Geological evolution of Stromboli

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Stromboli volcano, Aeolian Islands (Isole Eolie), Sicily, Italy


geological map

Geological map of Stromboli, from Hornig-Kjarsgaard et al. (1993). Click on image to obtain large version and legend.

After the pioneering studies by Cortese & Sabatini (1892) and Bergeat (1899), the geological evolution of Stromboli has for a long time been ignored, probably because studies were concentrated on the persistent eruptive activity. The first reasonable modern geological study of the island was by Rosi (1980) who recognized four major stratigraphic units: Paleostromboli, Vancori, Neostromboli and Recent Sciara. The following is extracted from the much more detailed stratigraphy established by Hornig-Kjarsgaard et al. (1993), with additions based on recent work by Kokelaar & Romagnoli (1995) and Bertagnini & Landi (1996).

tephra layers

Traces of a violent past: this outcrop at the W coast of Stromboli cuts through scoria and lapilli fall deposits of the Scari formation (Hornig-Kjarsgaard et al. 1993). The prominent light-colored horizon is a distal tephra deposit erupted on the island of Ischia (!), between 40 and 60 ka ago.


Geologically the oldest part of the Stromboli volcanic system, the "neck" of Strombolicchio (a remnant of a volcanic conduit) rises from the sea about 1.5 km NE of Stromboli (in the background). On this photograph, taken on the early morning of 29 March 1990, a dense volcanic gas plume is being carried down to the village of Stromboli, causing a slight smell of sulfur even beyond Strombolicchio.

phreatomagmatic deposits

Beds of phreatomagmatic deposits rich in accretionary lapilli. This outcrop, photographed in September 1989, does not exist anymore since it lies on an area now in private property. Its location is between the two main fractions of Stromboli village, San Vincenzo and San Bartolo. The deposits may be correlated with violent explosive volcanism associated with the sector collapse at Stromboli that left the Sciara depression.

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