In order to reconstruct the thermal history, organic matter maturity data were obtained from samples collected from sedimentary units outcropping in the Southern Alps. Resulting heat flow values are quite high and relatively uniform in the whole of the Southern Alps during Norian-Liassic; it progressively decreased after the Bathonian to reach values similar to the present ones at the end of the Cretaceous. This reconstruction is consistent with the known tectonic evolution of the Mesozoic extension in the Southern Alps, characterised by a rifting stage up to the Lias followed by a drifting stage from the Middle Jurassic. This kind of thermal regime evolution has strong implications for hydrocarbon exploration in the Po Plain.


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