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Authors: Speranza, F.* 
Adamoli, L.* 
Maniscalco, R.* 
Florindo, F.* 
Title: Genesis and evolution of a curved mountain front: paleomagnetic and geological evidence from the Gran Sasso range (central Apennines, Italy)
Issue Date: 6-Feb-2003
Series/Report no.: 1-4 / 362 (2003)
DOI: 10.1016/S0040-1951(02)00637-6
Keywords: Gran Sasso range
Mountain front
Central Apennines
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.05. Geomagnetism::04.05.06. Paleomagnetism 
Abstract: The Gran Sasso range is a striking salient formed by two roughly rectilinear E–W and N–S limbs. In the past ∼90° counterclockwise (CCW) rotations from the eastern Gran Sasso were reported [Tectonophysics 215 (1992) 335], suggesting west–east increase of rotation-related northward shortening along the E–W limb. In this paper, we report on paleomagnetic data from Meso-Cenozoic sedimentary dykes and strata cropping out at Corno Grande (central part of the E–W Gran Sasso limb), the highest summit of the Apennine belt. Predominant northwestward paleomagnetic declinations (in the normal polarity state) from both sedimentary dykes and strata are observed. When compared to the expected declination values for the Adriatic foreland, our data document no thrusting-related rotation at Corno Grande. The overall paleomagnetic data set coupled with the available geological information shows that the Gran Sasso arc is in fact a composite structure, formed by an unrotated-low shortening western (E–W trending) limb and a strongly CCW rotated eastern salient. Late Messinian and post-early Pliocene shortening episodes documented along the Gran Sasso front indicate that belt building and arc formation occurred during two distinct episodes. We suggest that the southern part of a late Messinian N–S front was reactivated during early–middle Pliocene time, forming a tight range salient due to CCW rotations and differential along-front shortening rates. The formation of a northward displacing bulge in an overall NW–SE chain is likely a consequence of the collision between the Latium-Abruzzi and Apulian carbonate platforms during northeastward propagation of the Apennine wedge, inducing lateral northward extrusion of Latium-Abruzzi carbonates towards ductile basinal sediment areas.
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