Changes in rainfall characteristics are one of the most relevant signs of current climate alterations. Many studies have demonstrated an increase in rainfall intensity and a reduction of frequency in several areas of the world, including Mediterranean areas. Rainfall characteristics may be crucial for vegetation patterns formation and evolution in Mediterranean ecosystems, with important implications, for example, in vegetation water stress or coexistence and competition dynamics. At the same time, characteristics of extreme rainfall events are fundamental for the estimation of flood peaks and quantiles which can be used in many hydrological applications, such as design of the most common hydraulic structures, or planning and management of flood prone areas. In the past, Sicily has been screened for several signals of possible climate change. Annual, seasonal and monthly rainfall data in the entire Sicilian region have been analyzed, showing a global reduction of total annual rainfall. Moreover, annual maximum rainfall series for different durations have been rarely analyzed in order to detect the presence of trends. Results indicated that for short durations, historical series generally exhibit increasing trends while for longer durations the trends are mainly negative. Starting from these premises, the aim of this study is to investigate and quantify changes in rainfall statistics in Sicily, during the second half of the last century. Time series of about 60 stations over the region have been processed and screened by using the non parametric Mann-Kendall test. Particularly, extreme events have been analyzed using annual maximum rainfall series at 1, 3, 6, 12 and 24 h duration while daily rainfall properties have been analyzed in term of frequency and intensity, also characterizing seasonal rainfall features. Results of extreme events analysis confirmed an increasing trend for rainfall of short durations, especially for one hour rainfall duration. Instead, precipitation of long durations have exhibited a decreased trend. With regard to the spatial distribution, increase in short duration precipitation has been observed especially in stations located along the coastline; however, no clear and well-defined spatial pattern have been outlined by the results. Outcomes of analysis for daily rainfall properties have showed that heavy-torrential precipitation tends to be more frequent at regional scale, while light rainfall events exhibited a negative trend at some sites. Values of total annual precipitations confirmed a significant negative trend, mainly due to the reduction during the winter season.
Arnone, E.; Pumo, D.; Viola, F.; Noto, L. V.; La Loggia, G.
Changes in rainfall characteristics are one of the most relevant signs of current climate alterations. Many studies have demonstrated an increase in rainfall intensity and a reduction of frequency in several areas of the world, including Mediterranean areas. Rainfall characteristics may be crucial for vegetation patterns formation and evolution in Mediterranean ecosystems, with important implications, for example, in vegetation water stress or coexistence and competition dynamics. At the same time, characteristics of extreme rainfall events are fundamental for the estimation of flood peaks and quantiles that can be used in many hydrological applications, such as design of the most common hydraulic structures, or planning and management of flood-prone areas. In the past, Sicily has been screened for several signals of possible climate change. Annual, seasonal and monthly rainfall data in the entire Sicilian region have been analyzed, showing a global reduction of total annual rainfall. Moreover, annual maximum rainfall series for different durations have been rarely analyzed in order to detect the presence of trends. Results indicated that for short durations, historical series generally exhibit increasing trends, while for longer durations the trends are mainly negative. Starting from these premises, the aim of this study is to investigate and quantify changes in rainfall statistics in Sicily, during the second half of the last century. Time series of about 60 stations over the region have been processed and screened by using the nonparametric Mann-Kendall test. In particular, extreme events have been analyzed using annual maximum rainfall series at 1, 3, 6, 12 and 24 h duration, while daily rainfall properties have been analyzed in terms of frequency and intensity, also characterizing seasonal rainfall features. Results of extreme events analysis confirmed an increasing trend for rainfall of short durations, especially for 1 h rainfall duration. Conversely, precipitation events of long durations have exhibited a decreased trend. Increase in short-duration precipitation has been observed especially in stations located along the coastline; however, no clear and well-defined spatial pattern has been outlined by the results. Outcomes of analysis for daily rainfall properties have showed that heavy-torrential precipitation events tend to be more frequent at regional scale, while light rainfall events exhibited a negative trend at some sites. Values of total annual precipitation events confirmed a significant negative trend, mainly due to the reduction during the winter season.
Arnone, E.; Pumo, D.; Viola, F.; Noto, L. V.; La Loggia, G.
