The Volcanology Research Group at Catania

Our past and present research projects


PRIN 2005 (National Interest Research Projects) - Magma ascent and dynamic of eruptions. National Coordinator: R. Scandone (Università di Roma 3); Coordinator of the Local Unit: R. Cristofolini (Università di Catania).


INGV – DPC Projects 2005-2006 (National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology – Department for Civil Defence) - Researches on active volcanoes, precursors, scenarios, hazard and risk, sub-project V3_6 Etna: Plumbing system and structure of the volcano from the lithosphere to the surface. Coordinator: R. Cristofolini (Università di Catania).


Projects of the Università di Catania 2005-2006 - The recent Etnean eruptive manifestations in the picture of the volcanism in the area. Coordinator: R. Cristofolini (Università di Catania).


Projects of the Università di Catania 2007 - Differentiation processes and characteristics of the Etnean magma sources in relation to the ascent mechanisms and eruptive styles. Coordinator: R. Cristofolini (Università di Catania).


INGV – DPC Projects 2007-2009 (National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology – Department for Civil Defence) - Project V3_LAVA, Realization of the lava flow invasion hazard map at Mt. Etna and methods for its dynamic update, sub-project V3_02: Vent opening probability map. Coordinator: S. Gresta (Università di Catania).


Projects of the Università di Catania 2008-2011 - Characteristics of the source and evolutionary processes of the Etna magmas. Coordinator: M. Viccaro (Università di Catania).


PRIN 2009 (National Interest Research Projects) - Comparing continental and oceanic divergent plate boundaries: examples form Ethiopia and Iceland. National Coordinator: V. Acocella (Università di Roma 3); Coordinator of the Local Unit: Prof. R. De Rosa (Università della Calabria).

INGV – DPC Projects 2012 (National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology – Department for Civil Defence) - Project V3_LAVA, Multi-disciplinary analysis of relationships between tectonics and volcanic activity, Task 3 - Interactions between the Vulcano-Lipari volcanic system and regional tectonic structures. Coordinator: R. De Rosa (Università della Calabria).


Projects of the Università di Catania 2012 - Dynamics of ascent and eruption of basic magmas constrained on the basis of textural and compositional developments in phenocrysts. Coordinator: M. Viccaro (Università di Catania).


INGV – DPC Projects 2014-2015 (National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology – Department for Civil Defence) - Project V_3: Multi-disciplinary analysis of the relationships between tectonic structures and volcanic activity; Task 3: Relationships between regional tectonic structures and the Vulcano-Lipari system; WP11: Relationships between tectonic features and volcanic activity in the southern sector of the Aeolian Arc”. Coordinator: R. De Rosa (Università della Calabria).


FIR 2014 (Peer-reviewed projects of the Università di Catania) - Dynamics of evolution, ascent and emplacement of basic magmas: case studies from the eruptive manifestations of Eastern Sicily. Coordinator: M. Viccaro (Università di Catania).


Projects of the University of Catania (Triennial Research Plan 2016-18) - Magma ascent in basic volcanic systems: definition of the chemical, physical and kinetics parameters for the development of energetic eruptions” (first year). Coordinator: M. Viccaro (Università di Catania).


Project “REUCET - Recovering and using of Etnean volcanic ashes” (granted by Ministero dell’Ambiente e della Tutela del Territorio e del Mare), aimed at developing new technologies for the recovering, recycling, and treatment of wastes not included in categories already covered by a consortium of production chain, at the product ecodesign and the right management of the related wastes (24 months), Coordinator: P. Roccaro (DICAR, Università di Catania), RU responsible: M. Viccaro (DSBGA, Università di Catania).


Projects of the University of Catania (Triennial Research Plan 2016-18) - “Magma ascent in basic volcanic systems: definition of the chemical, physical and kinetics parameters for the development of energetic eruptions” (second year). Coordinator: M. Viccaro (Università di Catania).

