Monti Iblei, Sicily, Italy
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Monti Iblei , Sicily, Italy

volcano number: none (not Holocene)

summit elevation: 950 m

location: 37.734°N, 15.004°E


The Monti Iblei, also known as the Iblean (or Hyblean) Plateau, are constituted by a carbonate platform with substantial intercalations of volcanics that lies in the SE part of Sicily. Volcanism occurred intermittently from the Late Triassic through the early Pleistocene, in an environment characterized by dramatic eustatic and isostatic sea-level fluctuations and active tectonism. Eruption and deposition therefore occurred both under water and above the sea level, leading to the formation of distinctly different facies.
Chemically, the products of Iblean volcanism are both (sub-alkalic) tholeiitic and alkalic basalts. Although the occurrence of both rock types has been known for some 30 years, recent research in the Monti Iblei has shown that each was produced in distinct events that probably correlate with changes in the tectonic regime in the area. In fact, only one significant tholeiitic event has been identified with certainty; this occurred in the late Upper Pliocene and was very brief and very voluminous.
Volcanic deposits in the Monti Iblei show a great variety of submarine facies while subaerial deposits are almost entirely sheeted lava flows with rare occurrences of partially welded spatter. The diversity of submarine deposits is due to different eruptive and depositional processes both during and after eruptive events.
During the period from the late Miocene until the early Pleistocene, five periods of volcanic activity occurred in an area lying between the towns of Palagonia, Mineo, Militello and Scordia in the NW part of the Iblean Plateau. They were separated by periods of non-volcanic sedimentation and partial erosion. The analysis of both volcanics and sediments has allowed a reconstruction of the geological history of this area which was highly variable.
The web pages dedicated to the Monti Iblei are based on fieldwork for my Master's thesis and present data and photos of this poorly known volcanic area. Some of the formations are named differently here than in a recent publication by Schmincke et al. (1997), but the story and the conclusions are the same.

The Monti Iblei web pages present:
An introduction into the tectonic setting of the Iblean region
The geological evolution of the Monti Iblei
Late Miocene to early Quaternary stratigraphy
Volcanic events and deposits
Volcanics and sediments reveal the environments of the past
Volcanism and tectonic processes: a discussion of causes and effects
The volcanoes of the Monti Iblei: the ancestors of Etna?


Barberi F, Civetta L, Gasperini P, Innocenti F, Scandone R and Villari L (1974) Evolution of a section of the Africa-Europe palte boundary: paleomagnetic and volcanological evidence from Sicily. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 22: 123-132.

Battaglia M, Cristofolini R, di Girolamo P and Stanzione D (1976) Rare earth element and other trace element distrubution, and the origin of the iblean magmas. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 1: 331-346.

Behncke B (1996) Neogene to Quaternary volcanism in the area between Palagonia and Militello, Monti Iblei (Southeast Sicily). Stratigraphy, petrology and reconstruction of the environment. M.S. thesis, Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel (in German): 1-200.

Carapezza M and Morandi N (1966) Studio petrografico delle vulcaniti della Val di Noto affioranti a Nord di Vizzini (Sicilia sud-orientale). Mineralogica e Petrografica Acta 12: 125-162.

Carbone S and Lentini F (1981) Caratteri deposizionali delle vulcaniti del Miocene superiore negli Iblei (Sicilia sud-orientale). Geologica Romana 20: 70-101.

Carter SR and Civetta L (1977) Genetic implications of the isotope and tace element variations in the eastern Sicilian volcanics. Earth and Planetary Sciene Letters 36: 168-180.

Carveni P, Grasso MF, Romano R and Tricomi S (1991) Vulcanismo del margine settentrionale ibleo. Memorie della Società Geologica Italiana 47: 417-429.

Cristofolini R (1967a) Le vulcaniti plio-pleistoceniche al margine settentrionale dell'Altipiano Ibleo. Atti dell'Accademia Gioenia di Scienze Naturali in Catania VI 18: 265-270.

