Italy's Volcanoes: The Cradle of Volcanology

Monte Cimino volcano

 
Geology References Web sites

Colli Albani

Distant view of the Colli Albani, one early morning in March 1992, from approximately west. The tallest peak in the center of the image is Monte Cavo (949 m), a late Pleistocene scoria cone sitting on the rim of the Faete caldera, the younger and smaller of the two calderas of the Colli Albani volcanic complex

Monte Cimino volcano, Latium, Italy

volcano number: none (older than Holocene in age)

summit elevation: 949 m

location: XX.XXN, XX.XXE

 

Introduction

 

Monte Cimino, a Pleistocene lava dome complex near the town of Viterbo (north of Roma), seen from the village of Vitorchiano, 4 March 1994. This volcanic complex produced a voluminous ignimbrite sheet locally known as "Peperino", a very hard material well suitable for building.

Monte Cimino is the oldest of the volcanoes featured here, having been active from 1.35 to 0.8 Ma ago. Its activity was characterized by the uprise of felsic viscous rhyolitic to trachydacitic magmas along regional fissures leading to the formation of numerous lava domes. Growth of many of these domes was accompanied by violent explosive activity and probably, by collapse and avalanching from the domes, both of which generated glowing avalanches, such as to produce a vast ignimbrite plateau, or apron, around the Cimino dome complex.

All in all, more than 50 lava domes are still recognizable in the Cimino area, and many more are supposed to lie buried below younger domes and their pyroclastic flow aprons or have been annihilated by final explosions. The domes still present give the Cimino area its characteristic hilly morphology (well visible in the photo below).

During the final phase of Cimino activity much more fluid latite to olivine latite lavas were emitted from eruptive centers in the higher part of the complex, forming flows up to 10 km long, mainly to NW, N, and NE.

View from the northern outskirts of Viterbo over the city towards the volcanic complex of Monte Cimino, 5 March 1994. Part of the large edifice of the Vico caldera volcano is visible to the right.

References

Amato A, Chiarabba C (1995) Recent uplift of the Alban Hills Volcano (Italy): evidence for magmatic inflation? Geophysical Research Letters 22: 1985-1988

Amato A, Chiarabba C, Cocco M, Di Bona M, Selvaggi G (1994) The 1989-1990 seismic swarm in the Alban Hills volcanic area, central Italy. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 61: 225-237

Annunziatellis A, Ciotoli G, Lombardi S, Nolasco F (2003) Short- and long-term gas hazard: the release of toxic gases in the Alban Hills volcanic area (central Italy). Journal of Geochemical Exploration 77: 93-108

Anzidei M, Baldi P, Casula G, Galvani A, Riguzzi F, Zanutta A (1998) Evidence of active crustal deformation of the Colli Albani volcanic area (central Italy) by GPS surveys. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 80: 55-65

Beaubien SE, Ciotoli G, Lombardi S (2003) Carbon dioxide and radon gas hazard in the Alban Hills area (central Italy). Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 123: 63-80

Carapezza ML, Badalamenti B, Cavara L, Scalzo A (2003) Gas hazard assessment in a densely inhabited area of Colli Albani Volcano (Cava dei Selci, Roma). Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 123: 81-94

Chiarabba C, Amato A, Delaney PT (1997) Crustal structure, evolution, and volcanic unrest of the Alban Hills, Central Italy. Bulletin of Volcanology 59: 161-170

Chiodini G, Frondini F (2001) Carbon dioxide degassing from the Alban Hills volcanic region, Central Italy. Chemical Geology 177: 67-83

De Rita D, Funiciello R, Parotto M (1988) Carta Geologica del Complesso vulcanico dei Colli Albani (Geological map of the Colli Albani volcanic complex), scale 1:50,000, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche

De Rita D, Funiciello R, Rosa C (1992) Volcanic activity and drainage network evolution of the Alban Hills area (Rome, Italy). Acta Vulcanologica 2: 185-198

De Rita D, Giordano G, Esposito A, Fabbri M, Rodani S (2002) Large volume phreatomagmatic ignimbrites from the Colli Albani volcano (Middle Pleistocene, Italy). Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 118: 77-98

Fornaseri M, Scherillo A, Ventriglia U (1963) La regione vulcanica dei Colli Albani (Vulcano Laziale). Consiglio Nazioale delle Ricerche Roma, 550 pages

Funiciello R, Giordano G, De Rita D, Carapezza ML, Barberi F (2002) L'attività recente del cratere del Lago Algano di Castelgandolfo. Rendiconti dell'Accademia dei Lincei (Scienze Fisiche e Naturali) ser. 9, 13: 113-143

Funiciello R, Giordano G, De Rita D (2003) The Albano maar lake (Colli Albani Volcano, Italy): recent volcanic activity and evidence of pre-Roman Age catastrophic lahar events. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 123: 43-61

Giordano G, De Rita D, Cas RAF (2002a) Valley pond and ignimbrite veneer deposits in the small-volume phreatomagmatic 'Peperino Albano' basic ignimbrite, Lago Albano maar, Colli Albani volcano, Italy: influence of topography. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 107: 131-144

Giordano G, De Rita D, Fabbri M, Rodani S (2002b) Facies associations of rain-generated versus crater lake-withdrawal lahar deposits from Quaternary volcanoes, central Italy. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 118: 145-159

Karner DB, Marra F, Renne PR (2001a) The history of the Monti Sabatini and Alban Hills volcanoes: groundwork for assessing volcanic-tectonic hazards for Rome. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 107: 185-219

Karner DB, Marra F, Florindo F, Boschi E (2001b) Pulsed uplift estimated from terrace elevations in the coast of Rome: evidence for a new phase of volcanic activity? Earth and Planetary Science Letters 188: 135-148

Marra F, Freda C, Scarlato P, Taddeucci J, Karner DB, Renne PR, Gaeta M, Palladino DM, Trigila R, Cavarretta G (2003) Post-caldera activity in the Albani Hills volcanic district (Italy): 4040Ar/39Ar geochronology and insights into magma evolution. Bulletin of Volcanology 65: 227-247, DOI: 10.1007/s00445-002-0255-9

Palladino DM, Gaeta M, Marra F (2001) A large K-foiditic hydromagmatic eruption from the early activity of the Alban Hills Volcanic District, Italy. Bulletin of Volcanology 63: 345-359, DOI: 10.1007/s004450100150

Porreca M, Mattei M, Giordano G, De Rita D, Funiciello R (2003) Magnetic fabric and implications for pyroclastic flow and lahar emplacement, Albano maar, Italy. Journal of Geophysical Research 108, DOI 10.1029/2002JB002102

Trigila R (editor) (1995) The volcano of the Alban Hills. Tipografia SGS, Rome, 283 pages

Villa IM, Calanchi N, Dinelli E, Lucchini F (1999) Age and evolution of the Albano crater lake (Roman Volcanic Province). Acta Vulcanologica 11: 305-310

Web sites

The GPS network maintained by the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV) at the Colli Albani (in Italian)

Some information (in English) on the seismicity and deformation of the Colli Albani, by the Rome section of the INGV

An Italian web site describing the lakes of the Latium region (many of them filling volcanic depressions such as explosion craters and calderas) has information and photos of Albano Lake and Lake Nemi

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

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