In order to unravel the tectonic evolution of the north-central sector of the SicilyChannel (Central Mediterranean), a seismo-stratigraphic analysis of single- and multichannelseismic reflection profiles has been carried out. This allowed to identify, between20 and 50 km offshore the central-southern coast of Sicily, a *80-km-long deformationbelt, characterized by a set of WNW–ESE to NW–SE fault segments showing a polyphasicactivity. Within this belt, we observed: i) Miocene normal faults reactivated duringZanclean–Piacenzian time by dextral strike-slip motion, as a consequence of the Africa–Europe convergence; ii) releasing and restraining bend geometries forming well-developedpull-apart basins and compressive structures. In the central and western sectors of the belt,we identified local transpressional reactivations of Piacenzian time, attested by well-definedcompressive features like push-up structures and fault-bend anticlines. The reconstructionof timing and style of tectonic deformation suggest a strike-slip reactivation ofinherited normal faults and the local subsequent positive tectonic inversion, often documentedalong oblique thrust ramps. This pattern represents a key for an improvedknowledge of the structural style of foreland fold-and-thrust belts propagating in a preexistingextensional domain. With regard to active tectonics and seismic hazards, recentGPS data and local seismicity events suggest that this deformation process could be stillactive and accomplished through deep-buried structures; moreover, several normal faultsshowing moderate displacements have been identified on top of the Madrepore Bank andMalta High, offsetting the Late Quaternary deposits. Finally, inside the northern part of the Gela Basin, multiple slope failures, originated during Pleistocene by the further advancingof the Gela Nappe, reveal tectonically induced potential instability processes.
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