Long-term geomorphological evolution of the axial zone of the Campania-Lucania Apennine, southern Italy: a review

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Abstract

Uplift and erosion rates have been calculated for a large sector of the Campania-Lucania Apennine and Calabrian arc, Italy, using both geomorphological observations (elevations, ages and arrangement of depositional and erosional land surfaces and other morphotectonic markers) and stratigraphical and structural data (sea-level related facies, base levels, fault kinematics, and fault offset estimations). The values of the Quaternary uplift rates of the southern Apennines vary from 0.2 mm/yr to about 1.2–1.3 mm/yr. The erosion rates from key-areas of the southern Apennines, obtained from both quantitative geomorphic analysis and missing volumes calculations, has been estimated at 0.2 mm/yr since the Middle Pleistocene. Since the Late Pleistocene erosion and uplift rates match well, the axial-zone landscape could have reached a flux steady state during that time, although it is more probable that the entire study area may be a transient landscape. Tectonic denudation phenomena — leading to the exhumation of the Mesozoic core of the chain — followed by an impressive regional planation started in the Late Pliocene have to be taken into account for a coherent explanation of the morphological evolution of southern Italy.

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