Concurrence of load-and-flame structures, balls-and-pillows, clastic injectites and shear deformation bands as indicator of seismicity in mixed siliciclastic-carbonate successions (Finale Ligure Basin, Italy)

Pierre Mueller, Silvia Tamburelli, Niccolo Menegoni, Michele Perozzo, Chiara Amadori, Laura Crispini, Laura Federico, Silvio Seno, Matteo Maino

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3 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present research explores a diverse suite of soft sediment deformation structures (SSDS) combined with clastic dykes and shear deformation bands distributed throughout a Early Miocene-age mixed carbonate-siliciclastic coastal wedge located on the Ligurian coast (NW Italy) of the Mediterranean region. The studied Aquitanian-Serravallian successions of the Finale Ligure Basin are typified by the presence of lithologically heterogeneous units, internally characterized by abrupt changes of lithofacies distributions and associated interpreted depositional environments. The interface between the terrigenous base and the carbonate wedge in many places features SSDS. Here, we report the discovery of a multiform deformational pattern, ranging from small size (cm-to dm-scale) load-and-flame structures, ball-and-pillows and mini-slumpings, to outsized (several meters in height) chaotic contorted and folded stratigraphic intervals, sand intrusions and diapir- or tree-like water escape structures. Many of the SSDS are related to fast injection of overpressurized fluids after sand liquefaction, and occur in close association with disaggregation and phyllosilicate shear bands, and sand dykelets. The stratigraphic distribution and cyclic repetitions of SSDS-prone intervals unambiguously indicates syn-depositional seismicity, thus suggesting that juxtaposition of SSDS, diapiric injectites, and shear deformation bands can serve as a suitable diagnostic criteria for seismite identification in the field. Since these particular assemblages of deformation structures reflect seismic activity in the area, they provide compelling evidence for previously undocumented tectonic episodes in Langhian-Serravallian times, associated with the latest stages of the Liguro-Provençal Basin opening.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106345
JournalMarine and Petroleum Geology
Volume155
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 10 2023

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2023-07-20
Acknowledgements: This research was supported in the frame of the Italian 1:50.000 Geological Mapping project - CARG Foglio 245 - Albenga (ISPRA, Regione Liguria, University of Pavia and Genova). We would like to express our gratitude to Maurizio Marino (Ispra) and Simone Fabbi (University of Rome “La Sapienza”) for the many fruitful discussion in the field and their constant support to the project. Marco Brandano is thanked for editorial handling. Massimo Moretti and the anonymous reviewer are thanked for helpful input that improved the clarity of the paper.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economic Geology
  • Oceanography
  • Stratigraphy
  • Geophysics
  • Geology

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