Page 1 - 36 Elevation of the last interglacial highstand in Sicily
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                                                                  Quaternary International 145–146 (2006) 3–18

      Elevation of the last interglacial highstand in Sicily (Italy):
                      A benchmark of coastal tectonics

             F. Antoniolia,Ã, S. Kershawb, P. Rendac, D. Rustb, G. Belluominid,
                                  M. Cerasolid, U. Radtkee, S. Silenzif

                             aENEA, Special Project Global Change Via Anguillarese 301, 00060 S. Maria di Galeria, Rome, Italy
                             bDepartment of Geography and Earth Sciences, Brunel University, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PH, UK

                                             cDepartment of Geologia e Geodesia, corso Tukory 131, 90134 Palermo, Italy
                                        dCNR, Laboratorio di radiodatazioni e Geochimica, Montelibretti, 00100 Rome, Italy
                                        eGeographical Department, University of Cologne, D-52913 Cologne (Ko¨ln), Germany
                                       fICRAM, Central Institute for Marine Research, Via Casalotti, 300-00166 Rome, Italy

                                                                        Available online 8 September 2005


   Well-preserved MIS 5.5 terraces in Sicily are identified primarily by the index fossil Strombus bubonius, and dated by amino acid
racemization (AAR), electron spin resonance (ESR), Uranium/Thorium (U/Th) and thermo luminescence (TL) methods. This
review of published data and new results for the island of Sicily and neighbouring small islands of Egadi, Ustica and Lampedusa
identifies areas of rapid uplift in the east (up to +175 m, elevation above sea level), slower uplift in the north (+29 m), and relative
stability in the northwest (+2/+18 m). In contrast, about 250 km of the southern coastline of Sicily does not appear to contain MIS
5.5 outcrops. In eastern Sicily, correlation of MIS 5.5 highstands is based on Strombus bubonius, discovered at +86 m, and
correlated with the inner margin terrace at +110 m, In the Taormina area, a fossiliferous marine conglomerate on a terrace with an
inner margin at +115 m occurs in an area with undated terrace morphology and elevation data. Based on ESR methodology applied
to fossils sampled at +105 m in Taormina, we attribute this terrace to MIS 5, probably 5.5. This age allows us to constrain the date
of one point along a very long coastline that is otherwise undated. A newly discovered fossil beach (between +7 and +9 m) at
Cefalu` (north-central Sicily) attributed to MIS 5.1/5.3 using AAR analysis, permits correlation of MIS 5.5 to a +29 m-high tidal
notch geomorphologically related to a terrace at the same elevation. Cefalu` lies in an important position between the uplifted
coastline of northeastern Sicily, and the more stable coastline of western Sicily. This compilation of MIS 5.5 data for all of Sicily
reflects the active tectonics of eastern Sicily in contrast to the rest of the island.
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1. Introduction                                                          involves Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano.
                                                                         Coastal sites on the eastern side are affected by
   Sicily sits astride the African–European plate bound-                 progressive uplift through the Quaternary, whereas the
ary and thus is an important area for understanding the                  northwestern coast is quasi-stable. Well-preserved se-
complex effects of this active location. Much of the                     quences of marine terraces occur along these coasts
eastern coastline of Sicily is defined by a major fault                   including many assigned to the MIS 5.5 (Tyrrhenian).
system, juxtaposing crust of both continental and                        This correlation is primarily based on the distinctive
oceanic affinities. Gvirtzman and Nur (1999) attempted                    Strombus bubonius warm water molluscan fauna
to model this complex tectonic setting, which also                       (Gignoux, 1913; Issel, 1914) which now occur at
                                                                         elevations up to about +175 m (i.e. above sea level).
   ÃCorresponding author.
    E-mail address: (F. Antonioli).     Marine isotope substage (MIS) 5.5 coincides with the
                                                                         last interglacial, and its geochronology is based on

1040-6182/$ - see front matter r 2005 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA. All rights reserved.
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