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Authors: Cuffaro, Marco* 
Martorelli, Eleonora* 
Bosman, Alessandro* 
Conti, Alessia* 
Bigi, Sabina* 
Muccini, Filippo* 
Cocchi, Luca* 
Ligi, Marco* 
Bortoluzzi, Giovanni* 
Scrocca, Davide* 
Canese, Simonepietro* 
Chiocci, Francesco L.* 
Conte, Aida M.* 
Doglioni, Carlo* 
Perinelli, Cristina* 
Title: The Ventotene Volcanic Ridge: a newly explored complex in the central Tyrrhenian Sea (Italy)
Journal: Bulletin of Volcanology 
Series/Report no.: /78 (2016)
Issue Date: 2016
DOI: 10.1007/s00445-016-1081-9
Abstract: New high-resolution geophysical data collected along the eastern margin of the Tyrrhenian back-arc basin, in the Pontine Islands area, reveal a ∼NW-SE elongated morphological high, the Ventotene Volcanic Ridge (VR), located on the northern edge of the Ventotene Basin. High-resolution multibeam bathymetry, combined with magnetic data, multi- and single-channel seismic profiles, and ROV dives, suggest that VR results from aggregation of a series of volcanic edifices. The summit of these volcanoes is flat and occurs at about 170 m water depth. Given their depths, we propose that flat morphologies were probably caused by surf erosion during Quaternary glacial sea level lowstands. Seismic stratigraphy together with magnetic data suggest that the volcanic activity in this area is older than 190–130 ka age and may be coeval with that of Ventotene Island (Middle Pleistocene). The submarine volcanoes, located 25 km north of Ventotene, are part of a ∼E-W regional volcanic alignment and extend the Pontine volcanism landward toward the Gaeta bay. Integration of structural data from multichannel seismic profiles in this sector of the eastern Tyrrhenian margin indicates that several normal and/or transtensional faults, striking WNW-ESE, NNW-SSE, and NE-SW, offset the basement and form alternating structural highs and depressions filled by thick, mostly undeformed, sedimentary units. Arc-related magmatism is widespread in the study area, where the VR is placed at the hangingwall of the west-directed Apennines subduction zone, which is undergoing tensional and transtensional tectonics. Bathymetric and topographic evidence shows that VR lies in between a major NE-SW trending escarpment east of Ponza and a NE-SW trending graben southwest of the Roccamonfina volcano, a NE-SW transfer zone that accommodate the extension along this segmented portion of the margin. This suggests that the interaction between NE-SW and NW-SE trending fault systems acts as a structural control on location of eruptive centers, given that main volcanic edifices develop along the NW-SE direction, compatible with the extensional setting of the Tyrrhenian basin.
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