Physics of volcanism - Dynamic of volcanic intrusions

Studies in Physics of Volcanism are mainly oriented to understand the dynamics of magma ascent, based on different observables such as ground deformation, gravity changes and seismic activity, that provide information on the depth of the intrusion, the stress field and the volumes of magma involved through inversion techniques. These studies have important implications for asserting the risk of volcanic eruptions. The studies of this research group, carried out in collaboration with researchers from INGV, are primarily focused on the area of Campi Flegrei. This area was repeatedly affected by several phenomena of unrest in historic time: in particular the area is presently experiencing a new phase of deformation, accompanied by seismicity and by changes in physical and chemical parameters of gas emitted from the soil. The data of radar interferometry (from COSMO-Skymed satellites) made it possible to detect the vertical and horizontal components of the strain field on a dense grid of points on the ground, and show uplift rate ~ 10 cm / year in the center of the caldera. A very accurate inversion model, taking into account the three-dimensional structure of the region, shows that an inclined dyke at about 5 km depth is responsible for the deformation pattern. This source is almost coinciding with the source of bradyseism observed in the 80s. The presence of a major component of "shear" dislocation indicates that the source is extending to affect previously unfractured rocks undergoing large Temperature and pore pressure changes with obvious implications for the increased hazard of a possible forthcoming eruption.


RFO (University of Bologna)

ERC Sectors

  • PE10_5 Geology, tectonics, volcanology
  • PE10_7 Physics of earth's interior, seismology, volcanology
  • PE10_15 Earth observations from space/remote sensing

Group coordinator

Maria Elina Belardinelli

Associate Professor

Group members

Massimo Nespoli

Research fellow

Other members


  • INGV, Italy
  • GFZ The Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences
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