Our recent publications in international journals



Viccaro M., Cannata A., Cannavò F., De Rosa R., Giuffrida M., Nicotra E., Petrelli M., Sacco G. (2020). Shallow conduit dynamics fuel the unexpected paroxysms of Stromboli volcano during the summer 2019. Scientific Reports, 11, 266, doi:10.1038/s41598-020-79558-7.

Floridia G., Blandini F., Iuculano S., Belfiore G.M., Viccaro M. (2021). Innovative solutions for improving the heat exchange in closed-loop shallow geothermal systems. Energies, 14 (1), 108, doi:10.3390/en14010108.



Borzì A.M., Giuffrida M., Zuccarello F., Palano M., Viccaro M. (2020). The Christmas 2018 eruption at Mt. Etna: enlightening how the volcano factory works through a multi-parametric inspection. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 21,e2020GC009226, doi:10.1029/2020GC009226.

Nádudvari A., Maniscalco R., Abramowicz A., Viccaro M. (2020). The estimation of lava flow temperatures using Landsat night-time images: case studies from eruptions of Mt. Etna and Stromboli (Sicily, Italy), Kīlauea (Hawaii Island), Eyjafjallajökull and Holuhraun (Iceland). Remote Sensing, 12, 2537, doi:10.3390/rs12162537.

Belfiore C.M., Amato C., Pezzino A., Viccaro M. (2020). An end of waste alternative for volcanic ash: a resource in the manufacture of ceramic tiles. Construction and Building Materials, 263, 120118, doi:10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2020.120118.

Giuffrida M., Nicotra E., Viccaro M. (2020). Changing modes and rates of mafic magma supply at Pantelleria (Sicily Channel, Southern Italy): new perspectives on the volcano factory drawn upon olivine records. Journal of Petrology, 61 (5), egaa051, doi:10.1093/petrology/egaa051.



Floridia G., Viccaro M. (2019). Geological field investigation for the assessment of the low-grade geothermal resources from volcanic terrains of the Island of Salina (Aeolian Islands, Italy). IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science, 367, 012007, doi:10.1088/1755-1315/367/1/012007.

Panzera F., D'Amico S., Colica E., Viccaro M. (2019). Ambient vibration measurements to support morphometric analysis of a pyroclastic cone. Bulletin of Volcanology, 81, article number 74, doi:10.1007/s0044-019-5-1338-1.

Cintorrino A.A., Palano M., Viccaro M. (2019). Magmatic and tectonic sources at Vulcano (Aeolian Islands, Southern Italy): a geodetic model based on two decades of GPS observations. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 388, article 106689, doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2019.106689.

Viccaro M., Giuffrida M., Zuccarello F., Scandura M., Palano M., Gresta S. (2019). Violent paroxysmal activity drives self-feeding magma replenishment at Mt. Etna. Scientific Reports, 9, 6717, doi:10.1038/s41598-019-43211-9.



Nicotra E., Giuffrida M., Viccaro M., Donato P., D'Oriano C., Paonita A., De Rosa R. (2018). Timescales of pre-eruptive magmatic processes at Vulcano (Aeolian Islands, Italy) during the last 1000 years. Lithos, 316-317, 347-365, doi:10.1016/j.lithos.2018.07.028.

Viccaro M. (2018). Doped bentonitic grouts for implementing performances low-enthalpy geothermal systems. Geothermal Energy, 6, article number 4, doi:10.1186/s40517-018-0090-7.

Cannata A., Di Grazia G., Giuffrida M., Gresta S., Palano M., Sciotto M., Viccaro M., Zuccarello F. (2018). Space-time evolution of magma storage and transfer at Mt. Etna volcano (Italy): the 2015-2016 re-awakening of Voragine crater. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 19 (2), 471-495, doi:10.1002/2017GC007296.

