Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research

National Program of Research in Antarctica (PNRA)

Origin and dispersal of volcanic ash in the Austral Hemisphere: a database for the volcanology, chronostratigraphy and paleoclimate of the Earth system

Courtesy of S. Rocchi – PNRA

Ash layers in the Antarctic ice offer a hemispheric-scale record of the explosive volcanic activity as well as implications on atmospheric circulation and hence on paleoclimate. However, tephra/ashes can be used as chronostratigraphic markers and tracers of atmospheric paths only if their provenance is well constrained. Therefore, the morphoscopic, compositional and chronological features of ash layers have to be compared to a complete record of potential sources (volcanoes) with known volcanological, petrochemical and geochronological parameters. Such an investigation needs a comprehesive database including all the volcanoes active during the Holocene-late Pleistocene time span in the Austral Hemisphere. Such a database is not yet available, and among those set up by the research institutions no one is specifically designed for this function. This project is designed to set up a specific database integrating available data and new data on available samples as well as on ash layers collected on purpose in Patagonia-Tierra del Fuego. The database will straightforward as for data upload, user-friendly and with open access for the whole scientific community on Google Earth platform.

– Prof Sergio Rocchi, Associate Professor, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Pisa, Italy, Member of the Academic Senate. He will be working in the field in Patagonia, collecting samples which he will analyse in the laboratory, through petrographic and geochemical methods.
– Prof Alessandro Tibaldi, Associate Professor, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Milan Bicocca, Milan, Italy. He is an expert on geology and structural geology of active and ancient volcanoes. He will be working on the geological/geomorphological characterisation of the areas of ash sampling in Patagonia.
– Dr Paola Del Carlo, Researcher, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Pisa, Italy. She will participate in the stratigraphic reconstruction of volcanic sequences and in the sampling of volcanic deposits, with special reference to the characterisation of physical volcanological parameter.