The miocene saint-florent basin in northern Corsica: Stratigraphy, sedimentology, and tectonic implications

William Cavazza, Peter G. Decelles, Maria Giuditta Fellin, Luigi Paganelli

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Late early-early middle Miocene (Burdigalian-Langhian) time on the island of Corsica (western Mediterranean) was characterized by a combination of (i) postcollisional structural inversion of the main boundary thrust system between the Alpine orogenic wedge and the foreland, (ii) eustatic sealevel rise and (iii) subsidence related to the development of the Ligurian-Provençal basin. These processes created the accommodation for a distinctive continental to shallow-marine sedimentary succession along narrow and elongated basins. Much of these deposits have been eroded and presently only a few scattered outcrop areas remain, most notably at Saint-Florent and Francardo. The Burdigalian-Langhian sedimentary succession at Saint-Florent is composed of three distinguishing detrital components: (i) siliciclastic detritus derived from erosion of the nearby Alpine orogenic wedge, (ii) carbonate intrabasinal detritus (bioclasts of shallow-marine and pelagic organisms), and (iii) siliciclastic detritus derived from Hercynian-age foreland terraines. The basal deposits (Fium Albino Formation) are fluvial and composed of Alpine-derived detritus, with subordinate foreland-derived volcanic detritus. All three detrital components are present in the middle portion of the succession (Torra and Monte Sant'Angelo Formations), which is characterized by thin transitional deposits evolving vertically into fully marine deposits, although the carbonate intrabasinal component is predominant. The Monte Sant'Angelo Formation is characteristically dominated by the deposits of large gravel and sandwaves, possibly the result of current amplification in narrow seaways that developed between the foreland and the tectonically collapsing Alpine orogenic wedge. The laterally equivalent Saint-Florent conglomerate is composed of clasts derived from the late Permian Cinto volcanic district within the foreland. The uppermost unit (Farinole Formation) is dominated by bioclasts of pelagic organisms. The Saint-Florent succession was deposited during the last phase of the counterclockwise rotation of the Corsica-Sardinia-Calabria continental block and the resulting development of the Provençal oceanic basin. The succession sits at the paleogeographic boundary between the Alpine orogenic wedge (to the east), its foreland (to the west), and the Ligurian-Provençal basin (to the northwest). Abrupt compositional changes in the succession resulted from the complex, varying interplay of post-collisional extensional tectonism, eustacy and competing drainage systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-527
Number of pages21
JournalBasin Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


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