IJG  Vol.5 No.10 , September 2014
Generation of Back-Arc Basins as Side Effect of Shortening Processes: Examples from the Central Mediterranean
ABSTRACT
The evolution of the Mediterranean area since the Oligocene-Lower Miocene has been driven by the convergence of the surrounding plates. This implies that the observed deformation pattern in that region must be the most convenient shortening pattern, i.e. the one controlled by the minimum action principle. To understand why the fulfilment of such condition has required a complex spatio-temporal distribution of major tectonic events, such as uplift, lateral displacement and bending of orogenic belts, consumption of large lithospheric domains and formation of back arc basins, it may be very useful to take into account a basic tectonic concept, which helps to identify the process that can minimize the resistance of tectonic forces. Such concept starts from the fact that the most convenient consumption process is the one that involves low buoyancy oceanic lithosphere (Tethyan domains). However, such process is highly favoured where the oceanic lithosphere is stressed by vertical forces, a situation that develops when orogenic wedges are forced to over thrust and load the oceanic domain to be consumed. This interpretation can provide plausible and coherent explanations for the complex pattern of the observed deformations. In this view, the generation of back arc basins is taken as a side effect of an extrusion process, as suggested by numerical and mechanical experiments.

Cite this paper
Mantovani, E. , Viti, M. , Babbucci, D. , Tamburelli, C. , Cenni, N. , Baglione, M. and D’Intinosante, V. (2014) Generation of Back-Arc Basins as Side Effect of Shortening Processes: Examples from the Central Mediterranean. International Journal of Geosciences, 5, 1062-1079. doi: 10.4236/ijg.2014.510091.
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