Rendiconti Lincei

, Volume 25, Supplement 2, pp 241–252 | Cite as

Morphotectonic evolution of connected intermontane basins from the southern Apennines, Italy: the legacy of the pre-existing structurally controlled landscape

  • Salvatore Ivo GianoEmail author
  • Dario Gioia
  • Marcello Schiattarella
Intermontane basins in central-southern Italy


The opening kinematics of several Pliocene to Quaternary tectonically controlled continental basins scattered along the axis of the southern Italian Apennines and their morphological features and evolution have been compared to define the behaviour of this particular interconnected negative morphostructure. In particular, three different but morphologically connected intermontane basins have been here investigated from a morphotectonic point of view (from the north: Auletta, Vallo di Diano, and Sanza basins). They are filled by more or less thick marine and/or continental sequences of sediments, Pliocene to Quaternary in age. Such basins are shaped by erosional land surfaces and fluvial dissection. The ages of the morphological de-activation of the terraced surfaces have been roughly defined on the basis of their morpho-stratigraphic relationships with Pliocene and Quaternary deposits, and better constrained by radiometric dating. The NNW–SSE-trending fault of the Alburni Mts, bordering the Auletta basin, indicates former left-lateral transtensional kinematics and later dip-slip kinematics, whereas the N140–150°-striking master fault bounding the Vallo di Diano basin is a normal fault. The Sanza basin can be assimilated to a morphostructural trough coinciding with a long-term transfer zone of the chain, in which a severe change in stress field, uplift rate, climate conditions, and relief production occurred during Pleistocene times. Such a complicated morphostructural setting may be interpreted as a function of the original orientation of the structural depressions, only partially coeval. In this sense, the Vallo di Diano basin should represent the structural low generated by pure extension during the Pleistocene, but probably already living as a Pliocene seaway, whereas both the Auletta and Sanza basins stand for two lateral branches with oblique kinematics, inherited from a pre-existing (i.e. Pliocene in age) set.


Intermontane basins Morphotectonic evolution Pliocene Quaternary Southern Apennines (Italy) 



We sincerely thank two anonymous referees for their helpful reviews that greatly improved the final version of the paper, and Marcella D’Amico for the accurate revision of the English text. This study was financially supported by Fondi di Ateneo RIL 2011 and 2013 (Basilicata University) granted to S.I. Giano and M. Schiattarella.


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Copyright information

© Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Salvatore Ivo Giano
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dario Gioia
    • 2
  • Marcello Schiattarella
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di ScienzeUniversità degli Studi della BasilicataPotenzaItaly
  2. 2.Istituto per i Beni Archeologici e MonumentaliConsiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR-IBAM)Tito ScaloItaly

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