The study of the evolution of the beaches plays a fundamental role in every territorial politics regarding the coastal band. More than half the world population lives in coastal regions which support a florid touristic activity in many countries. The beach constitutes, in terms of economic value, the most important element of the coastal system, but also the more fragile and morphologically variable. Thus, studying its evolutions is fundamental in order to adopt the best management of this complex, densely populated and economically interesting zone. In this regard, the western coast of Sicily (Italy) is an effective example. It took its origin from variation of the sea middle level (Quaternary), with the consequent formation of marine terraces. Morphologically, the shore is made up by low and rock coast alternating beaches. The historical evolution of the coast has been performed through the use of aerial images identifying, despite several uncertainties, the position of the shoreline. Indeed the shoreline position extracted from an aerial image is a wet/dry line that describes the instantaneous land-water boundary at the time of imaging rather than a "normal" or "average" condition. Each wave instantaneously influences the shoreline position and hence, to take into account shoreline oscillations due to wave motion. Even if from a conceptual point of view the shore line is defined as a border between the emerged earth and the sea, its perennial variability makes it difficult to determine. In order to start a correct management, a cognitive geomorphological study has been carried on, as well as a study of high strategic value and environmental sustainability. It was based on a continuous decisional process based on objectives defined by the UE, in order to classify the beaches and to define the characteristic which are necessary for a correct coastal management. This study has been fundamental to start a monitoring of the coast; moreover, it has shown vulnerabilities of the coastal band which are important to design plans of defense. Keywords: coast, shoreline, management
Liguori, Vincenzo; Manno, Giorgio; Agate, Francesca
This paper performs annual runoff frequency analysis in Sicily, Italy using the index runoff method. Homogeneous regions, not necessarily defined by geographical boundaries but sharing common features from a morphologic and climatic standpoint, have been identified. For each region a single probability distribution function can be fitted to the available annual runoff data scaled by the index runoff.Starting from an
M. Cannarozzo; L. V. Noto; F. Viola; G. La Loggia
A crustal reflection seismic profile, more than 100 km long, was recorded across central Sicily, from the Tyrrhenian shore to the Sicily Channel, to understand the deep structures and the collision mechanisms between Europe and Africa and the subsequent geodynamic evolution. The profile was acquired using explosive sources and 240 active channels recorded by a Sercel 408-XL, 24 bits A/D converter, with a 12 km spread and a 24-fold coverage. The data were processed following a non-conventional procedure in order to preserve the relative amplitudes of the reflections and to better investigate the Sicily deep structures down to the Moho. The main highlighted structures are the dramatic flexure of the Iblean crust, the huge, deeper than expected, trough of Caltanissetta consisting of deep seated thrusts and nappes, and the imbricate thrust system of rigid bodies characterizing the northern Maghrebian chain. We designed an ad hoc acquisition and processing in order to highlight these main geological features in the seismic stacked section. Moreover, the deepest parts of the Caltanissetta trough are imaged for the first time, and its bottom is now fixed at more than 7 s TWT. The giant crustal wedge flexuring the Iblean foreland and the Moho geometries are examinated.
Accaino, Flavio; Catalano, Raimondo; Di Marzo, Luigi; Giustiniani, Michela; Tinivella, Umberta; Nicolich, Rinaldo; Sulli, Attilio; Valenti, Vera; Manetti, Piero
The aim of this study is to contribute to the development of an integrated geologic time scale for the Late Triassic that relates marine and nonmarine facies using the global record of geomagnetic polarity reversals. The 427 m-thick Upper Triassic ma- rine limestone section at Pizzo Mondello in the Sicani Mountains of western Sicily is characterized by high quality of exposure, accessibility, and stratigraphic continu- ity. Magnetostratigraphic and biostratigraphic data from Pizzo Mondello are presented and correlated with the Newark reference sequence of polarity reversals.
Muttoni, G.; Nicora, A.; Kent, D. V.; di Stefano, P.; Lowrie, W.
