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Continental Rifting and Volcanism in the Western Sicilian Channel


Understanding the mechanisms of continental rifting is fundamental to the study of plate tectonics. CoRVoS will investigate the relationship between tectonic processes, and magmatism in the Sicilian Channel Rift Zone (SCRZ). Although our understanding of active, plume-associated rifting has been advanced recently, the SCRZ is characterised by passive rifting. A comprehensive regional model detailing how volcanism has developed in this region is lacking, and would generate further understanding regarding to what extent passive rifting is accommodated by magmatism. There are a lack of interdisciplinary studies investigating both the structure and geochemistry of such regions, which is crucial in devising a robust model. CoRVoS proposes to use a unique catalogue of volcanic samples from 22 submarine volcanoes in conjunction with high-resolution bathymetry and structural data, which will be collected as part of a funded research cruise. Whole-rock, mineral, and melt chemistry, thermobarometric models, and textural studies of the volcanic products will allow for the determination of the crustal evolution of magmas. This data will be compared across areas of the rift zone with differing tectonic processes, determined using high-resolution bathymetric data. 40Ar/39Ar geochronology will determine of the age of volcanism, allowing for temporal analysis of magmatic processes. The volcanic activity in this area includes historical submarine eruptions, and four new volcanic edifices were recently discovered off the coast of Southwest Sicily. The hazard associated with these volcanoes, and any tsunamis they may generate, to the densely populated coastal areas of Sicily, the shipping industry and seafloor infrastructure, is currently poorly quantified. CoRVoS aims to assess this risk using the type, extent, and age of volcanic activity to investigate whether these sites are active, how recent the activity was, whether the activity was explosive and how much material was ejected.


Net EU contribution
€ 161 411,52
Tal Oroqq
2080 Msida

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Malta Malta Malta
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Non-EU contribution
No data