Quaternary uplift vs tectonic loading: a case-study from the Lucanian Apennine, southern Italy. Quat Int 101–102:239–251

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Schiattarella M, Beneduce P, Pascale S (2004) Comparazione tra i tassi di erosione e sollevamento dell’Appennino lucano: l’esempio della Fiumara di Tito e Picerno. Boll A I C 121–122:367–385

    Google Scholar 

  • Schiattarella M, Beneduce P, Di Leo P, Giano SI, Giannandrea P, Principe C (2005) Assetto strutturale ed evoluzione morfotettonica quaternaria del vulcano del Monte Vulture (Appennino Lucano). Boll Soc Geol It 124:543–562

    Google Scholar 

  • Schiattarella M, Giano SI, Gioia D, Martino C, Nico G (2013) Age and statistical properties of the summit palaeosurface of southern Italy. Geogr Fis Dinam Quat 36:289–302

    Google Scholar 

  • Strahler AN (1957) Quantitative analysis of watershed geomorphology. Trans Am Geophys Union 38:913–920

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Whipple KX, Tucker GE (1999) Dynamics of the stream-power river incision model; implications for height limits of mountain ranges, landscape response timescales, and research needs. J Geophys Res 104:17661–17674

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wobus CW, Whipple KX, Kirby E, Snyder N, Johnson J, Spyropolou K, Crosby B, Sheehan D (2006) Tectonics from topography: procedures, promise and pitfalls. Geol Soc Am Spec Pap 398:55–74

    Google Scholar 

  • Zaprowski BJ, Pazzaglia FJ, Evenson EB (2005) Climatic influences on profile concavity and river incision. J Geophys Res 110:1–19 (F03004)

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

We wish to thank two anonymous referees for their constructive reviews and Marcella D’Amico for the accurate revision of the English text. This study was financially supported by ‘Fondi di Ateneo – RIL 2011-2013’ (Basilicata University) granted to P. Giannandrea, S.I. Giano, and M. Schiattarella.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Roberta Labella.

Additional information

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

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Labella, R., Capolongo, D., Giannandrea, P. et al. Morphometric analysis of fluvial network and age constraints of terraced surfaces of the Ofanto basin, Southern Italy. Rend. Fis. Acc. Lincei 25, 253–263 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12210-014-0321-1

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12210-014-0321-1

Keywords

  • Intermontane basin
  • Palaeosurfaces
  • Fluvial terraces
  • Geomorphometry
  • Ofanto Basin
  • Southern Apennines (Italy)