Geophysical Mapping of Vercelli Seamount: Implications for Miocene Evolution of the Tyrrhenian Back Arc Basin

TitleGeophysical Mapping of Vercelli Seamount: Implications for Miocene Evolution of the Tyrrhenian Back Arc Basin
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsCocchi, L, Masetti, G, Muccini, F, Carmisciano, C
JournalGeoscience Frontiers
Date Published6 August 2015
KeywordsForward modelling, Magnetic anomaly, Multibeam swath bathymetry, Seamount, Tyrrhenian Sea

Since the Tortonian, the geodynamic evolution of the Tyrrhenian Sea has been driven by an eastward roll-back of the entire Apennine subduction system, triggering distinct episodes of back-arc basin formation with spots of oceanic crust. Major structural differences are observed between northern and southern portions of the Tyrrhenian Sea, reflecting two distinct evolution stages of the Ionian slab retreat. In the central portion of the Tyrrhenian Sea, the seafloor morphology is characterized by a set of magmatic intrusions and structural highs associated to an E–W magnetic lineament along the 41st geographical parallel. The Vercelli seamount represents one example of structural highs correlated to Miocene magmatic episodes along the 41st parallel zone. In this study, we discuss the results of new high resolution magnetic data and morphological mapping of the Vercelli seamount acquired during the VER2010 cruise. The seamount represents the relict part of a granitic intrusion emplaced during the Tortonian phase of Tyrrhenian rifting. Tectonic and deep-sea erosive processes have jointly modified the seamount structure that can be observed nowadays. Cumulative gradient analysis highlights an asymmetric morphology of the flanks as a result of erosive action of opposite water mass gyres which modelled the southern portion of the seamount. The joint interpretation of magnetic and bathymetric datasets identifies a high magnetized source laying close to the base of the seamount and located in correspondence to a small basin. This structure has been modelled as a post-Tortonian lava sequence emplaced between structural highs in correspondence of N–S elongated flat sedimentary basin. Modelling of new geophysical data highlights the relationship between crustal setting and magnetic evidences of the central Tyrrhenian Sea, providing a new interpretation of the 41st magnetic lineament.

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