200 volcanic chimneys discovered on Panarea seabed
200 volcanic chimneys have been recently discovered between the volcanic island of Panarea and the islet of Basiluzzo, in the Aeolian archipelago: they form a hydrothermal site called Smoking land. The investigation of the site, published in Plos One, will allow to acquire new and important data on the geochemical and biochemical features of superficial hydrothermal systems of the Mediterranean Sea.
The study, entitled Exceptional discovery of a shallow-water hydrothermal site in the SW area of Basiluzzo islet (Aeolian Archipelago, South Tyrrhenian Sea: an environment to preserve), was carried out by the Institute of Marine Sciences of the National Research Council - ISMAR-CNR, ISPRA and INGV, in collaboration with Italian Navy, Universities of Messina and Genoa and the Institute for Costal Sea Environment - IAMC-CNR.
"Smoking Land", said Federico Spagnoli, ISMAR-CNR researcher, "consists of tens of cone-shaped structures, mainly made of iron oxides, with variable height, ranging from 1 to 4 m, and a base of about 3.8 m in diameter. Some of these craters emit acid fluids, rich in gases, mainly carbon dioxide".
The discovery is the result of an intuition by Giovanni Bortoluzzi, an ISMAR-CNR oceanographist who has recently passed away, following INGV investigations aimed at understanding the nature of the exhalative activity observed in the Panarea islet area since November 2002.
At that time, a number of oceanographic campaigns started on board Ispra ship Astrea and CNR ship Urania and Italian Navy ships, to study the area involved as well as to identify other areas of degasification also with a wire-guided robot that takes high-resolution pictures of the seabed, unequaled in the Mediterranean.