Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2021-19
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2021-19

  01 Mar 2021

01 Mar 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal SE.

Neogene kinematics of the Giudicarie Belt and eastern Southern Alpine orogenic front (Northern Italy)

Vincent F. Verwater1, Eline Le Breton1, Mark R. Handy1, Vincenzo Picotti2, Azam Jozi Najafabadi3, and Christian Haberland3 Vincent F. Verwater et al.
  • 1Institut für Geologische Wissenschaften, Freie Universität, Berlin, Germany
  • 2Department of Earth Sciences, ETH-Zürich, Switzerland
  • 3German Research Centre for Geosciences, GFZ, Potsdam, Germany

Abstract. Neogene indentation of the Adriatic plate into Europe led to major modifications of the Alpine orogenic structures and style of deformation in the Eastern Alps. Especially, the offset of the Periadriatic Fault by the Northern Giudicarie Fault marks the initiation of strike-slip faulting and lateral extrusion of the Eastern Alps. Questions remain on the exact role of this fault zone in changes of the Alpine orogen at depth. This necessitates quantitative analysis of the shortening, kinematics and depth of decoupling underneath the Northern Giudicarie Fault and associated fold-and thrust belt in the Southern Alps. Tectonic balancing of a network of seven cross sections through the Giudicarie Belt parallel to the local shortening direction reveals that it comprises two kinematic domains with different amounts and partly overlapping ages of shortening. These two domains are delimitated by the NW-SE oriented strike-slip Trento-Cles – Schio-Vicenza fault system, cross-cutting the Southern Alpine orogenic front in the south and merging with the Northern Giudicarie Fault in the north. The SW kinematic domain (Val Trompia sector) accommodated at least ~18 km of Late Oligocene to Early Miocene shortening. Since the Middle Miocene, the SW kinematic domain experienced a minimum of ~12–22 km shortening, whereas the NE kinematic domain underwent at least ~25–35 km shortening. Together, these domains contributed to an estimated ~53–75 km of sinistral strike-slip motion along the Northern Giudicarie Fault, implying that (most of) the offset of the Periadriatic Fault is due to Late Oligocene to Neogene indentation of the Adriatic plate into the Eastern Alps. Moreover, the faults linking the Giudicarie Belt with the Northern Giudicarie Fault reach ~15–20 km depth, indicating a thick-skinned tectonic style of deformation. These fault detachments may also connect at depth with a lower crustal Adriatic wedge that protruded north of the Periadriatic Fault and was responsible for N-S shortening and eastward escape of deeply exhumed units in the Tauern Window. Finally, the east-west lateral variation of shortening indicates internal deformation and lateral variation in strength of the Adriatic indenter, related to Permian – Mesozoic tectonic structures and paleogeographic domains.

Vincent F. Verwater et al.

Status: open (until 14 Apr 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on se-2021-19', Dario Zampieri, 29 Mar 2021 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on se-2021-19', Christoph von Hagke, 08 Apr 2021 reply

Vincent F. Verwater et al.

Data sets

Balanced cross sections along the Giudicarie Belt (Southern Alps, Northern Italy) in 3-D Move Verwater, Vincent F., Le Breton, Eline, Handy, Mark R., Picotti, Vincenzo, Jozi Najafabadi, Azam, and Haberland, Christian https://dataservices.gfz-potsdam.de/panmetaworks/review/3c9729f2be33ab6678f45a7f3e2a7f21bfc6b711bd8b1632bad231e75df52be8/

Vincent F. Verwater et al.

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Short summary
Balancing along geological cross sections reveals that the Giudicarie Belt comprises two kinematic domains. The SW domain accommodated at least ~18 km Late Oligocene to Early Miocene shortening. Since the Middle Miocene, the SW domain experienced at least ~12–22 km shortening, whereas the NE domain underwent at least ~25–35 km shortening. Together, these domains contributed to a ~53–75 km of sinistral offset of the Periadriatic Fault along the Northern Giudicarie Fault since the Late Oligocene.