Giuffrida M., Viccaro M., Ottolini L. (2018). Ultrafast syn-eruptive degassing and ascent trigger high-energy basic eruptions. Scientific Reports, 8, article number 147, doi:10.1038/s41598-017-18580-8.



Giuffrida M., Holtz F., Vetere F.P., Viccaro M. (2017). Effects of CO2 flushing on crystal textures and compositions: experimental evidence from recent K-trachybasalts erupted at Mt. Etna. Contribution to Mineralogy and Petrology, 172, article 90, doi:10.1007/s00410-017-1408-3.

Palano M., Viccaro M., Zuccarello F., Gresta S. (2017). Magma transport and storage at Mt. Etna (Italy): a review of geodetic and petrological data for the 2002-03, 2004 and 2006 eruptions. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 347, 149-164, doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2017.09.009.

Giuffrida M., Viccaro M. (2017). Three years (2011-2013) of eruptive activity at Mt. Etna: working modes and timescales of the modern volcano plumbing system from micro-analytical studies of crystals. Earth-Science Reviews, 171, 289-322, doi:10.1016/j.earscirev.2017.06.003.

Viccaro M., Zuccarello F. (2017). Mantle ingredients for making the fingerprint of Etna alkaline magmas: implications for shallow partial melting within the complex geodynamic framework of Eastern Sicily. Journal of Geodynamics, 109, 10-23, doi:10.1016/j.jog.2017.06.022.

Lauro S., Mattei E., Cosciotti B., Di Paolo F., Arcone S.A., Viccaro M., Pettinelli E. (2017). EM signal penetration in a planetary soil simulant: estimated attenuation rates using GPR and TDR in volcanic deposits on Mount Etna. Journal of Geophysical Research - Planets, 122, 1392-1404, doi:10.1002/2016JE005192. 

Kahl M., Viccaro M., Ubide T., Morgan D., Dingwell D. (2017). A branched magma feeder system during the 1669 eruption of Mt. Etna: evidence from a time-integrated study of zoned olivine phenocryst populations. Journal of Petrology, 58 (3), 443-472, doi:10.1093/petrology/egx022.

Vona A., Di Piazza A., Nicotra E., Romano C., Viccaro M., Giordano G. (2017). The complex rheology of megacryst-rich magmas: the case of the mugearitic "cicirara" lavas of Mt. Etna volcano. Chemical Geology, 458, 48-67, doi:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2017.03.029.



Viccaro M., Zuccarello F., Cannata A., Palano M., Gresta S. (2016). How a complex basaltic volcanic system works: constraints from integrating seismic, geodetic and petrological data at Mt. Etna volcano during the July-August 2014 eruption. Journal of Geophysical Research - Solid Earth, 121, 5659-5678, doi:10.1002/2016JB013164.

Viccaro M., Barca D., Bohrson W.A., D'Oriano C., Giuffrida M., Nicotra E., Pitcher B.W. (2016). Crystal residence times from trace element zoning in plagioclase reveal changes in magma transfer dynamics at Mt. Etna during the last 400 years. Lithos, 248-251, 309-323, doi:10.1016/j.lithos.2016.02.004.

Mandarano M., Paonita A., Martelli M., Viccaro M., Nicotra E., Millar I.L. (2016). Revealing magma degassing below closed-conduit active volcanoes: geochemical features of volcanic rocks versus fumarolic fluids at Vulcano (Aeolian Islands, Italy). Lithos, 248-251, 272-287, doi:10.1016/j.lithos.2016.01.026.

Viccaro M., Giuffrida M., Nicotra E., Cristofolini R. (2016). Timescales of magma storage and migrationrecorded by olivine crystals in basalts of the March-April 2010 eruption at Eyjafjallajokull volcano, Iceland. American Mineralogist, 101, 222-230, doi:10.2138/am-2015-5365.



Viccaro M., Nicotra E., Urso S. (2015). Production of mildly alkaline basalts at complex ocean ridge settings: perspectives from the basalts emitted during the 2010 eruption at the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, Iceland. Journal of Geodynamics, 91, 51-64, doi:10.1016/j.jog.2015.08.004.

