Late Pleistocene to Holocene record of changing uplift rates in southern Calabria and northeastern Sicily (southern Italy, Central Mediterranean Sea)

Fabrizio Antonioli, Luigi Ferranti, Kurt Lambeck, Steve Kershaw, Vladimiro Verrubbi, Giuseppe Dai Pra

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131 Citations (Scopus)


A combination of published and new radiometric dates on uplifted Holocene fossil beaches from northeastern Sicily and southern Calabria (southern Italy) is compared with the altitude of the inner margin of the Last Interglacial (LIg) (Late Pleistocene, ∼124 ka) and older marine terraces in order to gain a regional-scale outline of uplift rates and their temporal changes in a region which is one of the fastest uplifting sectors of the Central Mediterranean Sea. Late Holocene radiocarbon dates from Ioppolo (southern Calabria) and Ganzirri (northeast Sicily), two newly discovered sites are here presented for the first time. The Holocene uplift rates are highest at St. Alessio and Taormina in eastern Sicily (2.4 mm/y) and at Scilla in southwestern Calabria (2.1 mm/y), two sites located across the Messina Straits and which separate the island of Sicily from mainland Italy. Uplift rates decrease towards the south and north from this centre of uplift. Late Holocene uplift rates show an apparent increase of between 64 and 124% when compared with the longer-term uplift rates calculated from the LIg highstand terraces. Furthermore, we discovered that the locations of fastest Late Pleistocene and Late Holocene uplift rates spatially coincide. To what extent the Holocene increase in uplift rates results from incomplete elastic strain release along the major extensional faults which frame the seismotectonic of the area, or indicate a true change in regional tectonic processes, is not resolved. Nonetheless, the heterogeneity of uplift, with a well-defined centre that crosses the Messina Straits, and its persistence at different time-scales indicates a tight connection between wider regional processes and fault-related displacement in controlling crustal instability in this area. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23 - 40
Number of pages18
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2006
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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