The cross section at left is parallel and the one at right is perpendicular to the direction of subduction underneath the south end of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The dotted line represents the location of the top of the Ionian slab before it decoupled from the larger plate underlying southern Italy. The decoupling not only opened up the Tyrrhenian Sea but created a passageway for viscous asthenosphere to travel to the earth's surface, explaining the voluminous eruptions of Mt. Etna and also the uplifted terrain of the Calabrian Peninsula of Southern Italy, the researchers say.
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