Quaternary gravitational morpho-genesis of Central Apennines (Italy): Insights from the Mt. Genzana case history

C. Esposito, G. Bianchi-Fasani, S. Martino, G. Scarascia-Mugnozza

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Abstract

This paper focuses on a study aimed at defining the role of geological-structural setting and Quaternary morpho-structural evolution on the onset and development of a deep-seated gravitational slope deformation which affects the western slope of Mt. Genzana ridge (Central Apennines, Italy). This case history is particularly significant as it comprises several aspects of such gravitational processes both in general terms and with particular reference to the Apennines. In fact: i) the morpho-structural setting is representative of widespread conditions in Central Apennines; ii) the deforming slope partially evolved in a large rockslide-avalanche; iii) the deformational process provides evidence of an ongoing state of activity; iv) the rockslide-avalanche debris formed a stable natural dam, thus implying significant variations in the morphologic, hydraulic and hydrogeological setting; v) the gravitational deformation as well as the rockslide-avalanche reveal a strong structural control.The main study activities were addressed to define a detailed geological model of the gravity-driven process, by means of geological, structural, geomorphological and geomechanical surveys. As a result, a robust hypothesis about the kinematics of the process was possible, with particular reference to the identification of geological-structural constraints. The process, in fact, involves a specific section of the slope exactly where a dextral transtensional structure is present, thus implying local structural conditions that favor sliding processes: the rock mass is intensively jointed by high angle discontinuity sets and the bedding attitude is quite parallel to the slope angle. Within this frame the gravitational process can be classified as a structurally constrained translational slide, locally evolved into a rockslide-avalanche. The activation of such a deformation can be in its turn related to the Quaternary morphological evolution of the area, which was affected by a significant topographic stress increase, testified by stratigraphic and morphologic evidence.© 2013 Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96 - 103
Number of pages8
JournalTectonophysics
Volume605
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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