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Authors: Caracausi, A.* 
Favara, R.* 
Italiano, F.* 
Nuccio, P. M.* 
Paonita, A.* 
Rizzo, A.* 
Title: Active geodynamics of the central Mediterranean Sea: Tensional tectonic evidences in western Sicily from mantle-derived helium
Journal: Geophysical Research Letters 
Series/Report no.: 32(2005)
Publisher: American Geophysical Union
Issue Date: 2005
DOI: 10.1029/2004GL021608
Keywords: helium isotopes
heat production
Subject Classification03. Hydrosphere::03.04. Chemical and biological::03.04.05. Gases 
03. Hydrosphere::03.04. Chemical and biological::03.04.06. Hydrothermal systems 
03. Hydrosphere::03.04. Chemical and biological::03.04.07. Radioactivity and isotopes 
04. Solid Earth::04.02. Exploration geophysics::04.02.03. Heat flow 
04. Solid Earth::04.04. Geology::04.04.12. Fluid Geochemistry 
04. Solid Earth::04.07. Tectonophysics::04.07.03. Heat generation and transport 
04. Solid Earth::04.07. Tectonophysics::04.07.07. Tectonics 
Abstract: We report results on the measured high 3He/4He isotope ratio in western Sicily, interpreted together with the heat data. The study of this sector of the Europe-Africa interaction is crucial to a better understanding of the tectonics and the geodynamical evolution of the central Mediterranean area. The estimated mantle-derived helium fluxes in the investigated areas are up to 2–3 orders of magnitude greater than those of a stable continental area. The highest flux, found in the southernmost area near the Sicily Channel, where recent eruptions of the Ferdinandea Island occurred 20 miles out to sea off Sciacca, has been associated with a clear excess of heat flow. Our results indicate that there is an accumulation of magma below the continental crust of western Sicily that is possibly intruding and out-gassing through roughly N-S trending deep fault systems linked to the mantle, that have an extensional component. Although the identification of these faults is not sufficiently constrained by our data, they could possibly be linked to the pre-existing faults that originated during the Mesozoic extensional-transtensional tectonic phases.
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