Turbidite paleoseismology in the Calabrian Arc Subduction Complex (Ionian Sea).

Polonia, A., Panieri, G., Gasperini, L., Gasparotto, G., Bellucci, L. G. and Torelli, L. (2013) Turbidite paleoseismology in the Calabrian Arc Subduction Complex (Ionian Sea). Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 14 (1). pp. 112-140. DOI 10.1029/2012GC004402.

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Abstract

The Calabrian Arc (CA) subduction system is part of the Africa-Eurasia plate boundary, is one of the most seismically active regions in the Mediterranean Sea, and has been struck repeatedly by destructive historical earthquakes. In this study we investigate the effects of historical earthquakes on abyssal marine sedimentation through the analysis of the turbidite record. We collected gravity cores in tectonically controlled basins where the eastern Mediterranean pelagic sequence is interbedded with re-sedimented units. Textural, micropaleontological, geochemical and mineralogical signatures reveal three turbidite events in the last Millennium. We dated the turbidite sequences from two different cores using different radiometric methods, while the average time interval between successive turbidite beds was estimated from pelagic sediment thickness and sedimentation rates; chronologies were refined through age modelling that provided age ranges (2σ) of each turbidite bed. The results suggest that turbidite emplacement was triggered by three historical earthquakes recorded in the area (i.e. the 1908, 1693 and 1169 events); their magnitude, epicentral location and associated tsunamis support causative faults located in the Ionian Sea. The source for all the turbidites, as inferred from their mineralogy, is the metamorphic basement outcropping in southern Calabria and/or North-Eastern Sicily. Turbidite composition and cable breaks for the 1908 event have been used to infer likely travelling paths and seismogenic faults in the subduction system. Our findings suggest that Ionian Sea turbidites represent more than 80% of sedimentation and may be seabed archives of paleo-earthquakes capable of reconstructing seismicity back in time, during several earthquake cycles.
Key Points

We examine interplay between historical seismicity, mass failures and turbidites
We reconstruct chronology of earthquake triggered turbidites in the Ionian Sea
Turbidite composition has been used to reconstruct sediment source

Document Type: Article
Keywords: subduction complex; earthquakes; active faults; seismoturbidites; seismic hazard
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1029/2012GC004402
ISSN: 1525-2027
Projects: FLOWS
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2014 11:46
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2014 11:46
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/23745

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