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Tidal sedimentary dynamics of the Early Pleistocene Messina Strait (Calabria, southern Italy) based on its modern analogue

Abstract : The Messina Strait excursion opens a series of geological field trips associated with the 10th International Congress of Tidal Sedimentology (Tidalites), Matera, Italy, 5-7 October 2021. This guide aims at documenting a number of selected outcrops located along the eastern margin of the modern Messina Strait, in order to illustrate the sedimentary dynamics of the Early Pleistocene tide-dominated Messina Strait. Since the Pliocene, this extensional basin separated Sicily from Calabria, forming a wide non-tidal seaway. Successively, this basin turned into a ca. 10-15 km-wide and 40 km-long, tide-dominated strait during the Early Pleistocene, prior to its definitive closure following a Middle Pleistocene phase of tectonic uplift. As for today in its modern analogue, the ancient strait acted as a major conduit for marine water exchanges between the Ionian and the Tyrrhenian seas. Semi-diurnal, reverse bidirectional tidal currents flowed in phase opposition parallel to the strait margins, being subject to tidal amplification due to bathymetric restriction across the shallower strait-centre zone. This oceanographic setting partitioned the strait into specific environments. Nowadays, their sedimentary record is exposed in a series of outcrops across the western (Sicily) and eastern (Calabria) margins of the modern strait. A series of stops along a south-to-north transect covers a total distance of ca. 20 km. Outcrops of the first day show coarse-grained deposits lying adjacent to a block-faulted central horst and transgressively overlain by cross-stratified, mixed bioclastic-siliciclastic arenites. These strata record bypass and residual sedimentation in the strait-centre zone of the ancient system. The second day, large- and medium-scale cross-stratification exhibiting a variety of tidal sedimentary indicators are observed, interpreted as the ancient northern tidal dune field. The third day focuses on one major section representing the north-eastern flank of the ancient strait, where subaqueous canyon-fill strata, mass-wasting deposits and tide-influenced delta front-facies are exposed.
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Soumis le : vendredi 4 mars 2022 - 15:42:35
Dernière modification le : mercredi 7 septembre 2022 - 17:14:44

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Sergio G. Longhitano, Domenico Chiarella, Marcello Gugliotta, Pascal Barrier, Dario Ventra, et al.. Tidal sedimentary dynamics of the Early Pleistocene Messina Strait (Calabria, southern Italy) based on its modern analogue. Geological Field Trips and Maps, Societa Geologica Italiana, 2020, 12 (2, 4), pp.2-45. ⟨10.3301/GFT.2020.06⟩. ⟨hal-03598021⟩



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