Periadriatic Seam

The Periadriatic Seam (or fault) is a distinct geologic fault in Southern Europe, running S-shaped about 1000 km from the Tyrrhenian Sea through the whole Southern Alps as far as Hungary. It forms the division between the Adriatic plate and the European plate.[1] The term Insubric line is sometimes used to address the whole Periadriatic Seam, but it is more commonly used to mean just a western part of it.

Geology of the Alps
Tectonic subdivision

Helvetic Zone

Penninic nappes
Austroalpine nappes
Southern Alps
Formations & rocks

Bündner schist | flysch | molasse

Geological structures

Aarmassif | Dent Blanche klippe | Engadine window | Flysch zone | Giudicárie line | Greywacke zone | Hohe Tauern window | Molasse basin | Penninic thrustfront | Periadriatic Seam | Ivrea zone | Lepontin dome | Rechnitz window | Rhône-Simplon line | Sesia unit

Paleogeographic terminology

Valais Ocean

Briançonnais zone
Piemont-Liguria Ocean
Apulian or Adriatic plate

Tectonics and geology

Within the Eastern Alps, the line marks the border between the Central Eastern Alps and the Southern Limestone Alps. In the Western Alps it forms the division between the southern Apulian foreland and the central crystalline zones of the Alps.

Continental collision is still going on, with the Apulian and European plates still converging. The central zones of the Alps are rising too, causing vertical slip along the fault. The result is the set of major fault zones collectively named Periadriatic Seam. Movement along the Periadriatic Seam is the cause for the earthquake zone between Vienna and Friuli. The last destructive earthquake happened in Friuli at the end of the 20th century.

The uplift caused violent erosion of the young orogen, which led to the formation of the Hohe Tauern window. At several regions a heavy uplift of the Central Alps by some kilometers took place, and also a shift of more than 50 km.

Geographic position and names

From east to west, the course of the Periadriatic Seam and the names given to it regionally are as follows:

See also

  • Adriatic Plate, also known as Apulian Plate  A small tectonic plate in the Mediterranean
  • Geology of the Alps  The formation and structure of the European Alps


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