(ANSA) – ROME, MAY 26 – Sardinia is the result of the fusion of two microplates, their meeting took place between 30 and 21 million years ago. Researchers from the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology and the Roma Tre University reconstructed its history by analyzing rock samples taken in various locations in Sardinia, the results of which were published in the Tectonics magazine.
“It is known – said Fabio Speranza, Director of the Roma2 Section of Ingv – thanks to paleomagnetic data obtained in Sardinia and Corsica since the 1970s, that the Sardinian-Corso tectonic block detached 21 million years ago from the Provençal-Catalan European margin”. But by analyzing new samples it was possible to add important new details to the long history that led to the formation of the current region. In particular, the tectonic block made a rotation of 120 degrees over the course of millions of years, merging with a second plate that was further south.
“While the northern part of Sardinia was part of a single block with Corsica and Provence, the southern plate of the island belonged to the so-called Iberian plate, which decoupled from Europe between 120 and 150 million years ago,” added Gaia Siravo , researcher of Ingv. The two plates would have met and merged between them between 30 and 21 million years ago, along the so-called Nuoro fault and then – between 21 and 15 million years ago – the entire ‘new’ Sardinian-Corsa plate broke away definitively from the European edge with a counterclockwise rotation of 60 degrees and has reached its current position. “This work reminds us that even in a country like ours, where many geophysical and paleomagnetic studies have been carried out in the last 50 years, there are still many aspects to understand on the process of fragmentation and drift of microplates which has led to the current Italian tectonic structure”, concluded Siravo.
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