TitleSubmarine canyons of north-western Sicily (Southern Tyrrhenian Sea): Variability in morphology, sedimentary processes and evolution on a tectonically active margin
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsIacono CLo, Sulli A, Agate M
JournalDeep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography
Date Publishedjun
Keywordslandslides, Seismic data, Sicily, Southern Tyrrhenian Sea, Submarine canyons, swath-bathymetry, tectonics
AbstractSwath-bathymetry, mono-channel and multi-channel seismic reflection records acquired during the last two decades on the northern Sicilian margin have unveiled a dense network of submarine canyons within the depth range of 80-2100. m. The canyons display a relevant variability in their geometry, morphology and sedimentary processes. The margin shows a young, tectonically active shelf to slope setting, linking the Sicilian-Maghrebian Thrust Belt to the Tyrrhenian oceanic realm, developed during the Neogene-Quaternary time span. The aim of this study is to highlight the main governing factors that contributed to the evolution and differentiation of the northern Sicilian canyons, mainly focusing on the Gulf of Palermo and on the Gulf of Castellammare. Tectonic control is more evident in the canyons of the Gulf of Palermo, with submarine landslides retrograding on a steep slope and mainly controlling their evolution. Otherwise, canyons, tributaries and gullies mapped in the Gulf of Castellammare developed on a less steep substrate and display sinuous to meandering paths, with a relevant role of coastal/shelf sedimentary inputs and downslope turbidity processes in their formation. Results suggest that, despite the geographically close proximity of the two study areas, the different structural settings of the Castellammare and Palermo Basins are mainly responsible for canyon variability. Data indicate likely on-going uplift and tilting movements along the Sicilian margin, influencing the development of the studied canyons, which have probably been more active during the Quaternary glacial maxima than they are in the present day. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.