Viccaro M., Calcagno R., Garozzo I., Giuffrida M., Nicotra E. (2015). Continuous magma recharge at Mt. Etna during the 2011-2013 period controls the style of volcanic activity and compositions of erupted lavas. Mineralogy and Petrology, 109, 67-83, doi:10.1007/s00710-014-0352-4.



Nicotra E., Viccaro M., De Rosa R., Sapienza M. (2014). Volcanological evolution of the Rivi-Capo Volcanic Complex at Salina, Aeolian Islands: magma storage processes and ascent dynamics. Bulletin of Volcanology 76, article 840, doi:10.1007/s00445-014-0840-8.

Viccaro M., Garozzo I., Cannata A., Di Grazia G., Gresta S. (2014). Gas burst vs. gas-rich magma recharge: a multidisciplinary study to reveal factors controlling triggering of the recent paroxysmal eruptions at Mt. Etna. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 278-279, 1-13, doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2014.04.001.

Catalano S., Tortorici L., Viccaro M. (2014). Regional tectonic control on large size explosive eruptions: insights into the Green Tuff ignimbrite unit of Pantelleria. Journal of Geodynamics, 73, 23-33, doi:10.1016/j.jog.2013.10.008.



Kahl M., Chakraborty S., Costa F., Pompilio M., Liuzzo M., Viccaro M. (2013). Compositionally zoned crystals and real-time degassing data reveal changes in magma transfer dynamics during the 2006 summit eruptive episodes of Mt. Etna. Bulletin of Volcanology, 75, article 692, doi:10.1007/s00445-013-0692-7.

Scordari F., Schingaro E., Ventruti G., Nicotra E., Viccaro M., Mazziotti Tagliani S. (2013). Fluorophlogopite from Piano delle Concazze (Mt. Etna): crystal chemistry and implications for the crystallization conditions. American Mineralogist, 98, 1017-1025, doi:10.2138/am.2013.4225.



Giacomoni P.P., Ferlito C., Alesci G., Coltorti M., Monaco C., Viccaro M., Cristofolini R. (2012). A common feeding system of the NE and S rifts as revealed by the bilateral 2002/2003 eruptive event at Mt. Etna (Sicily, Italy). Bulletin of Volcanology, 74, 2415-2433, doi:10.1007/s00445-012-0672-3.

Wulf S., Keller J., Paterne M., Mingram J., Lauterbach S., Opitz S., Sottili G., Albert P., Satow C., Viccaro M., Brauer A. (2012). The 100-133 ka record of Italian explosive volcanism and revised tephrochronology of Lago Grande di Monticchio. Quaternary Science Reviews, 58, 104-123, doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2012.10.020.

Mazziotti Tagliani S., Nicotra E., Viccaro M., Gianfagna A. (2012). Halogen-dominant mineralization at Mt. Calvario dome (Mt. Etna) as a response of volatile flushing into the magma plumbing system. Mineralogy and Petrology, 106, 89-105, doi:10.1007/s00710-012-0215-9.

Nicotra E., Viccaro M. (2012). Transient uprise of gas and gas-rich magma batches fed the pulsating behaviour of the 2006 eruptive episodes at Mt. Etna volcano. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 227-228, 102-118, doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2012.03.004.

Brancato A., Gresta S., Sandri L., Selva J., Marzocchi W., Alparone S., Andronico D., Bonforte A., Caltabiano T., Cocina O., Corsaro R.A., Cristofolini R., Di Grazia G., Distefano G., Ferlito C., Gambino S., Giammanco S., Greco F., Napoli R., Tusa G., Viccaro M. (2012). Quantifying probabilities of eruption at a well-monitored active volcano: an application to Mount Etna (Sicily, Italy). Bollettino di Geofisica Teorica ed Applicata, 53, 55-74, doi:10.4430/bgta0040.

