EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Effects of rheological variations, erosion, and geotherm characteristics on tectonic setting and seismic activity in the Val d’Agri (Southern Italy)

Alessio Lavecchia1, Andrea Tallarico2, Vincenzo Serlenga3, Tony Alfredo Stabile3, Giacomo Prosser4, Marilena Filippucci2, and Stuart Clark5
Alessio Lavecchia et al.
  • 1INGV - Sezione Irpinia, Italy (
  • 2Universita degli Studi di Bari "Aldo Moro", Italy
  • 3Istituto di Metodologie per le Analisi Ambientali, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Tito Scalo (PZ), Italy
  • 4Universita’ degli Studi della Basilicata (PZ), Italy
  • 5University of New South Wales (Sydney), Australia

Over the last decades, many studies highlighted the close relationship between thermal structure, surface processes, and tectonic forces in controlling the deformation of the lithosphere. The contribution of these key factors, however, is not constant in time and may result in a complex deformation history, as already observed in many regions around the globe. In this view, the rheology of the crust is pivotal to leading regional tectonic evolution.

Among the factors that may cause remarkable strength and rheological variations in the crust, the presence of fluid phases is undoubtedly one of the most prominent. The mechanisms of rock-fluid interaction are still a debated field of research. However, it has been suggested in many studies that a major effect of fluids is enhanced seismicity of regions where they are present.

In this framework, the Val d’Agri represents a perfect example of how crustal evolution can be influenced by several factors interacting with one another. In this region, we analyze the relationships between different mechanisms in the final structural setting of the region, with implications on the natural and induced seismicity. To this aim, we built up a numerical model that integrates the combined effects of rheological stratification of the crust, inherited zones of weakness, variations in the tectonic regime, surface erosion, and fluid presence. Our results show that variation in the strength of the evaporite layer between the carbonate platform and the basement has a profound impact on the tectonic style of the Val d’Agri. The uplifting and subsidence pattern in the region follows stages of slow vertical movements to stages of very fast uplifting and denudation, due to the activation of new tectonic structures where movement is enhanced. This reflects on pressure and temperature variations in time, that follow typical yo-yo patterns observed in several tectonically active regions. The present-day configuration of the VA is also influenced by the erosion rate. More in detail, a comparison between the observed structures in the area and our model’s results with varying erosion rates suggests that the VA has been subjected to medium to fast erosion during its evolutionary history. In addition, our model predicts the presence and orientation of faults where fluid percolation or injection at high pressure can generate clusters of microseismicity.

How to cite: Lavecchia, A., Tallarico, A., Serlenga, V., Stabile, T. A., Prosser, G., Filippucci, M., and Clark, S.: Effects of rheological variations, erosion, and geotherm characteristics on tectonic setting and seismic activity in the Val d’Agri (Southern Italy), EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-1017,, 2023.