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Authors: Lavecchia, Alessio* 
Filippucci, Marilena* 
Tallarico, Andrea* 
Selvaggi, Giulio* 
Cecere, Gianpaolo* 
Cloetingh, Sierd* 
Title: Role of crustal fluids and thermo-mechanical structure for lower crustal seismicity: The Gargano Promontory (southern Italy)
Journal: Global and Planetary Change 
Series/Report no.: /217 (2022)
Publisher: Elsevier
Issue Date: Sep-2022
DOI: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2022.103929
Keywords: Lower crust
Numerical modeling
Gargano Promontory (southern Italy)
Abstract: Several regions around the globe are characterized by a seismically active lower crust, at depths where litho­logical and thermal conditions suggest stress release by ductile flow. The Gargano Promontory (GP, southern Italy) is an example where a recently installed seismic network has recorded an intense seismic activity at depths between 20 and 30 km, i.e. in the lower crust. The GP is located in proximity of the Gargano-Dubrovnik line­ament, a seismogenic zone separating the central and southern Adriatic basins. These two basins constitute sites of sediments accumulation since Tertiary times. Another important basin in the region is represented by the Apennine foredeep, that includes the Candelaro area. We analyze the possible mechanisms controlling the dis­tribution of seismicity in the GP to identify the factors that make the lower crust seismically active. To this aim, we construct a thermo-rheological model of a layered continental crust, calibrated on the basis of geometrical, lithological and thermal constraints. The model takes into account various crustal lithologies, the presence of fluids in the crystalline basement, lateral variations of geotherm and stress field. The numerical simulations show that the presence of fluids is a key factor controlling the cluster of seismicity in the lower crust. Moreover, the presence of water in the upper crystalline basement and sedimentary cover provides a plausible explanation for upper crustal seismicity in a zone of very high heat flow SW of the GP. The distribution of the seismicity is probably affected by the composition of the crystalline basement, with mafic bodies injected into the crust during the Paleocene magmatic phase that affected the Mediterranean region. In addition, fluid accumulation and overpressure may occur along detachment levels in the lower crust, leading to clustering of the earthquakes. Based on our findings, we hypothesize that the presence of hydrous diapiric upwelling(s) in the upper mantle can feed a deep fluid circulation system, inducing lower crustal seismicity.
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