22 Apr 2021

22 Apr 2021

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

Geodynamic and seismotectonic model of a long-lived transverse structure: The Schio-Vicenza Fault System (NE Italy)

Dario Zampieri1, Paola Vannoli2, and Pierfrancesco Burrato2 Dario Zampieri et al.
  • 1Dipartimento di Geoscienze, Università degli Studi di Padova, Padova, Italy
  • 2Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Sezione Roma 1, Rome, Italy

Abstract. We make a thorough review of geological and seismological data on the long-lived Schio-Vicenza Fault System (SVFS) in northern Italy and present for it a geodynamic and seismotectonic interpretation.

The SVFS is a major and high angle structure transverse to the mean trend of the Eastern Southern Alps fold-and-thrust belt, and the knowledge of this structure is deeply rooted in the geological literature and spans for more than a century and a half. The main fault of the SVFS is the Schio-Vicenza Fault (SVF), which has a significant imprint in the landscape across the Eastern Southern Alps and the Veneto-Friuli foreland. The SVF can be divided into a northern segment, extending into the chain north of Schio and mapped up to the Adige Valley, and a southern one, coinciding with the SVF proper. The latter segment borders to the east the Lessini, Berici Mts. and Euganei Hills block, separating this foreland structural high from the Veneto-Friuli foreland, and continues southeastward beneath the recent sediments of the plain via the blind Conselve-Pomposa fault. The structures forming the SVFS have been active with different tectonic phases and different style of faulting at least since the Mesozoic, with a long-term dip-slip component of faulting well defined and, on the contrary, the horizontal component of the movement not well constrained. The SVFS interrupts the continuity of the Eastern Southern Alps thrust fronts in the Veneto sector, suggesting that it played a passive role in controlling the geometry of the active thrust belt and possibly the current distribution of seismic release. As a whole, apart from moderate seismicity along the northern segment and few geological observations along the southern one, there is little evidence to constrain the recent activity of the SVFS. In this context, the SVFS, and specifically its SVF strand, has been referred to as a sinistral strike-slip boundary of the northeastern Adriatic indenter.

The review of the historical and instrumental seismicity along the SVFS shows that it does not appear to have generated large earthquakes during the last few hundred years. The moderate seismicity point to a dextral strike-slip activity, which is also corroborated by the field analysis of antithetic Riedel structures of the fault cropping out along the northern segment. Conversely, the southern segment shows geological evidence of sinistral strike-slip activity. The geological and seismological apparently conflicting data can be reconciled considering the faulting style of the southern segment as driven by the indentation of the Adriatic plate, while the opposite style along the northern segment can be explained in a sinistral opening "zipper" model, where intersecting pairs of simultaneously active faults with different sense of shear merge into a single fault system via a zippered section.

Dario Zampieri et al.

Status: open (until 17 Jun 2021)

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Dario Zampieri et al.

Dario Zampieri et al.


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Short summary
The long-lived Schio-Vicenza Fault System is a major shear zone cross-cutting the foreland and the thrust belt of the Eastern Southern Alps. We review 150 years of scientific works, and explain its activity and kinematics, characterised by sinistral and dextral transcurrent motion along its southern and northern sections, respectively, by a geodynamic model that has the Adria indenter as the main actor, and coherently reconciles the available geological and geophysical evidence collected so far.