From CNR and INGV new evidence on Marsili explosive volcanic activity
The Marsili Seamount, located on the sea bottom between Calabria and Sicily, is still active. This was shown in a study carried out by a group of international researchers, including a number of Italian participants, and also involving, at the forefort, the Institute for Costal Marine Environment of the National Research Council (IAMC-CNR) and the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV).
The results of this study, published in the Gondwana Research journal, were achieved during a mission started in 2006 on board the oceanografic research vessel Universitatis, that provided information on the nature of this 70-km long and 30-km large underwater volcano, the largest in Europe and in the Mediterranean Sea.
Before this study, most researchers assumed that the explosive activity of the seamount had ceased near 100,000 years ago. During the mission, aimed at studying volcano products, sediments containing volcanic ashes were obtained and then analyzed by the carbon-14 dating method. These analyses, carried out on the shells of fossil organisms contained in the sediments, showed that the ashes date back to 3000 and 5000 years ago: an evidence showing that Marsili had an explosive activity also in historical time.
To monitor the actual danger of a potential new underwater volcano eruption, further studies are needed. Meanwhile, Marsili could be added to the list of active volcanoes in Italy – also including Vesuvius, Phlegrean Fields, Stromboli, Etna, Vulcano and Lipari –, as highlighted by INGV researcher Guido Ventura.
For Italy, also the “Gabriele d’Annunzio” University and the company Eurobuilding participated to the study, together with the German Leibniz University and the Spanish company Schlumberger Information Solutions.