Evidences of a contractional pattern along the northern rim of the Hyblean Plateau (Sicily, Italy) from GPS data


  • M. MATTIA Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Sezione di Catania. Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy.
  • V. BRUNO Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Sezione di Catania. Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy.
  • F. CANNAVÒ Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Sezione di Catania. Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy.
  • M. PALANO Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Sezione di Catania. Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy.




Hyblean Plateau, GPS, Active tectonics, Deformation, Geodynamic


In this paper we present the main results inferred from GPS data collected between 1998.00 and 2009.78 along the northern rim of the Hyblean Plateau from 9 continuous and 23 survey-mode sites. From a geological point of view, this area is of great interest because 1) it represents an important piece of the collision front between Nubia and Eurasia 2) it is very close to the biggest European volcano Mount Etna and 3) it has been hit by strong earthquakes in the past (1169 and 1693) that struggled the cities of Catania, Siracusa and Ragusa provoking tens of thousands of casualties. We have found that the ground deformation pattern clearly defines an area of prevailing contraction along the northern rim of the Hyblean Plateau with a maximum negative strain-rate of about 0.14µstrain/yr in agreement with both geological and Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) data. In addition, a transition to extensional regime is acting toward the central sector of the plateau. The velocity field referred to the Eurasian frame indicates that a large part of the plateau is dominated by a 5.4mm/yr northward motion.


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