Quaternary evolution of the Southern Apennines coastal plains: a review

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Abstract

The Quaternary evolution of the main coastal basins located along the southwestern margin of the Southern Apennines has been reconstructed by integrating the huge amount of existing stratigraphical and geomorphological data. The information produced in the last twenty years has shed new light on the recent (late Middle Pleistocene to Present) history of the Campanian and Sele plains or basins. During the early Quaternary, the analysed coastal basins originated as half-grabens in response to opening processes active since the late Tortonian in the southern Tyrrhenian back-arc basin. In some of these basins (e.g. the Campanian Plain), volcanism has also played an important role. In the inner sectors of the coastal basins, the complex interplay between block faulting, sedimentary inputs and glacioeustatic fluctuations gave rise to relative sea-level change and related coastline migrations, leading to the formation of the present-day coastal plains. In the Sele Plain basin, the construction of the present-day landscape mainly resulted from the substantial ceasing of subsidence in the final part of the Middle Pleistocene. Conversely, a strong contribution to the recent evolution of the Campanian Plain has been provided by abundant volcaniclastic aggradation, able to hinder the effect of the vertical motions that occurred in the last 100 ka.

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