Special Issue "Tectonics and Morphology of Back-Arc Basins"

A special issue of Geosciences (ISSN 2076-3263). This special issue belongs to the section "Structural Geology and Tectonics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 25 December 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Maria Filomena Loreto
Guest Editor
Institute of Marine Sciences ISMAR, Italian National Research Council, Roma 00185, Italy
Interests: Geodynamics; Structural Geology; Marine Geology and Geophysics; Geo-Hazard; Extensional and Compressive tectonics
Dr. Camilla Palmiotto
Guest Editor
Institute of Marine Sciences ISMAR, Italian National Research Council, Roma 00185, Italy
Interests: Mid-Ocean Ridges; Oceanic Transform Faults; Geodynamics; Marine Geology; Geo-Hazard; Geomorphology
Dr. Paraskevi Nomikou
Guest Editor
Faculty of Geology and Geo-Environment, University of Athens, Athens 157 72, Greece
Interests: Geodynamics; Marine Geology; Geo-Hazard; volcanic hazard; Geomorphology
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Manel Prada
Guest Editor
Barcelona Center for Subsurface Imaging (BCSI), Institut de Ciències del Mar (CSIC), 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Interests: Tectonics, Marine Geophisics, Seismic Tomography, Seismic Refraction, Sedimentary Basins

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Back-arc basins open in response to extensional processes of the overriding plate, which in turn is controlled by the subduction of oceanic lithosphere. These systems are usually controlled at wide-scale by plates convergence, as for the cases of the Mediterranean basins, differently from what happen for the two basins in the Atlantic belonging to the Scotia and Caribbean systems. Generally opening starts as symmetric extension, controlled by pure shear system characterized by a series of horsts and grabens bounded by normal faults or listric faults, and evolves as asymmetric controlled by simple shear system generating a series of half grabens and ridges bounded by more complex faults systems. At regional scale, highly evolved basins shown an irregular shape and coexistence of normal, inverse and transcurrent faults. Tectonics strongly influence the morphology of the seafloor, distribution of small sedimentary basins or sub-basins, and it is also one of the main factors able to modify canyons and channel systems connecting the subaerial hydrographic network with abyssal plans. Analysis of the inherited morphology and of the tectonics can help to understand processes at crustal scale that controlled the opening and evolution of back-arc basins, improving knowledge on plates geodynamics.

Dr. Maria Filomena Loreto
Dr. Camilla Palmiotto
Ass. Prof. Paraskevi Nomikou
Dr. Manel Prada
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Geosciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Back-arc basin
  • Morphology
  • Tectonics
  • Pure shear
  • Simple shear
  • Canyon
  • Geodynamics
  • Inverse faults
  • Listric / Normal faults
  • Transcurrent faults

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission, see below for planned papers.

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Discovery of Ancient Volcanoes in the Sea of Okhotsk (Russia): New Constraints on the Opening History of the Kurile Back-Arc Basin

Werner, R. et al.

Abstract: Here we present the first radiometric age and geochemical data (including major and trace element and Sr-Nd-Pb isotope ratios) for samples from the Hydrographer Ridge, a back arc volcano of the Kurile Island Arc, and a newly discovered chain of volcanoes («Sonne Chain») on the northwestern continental slope of the Kurile Basin on the opposite side of the arc. The 40Ar/39Ar age and geochemical data show that Hydrographer Ridge (3.2 Ma) and the “Sonne Chain” volcanoes (25.3 – 25.9 Ma) have very similar trace element and isotope characteristics to those of the Kurile Island Arc, indicating  derivation from a common magma source. We conclude that he age of the “Sonne Chain” marks the time of opening of the Kurile Basin, implying rather slow spreading rates of 1.3 – 1.8 cm/yr. Combined with recently published data from the Kurile fore arc, our data suggest that the processes of subduction, Kurile Basin opening and frontal arc extension occured synchronously and that extension in the rear part and in the frontal part of the Kurile Island Arc must have been triggered by the same mechanism.


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