Cristofolini R (1967b) Osservazioni vulcanologiche sulle manifestazioni eruttive nei dintorni di Militello in Val di Catania (Altipiano Ibleo). Atti dell'Accademia Gioenia di Scienze Naturali in Catania VI 19: 110-121.

Di Grande A (1967) I sedimenti pleistocenici del margine settentrionale dell'Altipiano Ibleo. Atti dell'Accademia Gioenia di Scienze Naturali in Catania VI 18: 247-263.

Di Grande A (1969) L'alternanza neogenico-quaternaria di vulcaniti e sedimenti al margine nord-occidentale dell'Altipiano Ibleo. Atti dell'Accademia Gioenia di Scienze Naturali in Catania VII 1: 91-125.

Esperanca S, Laurenzi MA, Mazzuoli R, Trua T and Oddone M (1995) Il vulcanismo Plio-Pleistocenico dei Monti Iblei: caratterizzazione geochimica e cronologica dei magmi emessi. CNR Gruppo Nazionale per la Vulcanologia. Progetto Etna 1993-1995 Roma: 73-77.

Grasso M, Lentini F, Nairn AFM and Vigliotti L (1983) A geological and paleomagnetic study of the Hyblean volcanic rocks, Sicily. Tectonophysics 98: 271-295.

Grasso M and Ben-Avraham Z (1992) Magnetic study of the northern margin of the Hyblean Plateau, southeastern Sicily: structural implications. Annales Tectonicae 6: 202-213.

Hoernle K, Behncke B and Schmincke H-U (1996) The geochemistry of bassalts from the Iblean Hills (Sicily) and the island of Linosa (Straits of Sicily): evidence for a plume from the Lower Mantle? (Abstract) Goldschmidt Conference Heidelberg.

Honnorez J (1963) Observations sur les coulées et les centres éruptifs subaériens constituant une partie des formations volcaniques del monts Ibléi. Bulletin de la Societé Belge de Géologie et Paléontologie etc 71: 297-316.

Lentini F, Carbone S, Grasso M, di Geronimo I, Scamarda G, Bommarito S, Iozzia S, la Rosa N and Sciuto F (1984) Carta geologica della Sicilia sud-orientale 1:100,000. SELCA Firenze.

Longaretti G, Rocchi S and Ferrari L (1991) Il magmatismo dell'avampaese ibleo (Sicilia orientale) tra il Trias e il Quaternario: dati di sottosuolo della Piana di Catania dal Pleistocene al Miocene medio. Memorie della Società Geologica ITaliana 47: 537-555.

Pedley M and Grasso M (1991) Sea-level changes around the margin of the Catania-Gela trough and Hyblean Plateau, southeast Sicily (African-European plate convergence zone): a problem of Plio-Quaternary plate buoyancy? Special Publications of the International Association of Sedimentology 12: 541-464.

Rittmann A (1958) Il meccanismo di formazione delle lave a pillows e dei cosidetti tufi palagonitici. Bollettino dell'Accademia Gioenia di Scienze Naturali in Catania IV, 4: 311-318.

Rittmann A (1973) Lave a pillows ed ialoclastiti. Rendiconti della Società Italiana di Mineralogia e Petrologia 29: 397-412.

Romano R and Villari L (1973) Caratteri petrologici e magmatologici del vulcanismo ibleo. Rendiconti della Società Italiana di Mineralogia e Petrologia 29: 453-484.

Sartorius von Waltershausen W (1845) Über die submarinen vulkanischen Ausbrüche in der Tertiär-Formation des Val di Noto im Verglaich mit verwandten Erscheinungen am Ätna. Göttinger Studien Abteilung A 1: 371-431.

Schmincke H-U, Behncke B, Grasso M and Raffi S (1997) Evolution of the northwestern Iblean Mountains, Sicily: uplift, Pliocene/Pleistocene sea-level changes, paleoenvironment, and volcanism. Geologische Rundschau 86: 637-669.

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