Recent tectonics of Tripolitania, Libya: an intraplate record of Mediterranean subduction

Fabio Capitanio, Claudio Faccenna, Renato Funiciello, Franco Salvini

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    High-energy seismicity is historically recorded in Tripolitania, Libya suggesting that this area, far from Mediterranean convergent margin, is currently deforming. How this deformation relates to surrounding tectonics of the Africa-Europe convergence is still poorly known. Here, we use remote sensing image analysis and structural survey to show the recent deformation history that affected Tripolitania and reactivated the western bordering structures of Sirte Basin. This tectonic regime onset long after the Paleocenea??Oligocene deformation correlated to the Hellenic subduction evolution (Libyan tectonics have been quiescent since then) and is compatible with age and trends of the Sicily Channel rift zone, a deformational belt that developed across the Maghrebian chain. We show that the continuity of this belt reaches farther than that previously acknowledged, as far as c. 1400 km from the collisional front. We speculate on the causes of deformation in this remote area, suggesting that the extensional belt formed in response to the strong slab-pull gradients at the central Mediterranean subduction margin which followed the progressive closure of the oceanic basin.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)319 - 328
    Number of pages10
    JournalGeological Society Special Publication
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

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