Seismic and stratigraphic data of the inland Volterra Basin and of the Tuscan Shelf (Northern Tyrrhenian Sea) have been analysed to determine the tectono‐sedimentary evolution of this part of the Northern Apennines from the early Miocene (about 20 Ma) to the present. The area is a good example for better understanding the evolution of postcollisional related basins. The study area is characterized by a series of sedimentary basins separated by tectonic ridges. Similar environmental conditions existed both onshore and offshore as indicated by the occurrence of similar seismic units. The units are separated by major unconformities. The cross‐sectional geometries of the deposits of these basins, as defined through seismic reflection profiles, change in a quasi‐regular manner through time and space. Early stages (late Burdigalian to early Tortonian) of evolution of the basins are marked by either flat‐lying deposits, quasi‐uniform in thickness, probably remnants of originally wider and shallow settings, or, in places, by relatively small bowl‐shaped basins. The latter may have been strongly affected by the pre‐existing topography and tectonics, as they developed at or near the leading edges of pre‐Neogene substrate thrusts. These early deposits represent sedimentation during a transitional period from the end of compressional tectonics to the start of an extensional phase and represent a pre‐narrow rift stage of evolution of the region. The subsequent stage of tectonic evolution (late Tortonian to early Messinian), where preserved, is recorded by fault‐bounded triangular‐shaped basins interpreted as half‐grabens. This is one of the periods of major development of narrow rifts in the area. The following stage (late Messinian to Early Pliocene) is marked by variable types of basins, showing wide and deep bowl‐shaped geometries persistent in the offshore, whereas inshore (Volterra Basin) they alternate with half‐graben, synrift deposits. This period thus represents a transitional stage where part of the system is still affected by synrift sedimentation and part is developing into incipient post‐rift conditions. This stage was followed in early to middle Pliocene times by wide bowl‐shaped to blanket‐type deposits both in offshore and in inshore areas, indicating regional post‐rifting conditions. The pre‐, syn‐ and post‐rift stages have followed each other through time and space, starting first in the westernmost offshore area and shifting later toward the east, inshore.
Basin Research – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 1999
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