The paleomagnetic investigation of the western Sicily Maghrebian belt has revealed since the 1970s that large clockwise rotations up to 140° with respect to the Hyblean-African foreland occurred synchronous with Tertiary shortening of the chain. The observation that rotations decrease stepwise from internal to external tectono-stratigraphic units led in the 1990s to a widely accepted model postulating that rotational thrust-sheet emplaced during forward orogenic propagation. More recently, other authors suggested that clockwise rotations from Sicily are conversely the result of late orogenic dextral strike-slip tectonics. Here we report on a paleomagnetic investigation of 30 Jurassic-Eocene sedimentary sites sampled mainly across the WNW-ESE Mt. Kumeta and Rocca Busambra ridges (Trapanese Unit), both bounded to the north by high-angle reverse faults with dextral strike-slip components. We find rotations of 110°–120° at faults of northern ridge margins, which decrease to 80°–90° at ~200 m to the south and rise again moving further south. Thus, an excess rotation of 20°–40° due to dextral-strike-slip shear is annulled to the regional rotational background of the Trapanese Unit at only 200 m from fault traces, translating to paleomagnetically calculated strike-slip offsets not exceeding 600 m. Further north, seven sites sampled in the Imerese Unit, tectonically stacked above the Trapanese Unit, yield a ~130° rotation. Thus, our data confirm that CW rotations in Sicily are predominantly related to thrust-sheet emplacement. Strike-slip tectonics has very limited relevance and gives local rotations that fade out at only 200 m from fault planes.
|Number of pages||21|
|Publication status||Published - 2018|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geochemistry and Petrology