Articles | Volume 11, issue 3
Research article
13 May 2020
Research article |  | 13 May 2020

Seismic evidence for failed rifting in the Ligurian Basin, Western Alpine domain

Anke Dannowski, Heidrun Kopp, Ingo Grevemeyer, Dietrich Lange, Martin Thorwart, Jörg Bialas, and Martin Wollatz-Vogt

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Basin inversion: reactivated rift structures in the central Ligurian Sea revealed using ocean bottom seismometers
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Cited articles

Advokaat, E. L., van Hinsbergen, D. J. J., Maffione, M., Langereis, C. G., Vissers, R. L. M., Cherchi, A., Schroeder, R., Madani, H., and Columbu, S.: Eocene rotation of Sardinia, and the paleogeography of the western Mediterranean region, Earth Planet. Sc. Lett., 401, 183–195,, 2014. 
Bayer, R., Le Mouel, J. L., and Le Pichon, X.: Magnetic anomaly pattern in the western mediterranean, Earth Planet. Sc. Lett., 19, 168–176,, 1973. 
Bayrakci, G., Minshull, T. A., Sawyer, D. S., Reston, T. J., Klaeschen, D., Papenberg, C., Ranero, C., Bull, J. M., Davy, R. G., Shillington, D. J., Perez-Gussinye, M., and Morgan, J. K.: Fault-controlled hydration of the upper mantle during continental rifting, Nat. Geosci., 9, 384–388,, 2016. 
Béthoux, N., Tric, E., Chery, J., and Beslier, M.-O.: Why is the Ligurian Basin (Mediterranean Sea) seismogenic? Thermomechanical modeling of a reactivated passive margin: Modeling of the Ligurian Basin, Tectonics, 27, TC5011,, 2008. 
Bonatti, E., Seyler, M., Channell, J., Giraudeau, J., and Mascle, G. (Eds.): Peridotites drilled from the Tyrrhenian Sea, ODP Leg 107, Ocean Drilling Program 107,, 1990. 
Short summary
The Ligurian Sea opened ~30–15 Ma during the SE migration of the Calabrian subduction zone. Seismic travel time tomography reveals the absence of oceanic crust, documenting that the extension of continental lithosphere stopped before seafloor spreading initiated. The extension led to extreme crustal thinning and possibly exhumed mantle accompanied by syn-rift sedimentation. Our new interpretation of the crust's nature is important for plate reconstruction modelling related to the Alpine orogen.