Behncke (2000) Paleocoastlines in volcanic facies and karst phenomena, Hyblean Plateau (SE Sicily)

Italy's Volcanoes: The Cradle of Volcanology

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Boris Behncke (2000)
Palaeocoastlines captured in volcanic facies: An approach to dating of
karst phenomena of the Hyblean Plateau, SE Sicily
Speleologia Iblea, volume 8, pages 37-42
(Atti del I Seminario di Studi sul Carsismo negli Iblei e nell'Area sud Mediterranea,
Eremo della Giubiliana, Ragusa 9-11 April 1999)


Facies changes in volcanic deposits, especially when recording transitions from submarine to subaerial deposition and vice versa, are among the best indicators of palaeocoastlines and palaeoenvironmental changes, and thus may yield crucial information about palaeoaquifers leading to kars formation. Multiple eruptive events occurred on the Hyblean Plateau in SE Sicily during the late Pliocene and early Pleistocene in a shallow marine to subaerial environment, before the area became submerged and was covered by a thick sequence of marine carbonate sediments. At least two volcanic events are known during which deposition was at least partially subaerial, one in the late Pliocene and the other in the early Pleistocene. Subaerial deposition may have occurred thanks to three distinct processes: (1) growth of volcanic edifices above the sea level, (2) isostatic regional uplift, and (3) eustatic lowering of the sea level. While the first of these processes is not relevant for the study of karst phenomena, the other two processes point to conditions during the periods of emergence which may have allowed karst erosion. Tracing the palaeoclastlines in the volcanics of those periods, it is possible to outline the areas which were possibly the sites of karstic processes.

Keywords: Volcanism - Hyblean Plateau - Karst phenomena - Volcanic facies - Emergence - Isostasy/Eustacy


Copyright © Boris Behncke, "Italy's Volcanoes: The Cradle of Volcanology"

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