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Holocene Deformations at the Po Plain–Southern Alps Transition (Lake Maggiore, Italy): Inferences on Glacially vs. Tectonic-Induced Origin

by N Menegoni, M Maino, G Toscani, LI Mordeglia, G Valle, C Perotti
Article Year: 2023 DOI: 10.3390/geosciences13090286


The investigation of deformations in Quaternary deposits holds primary importance in understanding recent geological history and natural hazards in highly populated areas, such as the Po Plain. While civil excavations and trenches possess the potential to be pivotal in identifying and characterizing these deformations, they often remain underused due to the stringent regulation framework and timetables governing civil construction works. In this study, we demonstrate how digital photogrammetry and digital outcrop modelling (DOM) are useful techniques for obtaining a permanent digital representation of a trench situated in Castelletto Ticino (Po Plain–Southern Alps transition). This trench exhibits Holocene deformational structures: (i) an overall tilting of sedimentary deposits towards the SW; (ii) folds with a NE–SW trend; (iii) slumping and other soft-sediment deformations structures; and (iv) reverse faults with NE–SW and NW–SE directions. Using radiocarbon and archeological dating, we are able to confidently constrain the age of these deformations to between 8760 and 400 years BC, suggesting recent tectonic activity related to buried thrust faults.

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