Unraveling the geodynamics of the Central Mediterranean in a tank

Claudio Faccenna, and Francesca Funiciello

The geodynamic setting of the Central Mediterranean is dominated by the Tyrrhenian subduction. Here, we show how laboratory models of subduction, combined with natural data, can be used as a fundamental tool to constraint the evolution of the Central Mediterranean over the last 80 Ma. We emphasize how simple tank models can help to catch the essence of topics like 1) the initiation of the subduction process, 2) subduction dynamics and their relationships with plate kinematics, 3) the episodicity of back-arc extension, and finally 4) the role played by slab-induced mantle circulation.