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Authors: Vignaroli, G.* 
Faccenna, C.* 
Jolivet, L.* 
Piromallo, C.* 
Rossetti, F.* 
Title: Reply to the comment by G. Capponi et al. on ‘Subduction polarity reversal at the junction between the Western Alps and the Northern Apennines, Italy", by G. Vignaroli et al. (Tectonophysics, 2008, 450, 34-50)
Issue Date: 2008
DOI: 10.1016/j.tecto.2008.11.007
Keywords: Western Alps
Northern Apennines
Voltri Massif
kinematic reconstruction
extensional detachment
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.07. Tectonophysics::04.07.06. Subduction related processes 
Abstract: We first would like to thank Capponi et al. (2008) for their comments and criticisms on our paper, offering us the opportunity to discuss the data and the model presented in Vignaroli et al. (2008a) and clarify the geological rationale behind our manuscript. Vignaroli et al. (2008a) presented a large-scale reconstruction on the evolution of the Western Alpine-Northern Apennine junction, based on shallow geological information derived from the Northern Apennines, the Western and Ligurian Alps coupled with deep mantle structures from seismic tomography and tectonic reconstructions. The aim of this paper is then to give an alternative, though simplified, tectonic solution to the long-standing debate concerning the polarity of the subduction zone in the central Mediterranean and its linkage with the Alpine orogeny and the formation of the arcs belt. We condensed and simplified the huge wealth of geological information using cross-sections along the three orogenic segments. One of the main points of the paper is that the Voltri Massif of the Ligurian Alps is reinterpreted as an eclogitic-bearing domain exhumed by means of ductile-to-brittle extensional detachment tectonics with a top-to-the-W sense of shear. In this view, the orogenic architecture and evolution of the Ligurian Alps presents affinities (both for geometry and timing of deformation) with the widely accepted extensional structures recognized in the Western Alps, in the Northern Apennines and, in general, in Alpine-type orogenic belts of the Mediterranean. The detailed comment made by Capponi et al. (2008) is indeed centred on the tectonic structure of the Voltri Massif (probably this comment should have been addressed to our companion paper, Vignaroli et al., 2008b, focused on the Voltri Massif structures and available on-line on March 2008). The main point of the comment is that the exhumation of High-Pressure (HP) metamorphic units exposed in the Voltri Massif was produced by thrusts rather than by syn- orogenic extensional detachments. In this reply, we would first like to make some general considerations on the criteria/concepts adopted for the interpretation of the exhumation-related structures and we will then discuss point-by-point the criticism of Capponi et al. (2008).
Description: Reply to comment
Appears in Collections:Papers Published / Papers in press

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