The Northern Adriatic Sea is a shallow and very flat shelf area located between the northern Apennines, the southern Alps and the Dinarides; its present day physiography is the result of the filling of a relatively deep Quaternary foredeep basin, developed due to the northeastward migration of the Apennine chain. Multichannel seismic profiles and well data have allowed documenting the stratigraphic architecture, the depositional systems and the physiographic evolution of the Northern Adriatic sea since early Pliocene time. In particular, three main depositional sequences bounded by regional unconformities were recognized. The Zanclean Sequence 1 documents first the drowning of late Messinian incised valleys and then the southward progradation of a shelf-slope system, which is inferred to be related to a tectonic phase of the Apenninic front. The Piacenzian-Gelasian Sequence 2 records a relatively rapid transgressive episode followed by minor southward progradation; the top of the sequence is associated with a major late Gelasian drowning event, linked to the NE-ward migration of the Apennine foredeep. The Calabrian to upper Pleistocene Sequence 3 testifies the infilling of accommodation previously created by the late Gelasian drowning event, and it initially accumulated in deep-water settings and then in shallow-water to continental settings. The upper part of Sequence 3, consisting of the paleo-Po deltaic system, is composed of seven high-frequency sequences inferred to record late Quaternary glacio-eustatic changes. These high-frequency sequences document the stepwise filling of the remaining accommodation, resulting in the development of the modern shelf.
Marine and Petroleum Geology – Elsevier
Published: Jan 1, 2017
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