In this paper we demonstrated how thermo-kinematic models and organic matter maturity data can be integrated to unravel the evolution of continental rifts. In particular we apply this model to an E-W 400 km long transect that cuts across the whole Southern Alps in northern Italy (Fig. 1). This profile, published by Fantoni and Scotti (2003), provides a valuable picture of the Mesozoic passive continental margin of the Adriatic plate at the end of Lower Cretaceous time (Aptian pp.). It is largely based, in its western and central part (about 250 km extending from the Biellese area to the Trento Plateau), on the palinspastic reconstruction proposed by Bertotti et al.(1993). Further east, this profile has been extended by Fantoni and Scotti (2003) to include the Belluno Basin and the Julian Plateau (Sarti et al., 1993).


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