Nicotra E., Viccaro M. (2012). Unusual magma storage conditions at Mt. Etna (Southern Italy) as evidenced by plagioclase megacryst-bearing lavas: implications for the plumbing system geometry and summit caldera collapse. Bulletin of Volcanology, 74, 795-815, doi:10.1007/s00445-011-0566-9.

Viccaro M., Giuffrida M., Nicotra E., Ozerov A.Yu. (2012). Magma storage, ascent and recharge history prior to 1991 eruption at Avachinsky volcano, Kamchatka, Russia: inferences on the plumbing system geometry. Lithos, 140-141, 11-24, doi:10.1016/j.lithos.2012.01.019.

Ferlito C., Viccaro M., Nicotra E., Cristofolini R. (2012). Regimes of magma recharge and their control on the eruptive behaviour during the 2001-2005 period at Mt. Etna (Italy). Bulletin of Volcanology, 74, 533-543, doi:10.1007/s00445-011-0537-1.



Brancato A., Gresta S., Alparone S., Andronico D., Bonforte A., Caltabiano T, Cocina O., Corsaro R.A., Cristofolini R., Di Grazia G., Distefano G., Ferlito C., Gambino S., Giammanco S., Greco F., Napoli R., Sandri L., Selva J., Tusa G., Viccaro M. (2011). Application of BET_EF at Mount Etna: a retrospective analysis (years 2001-2005). Annals of Geophysics, 54, 5, 642-661, doi:10.4401/ag-5346.

Nicotra E., Ferlito C., Viccaro M., Cristofolini R. (2011). Volcanic geology and petrology of the Val Calanna succession (Mt. Etna, Southern Italy): discovery of a new eruptive center. Periodico di Mineralogia, 80, 287-307, doi:10.2451/2011PM0021.

Viccaro M., Nicotra E., Millar I.L., Cristofolini R. (2011). The magma source at Mount Etna volcano: perspectives from the Hf isotope composition of historic and recent lavas. Chemical Geology, 281, 343-351, doi:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2010.12.020 



Ferlito C., Viccaro M., Nicotra E., Cristofolini R. (2010). Relationship between the sector collapse of the South East Crater (Etna, Italy) and the paroxysmal event of November 16, 2006. Bulletin of Volcanology, 72, 1179-1190, doi:10.1007/s00445-010-0384-5 

Ferlito C., Nicotra E., (2010). The dykes swarm of Mount Calanna (Etna, Italy): an example of the uppermost portion of a volcanic plumbing system. Bulletin of Volcanology, 72, 1191-1207, doi:10.1007/s00445-010-0398-z.

Ferlito C., Lanzafame, G. (2010). The role of supercritical fluids in the potassium enrichment of magmas at Mount Etna volcano (Italy). Lithos, 119, 642-650, doi:10.1016/j.lithos.2010.08.006 

Nicotra E., Viccaro M., Ferlito C., Cristofolini R. (2010). Influx of volatiles into shallow reservoirs at Mt. Etna volcano (Italy) responsible for halogen-rich magmas. European Journal of Mineralogy, 22, 121-138, doi:10.1127/0935-1221/2010/0022-1991.

Viccaro M., Giacomoni P.P., Ferlito C., Cristofolini R. (2010). Dynamics of magma supply at Mt. Etna volcano (Southern Italy) as revealed by textural and compositional features of plagioclase phenocrysts. Lithos, 116, 77-91, doi:10.1016/j.lithos.2009.12.012.



Ferlito C., Viccaro M., Nicotra E., Cristofolini R. (2009). Comment on: “Complex magma dynamics at Mount Etna revealed by seismic, thermal, and volcanological data” by B. Behncke, S. Falsaperla, and E. Pecora. Journal of Geophysical Research, 114, B12204, doi:10.1029/2009JB006511.

