Palynological studies are considered as an excellent tool for palaeoaltitude estimates as sedimentary basins receive abundant pollen grains from surrounding uplands, especially through riverine detritic inputs. Here, we provide new evidence for estimating the palaeoaltitude of the Northern and Central Apennines (Italy) during the late Neogene (from the late Tortonian to the early Zanclean), based on vegetation data derived from pollen analysis of five sections (Trave, Legnagnone, Cava Li Monti, Maccarone and Stirone). The past vegetation changes reflect shifts in the vegetation belts on the nearby massifs. The climate reconstruction realised on these sites, at sea-level, suggests that mean annual temperatures were higher than today at the end of the Neogene. Therefore, the different vegetation belts occurred at higher elevation than at present to compensate for the higher temperatures. The results obtained in our study suggest that the Northern and Central Apennines were uplifted as early as the Tortonian attaining significant minimum altitudes around 1350 m up to 1500 m at the end of the Miocene in the Central part, a minimum altitude around 1900 m during the Messinian and around 2150 m during the early Zanclean in the Northern part.
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