We analyzed the structure and evolution of the external Calabrian Arc (CA) subduction complex through an integrated geophysical approach involving multichannel and single-channel seismic data at different scales. Pre-stack depth migrated crustal-scale seismic profiles have been used to reconstruct the overall geometry of the subduction complex, i.e., depth of the basal detachment, geometry and structural style of different tectonic domains, and location and geometry of major faults. High-resolution multichannel seismic (MCS) and sub-bottom CHIRP profiles acquired in key areas during a recent cruise, as well as multibeam data, integrate deep data and constrain the fine structure of the accretionary wedge as well as the activity of individual fault strands. We identified four main morpho-structural domains in the subduction complex: 1) the post-Messinian accretionary wedge; 2) a slope terrace; 3) the pre-Messinian accretionary wedge and 4) the inner plateau. Variation of structural style and seafloor morphology in these domains are related to different tectonic processes, such as frontal accretion, out-of-sequence thrusting, underplating and complex faulting. The CA subduction complex is segmented longitudinally into two different lobes characterized by different structural style, deformation rates and basal detachment depths. They are delimited by a NW/SE deformation zone that accommodates differential movements of the Calabrian and the Peloritan portions of CA and represent a recent phase of plate re-organization in the central Mediterranean. Although shallow thrust-type seismicity along the CA is lacking, we identified active deformation of the shallowest sedimentary units at the wedge front and in the inner portions of the subduction complex. This implies that subduction could be active but aseismic or with a locked fault plane. On the other hand, if underthrusting of the African plate has stopped recently, active shortening may be accommodated through more distributed deformation. Our findings have consequences on seismic hazard, since we identified tectonic structures likely to have caused large earthquakes in the past and to be the source regions for future events.
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