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Present Velocity Field in the Italian Region by GPS Data: Geodynamic/Tectonic Implications

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DOI: 10.4236/ijg.2015.612103    4,401 Downloads   4,895 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

The analysis of geodetic observations carried out by 478 continuous GPS stations in the Italian region since 2001 has allowed a fairly good definition of the ongoing horizontal velocity field with respect to Eurasia. It is argued that such evidence can provide important insights into the geodynamic context in the central Mediterranean area. Numerous velocity vectors in the Apulia zone coherently indicate that the southern Adriatic domain is moving roughly NE ward. Since no significant decoupling zone between this domain and Nubia has so far been recognized, one could expect that the kinematics of these two plates is compatible. However, this condition is not fulfilled if the Nubia-Eurasia relative motion is taken from the global kinematic models, either deduced by long-term evidence [1] or short-term geodetic data [2] [3]. This problem is considerably reduced if the alternative Nubia-Eurasia rotation pole suggested by [4] is taken into account. This choice is also suggested by other major long-term evidence in the Mediterranean region. The numerous geodetic vectors available in two Adriatic sectors, the Apulia zone and the Venetian plain, would imply an Adria-Eurasia rotation pole incompatible with all Nubia-Eurasia Eulerian poles so far proposed. Since a significant relative motion between these plates is not compatible with the absence of a tectonic decoupling zone, we suppose that the short-term kinematics of Adria might be influenced by a transient non-rigid behaviour of that plate. This hypothesis is compatible with the expected effects (post seismic relaxation) of the major decoupling earthquakes that have occurred along Periadriatic zones in the past tens of years. The compatibility of the GPS kinematic pattern in the Apennine belt, Calabria Arc and Sicily with the implications of the geodynamic/tectonic interpretations so far proposed for the central Mediterranean area is then discussed.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Mantovani, E. , Viti, M. , Cenni, N. , Babbucci, D. and Tamburelli, C. (2015) Present Velocity Field in the Italian Region by GPS Data: Geodynamic/Tectonic Implications. International Journal of Geosciences, 6, 1285-1316. doi: 10.4236/ijg.2015.612103.

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