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Vol. 49, n.2, June 2008
pp. 163-176

Hints on active tectonics in the southern Messina Straits: preliminary results from the TAORMINA-2006 seismic cruise

A. Argnani, G. Brancolini, M. Rovere, F. Accaino, F. Zgur, M. Grossi, F. Fanzutti, P. Visnovic, D. Sorgo, E. Lodolo, C. Bonazzi and N. Mitchell

Received: March 28, 2007; accepted: November 21, 2007

Abstract
The Straits of Messina and its surroundings are considered one of the most tectonically active areas of the Mediterranean; however, in spite of their hazard potential, modern geophysical data aimed at investigating the tectonic structures occurring in the marine areas are lacking. In order to bridge this gap, we carried out a multichannel seismic survey aimed at studying: i) the existence of the Taormina Fault, which many authors locate along the coast between Taormina and Messina; ii) the regional fault pattern in the area of the Messina 1908 earthquake; and iii) the instability offshore of Mt. Etna. Preliminary results show that the whole sector of the submarine slope located between Taormina and Messina has been tilted eastwards and that there is no Taormina Fault cutting the Quaternary sediments. On the other hand, the best-imaged active fault occurs on the Calabrian side of the Messina Straits. This NW-SE-trending fault is about 20 km long and dips westwards with a low-angle. Finally, a large submarine slide, longer than 10 km and thicker than 400 m, has been found offshore Mt. Etna.

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