Ferlito C., Viccaro M., Cristofolini R. (2009). Volatile-rich magma injection into the feeding system during the 2001 eruption of Mt. Etna (Italy): its role on explosive activity and change in rheology of lavas. Bulletin of Volcanology, 71, 1149-1158, doi:10.1007/s00445-009-0290-x.

Viccaro M., Scribano V., Cristofolini, R., Ottolini, L., Manuella F.C. (2009). Primary origin of some trachytoid magmas: inferences from naturally quenched glasses in hydrothermally metasomatized gabbroic xenoliths (Hyblean area, Sicily). Lithos, 113, 659-672, doi:10.1016/j.lithos.2009.06.037.

Scribano V., Viccaro M., Cristofolini R., Ottolini L. (2009). Metasomatic events recorded in ultramafic xenoliths from the Hyblean area (Southeastern Sicily, Italy). Mineralogy and Petrology, 95, 235-250, doi:10.1007/s00710-008-0031-4.

Ferlito C., Coltorti M., Cristofolini R., Giacomoni P.P. (2009). The contemporaneous emission of low-K and high-K trachybasalts and the role of the NE Rift during the 2002 eruptive event, Mt. Etna, Italy. Bulletin of Volcanology, 71, 575-587, doi:10.1007/s00445-008-0243-9.



Viccaro M., Ferlito C., Cristofolini R. (2008). Complex evolution processes in the upper feeding system of Mt. Etna as revealed by the geochemistry of recent lavas. Periodico di Mineralogia, 77, 21-42, doi:10.2451/2008PM0017.

Viccaro M., Cristofolini R. (2008). Nature of mantle heterogeneity and its role in the short-term geochemical and volcanological evolution of Mt. Etna (Italy). Lithos, 105, 272-288, doi:10.1016/j.lithos.2008.05.001.

Ferlito C., Viccaro M., Cristofolini R. (2008). Volatile-induced magma differentiation in the plumbing system of Mt. Etna volcano (Italy): evidence from glass in tephra of the 2001 eruption. Bulletin of Volcanology, 70, 455-473, doi:10.1007/s00445-007-0149-y.



Viccaro M., Ferlito C., Cristofolini R. (2007). Amphibole crystallization in the Etnean feeding system: mineral chemistry and trace element partitioning between Mg-hastingsite and alkali basaltic melt. European Journal of Mineralogy, 19, 499-511, doi:10.1127/0935-1221/2007/0019-1747.



Viccaro M., Ferlito C., Cortesogno L., Cristofolini R., Gaggero L. (2006). Magma mixing during the 2001 event at Mount Etna (Italy): effects on the eruptive dynamics. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 149, 139-159, doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2005.06.004.

Ferlito C., Siewert J. (2006). Lava channel formation during the 2001 eruption on Mount Etna: evidence for mechanical erosion. Physical Review Letters, 96, 028501.


About Us

 Marco Viccaro - Associate Professor

Prof. Marco Viccaro - Associate Professor

Geochemistry (6 CFU - Bachelor Level in Geological Sciences)

Regional Volcanology and Field Survey (9 CFU - MSc Level in Geological/Geophysical Sciences)

Geothermal Resources and Applications (6 CFU - MSc Level in Geophysical Sciences) 


Carmelo Ferlito - PhD

Prof. Carmelo Ferlito - Associate Professor 

Volcanology and Field Survey (9 CFU - Bachelor Level in Geological Sciences)


           Eugenio Nicotra                        Marisa Giuffrida                                                        

                    Dr. Eugenio Nicotra                                     Dr. Marisa Giuffrida

          Post-Doc, Supervisor Prof. M. Viccaro              Post-Doc, Supervisor Prof. M. Viccaro


                                                                      Salvatore Urso

              Dr. Francesco Zuccarello                                         Dr. Salvatore Urso

     PhD Fellow, Supervisor Prof. M. Viccaro                                  Project Manager