In Sicily many tick borne diseases are endemic, in particular way those that see like main carrier ticks that prefer, for their vital cycle, climatic conditions characterized by high temperatures and a warmth-humid atmosphere. The more important pathologies transmitted by ticks causing diseases in dogs are babesiosis and ehrlichiosis. Borrelia burgdorferi, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Rickettsia conorii, Coxiella burnetii and tick transmitted encephalitis virus assume particular relevance because they are agents of zoonosis. Our centre, C.R.A.Ba.R.T, have conducted many researches and carried out many tests for diagnostic aim in order to estimate the spread of the main tick borne diseases in Sicilians' dogs. A study lead on 342 dogs has evidenced seroprevalence for Babesia canis, Ehrlichia canis and Rickettsia respective of 5.17%, 21.70% and 53.43%. A study on zoonotic agent seroprevalences in dogs gave the following percentages: C. burnetii 31.50%, R. conorii 73.60% and A. phagocytophilum 32.80%. The data carried out from IZS Sicily diagnostic service on 5,634 tests done in 2004-2005, confirm the experimental results on the presence of B. canis, E. canis, R. conorii, A. phagocytophilum, C. burnetii, Rickettsia spp., Anaplasma spp. and Ehrlichia spp. in all the Sicilian areas. PMID:16881419
Torina, A; Caracappa, S
Analysis of polymorphisms of the beta-globin gene cluster was performed on 12 families and on one unrelated individual of Sicilian origin who carried hemoglobin C (Hb C). Two different haplotypes were found in association with beta c Sicilian alleles, corresponding to haplotypes I and II previously described in American blacks. In our population, the more frequent one (haplotype I) was linked to the lack of a polymorphic HpaI site 3' to the beta gene (13.0-kb fragment), similarly to haplotype I in blacks, while the less frequent one was linked to a 7.0-kb HpaI fragment attributable to a site that had never been previously described in linkage with beta c alleles. In Italy, these two haplotypes have been found in rare cases in association with beta A alleles. These findings provide new insights into the origin of Hb C present in Sicily, suggesting that (1) the beta c mutation detected in Sicily derived from African black chromosomes and does not represent a new mutation; and (2) Hb C may have originated either by multiple mutational events on separate chromosomes or by mutation in the HpaI site 3' to the beta gene in a pre-existing beta c chromosome. PMID:1346948
Travi, M; Cremonesi, L; Primignani, P; Di Benedetto, S; Testa, R; Schilirò, G; Ferrari, M
...Determinations: ``Sicily: Art and Invention Between Greece and Rome'' SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given of the following determinations...exhibition ``Sicily: Art and Invention Between Greece and Rome,'' imported from abroad for temporary exhibition within...
...Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition Determinations: ``Sicily: Art and...additional objects to be included in the exhibition. Pursuant to the authority vested in...additional objects to be included in the exhibition ``Sicily: Art and Invention...
Citrus tristeza virus (CTV) outbreaks were detected in Sicily island, Italy for the first time in 2002. To gain insight into the evolutionary forces driving the emergence and phylogeography of these CTV populations, we determined and analyzed the nucleotide sequences of the p20 gene from 108 CTV isolates collected from 2002 to 2009. Bayesian phylogenetic analysis revealed that mild and severe CTV isolates belonging to five different clades (lineages) were introduced in Sicily in 2002. Phylogeographic analysis showed that four lineages co-circulated in the main citrus growing area located in Eastern Sicily. However, only one lineage (composed of mild isolates) spread to distant areas of Sicily and was detected after 2007. No correlation was found between genetic variation and citrus host, indicating that citrus cultivars did not exert differential selective pressures on the virus. The genetic variation of CTV was not structured according to geographical location or sampling time, likely due to the multiple introduction events and a complex migration pattern with intense co- and re-circulation of different lineages in the same area. The phylogenetic structure, statistical tests of neutrality and comparison of synonymous and nonsynonymous substitution rates suggest that weak negative selection and genetic drift following a rapid expansion may be the main causes of the CTV variability observed today in Sicily. Nonetheless, three adjacent amino acids at the p20 N-terminal region were found to be under positive selection, likely resulting from adaptation events.
Davino, Salvatore; Willemsen, Anouk; Panno, Stefano; Davino, Mario; Catara, Antonino; Elena, Santiago F.; Rubio, Luis
This paper performs annual runoff frequency analysis in Sicily, Italy using the index runoff method. Homogeneous regions, not necessarily defined by geographical boundaries but sharing common features from a morphologic and climatic standpoint, have been identified. For each region a single probability distribution function can be fitted to the available annual runoff data scaled by the index runoff. Starting from an initial dataset of 105 hydrometric stations, 57 stations have been selected using heuristic criteria associated with the Hosking and Wallis’s discordancy measure. The Mantel tests have been then applied to find out the physical and morphological parameters best correlated with the runoff using the distances matrix approach. These parameters have been successively used in the cluster analysis to delineate homogeneous regions and the Hosking and Wallis’s heterogeneity test has been applied to the clusters in order to verify their homogeneity. Further analysis has been carried out to test the goodness-of-fit of four different candidate distributions of the scaled annual runoff using the chi-square test. For all the identified homogeneous regions the three-parameters lognormal distribution has been proved the most suitable distribution for the dimensionless annual runoff. In order to predict the runoff quantiles at ungauged sites, the procedure finally envisages the estimation of mean annual runoff (index runoff) by multiple regression analysis, providing expressions that relate mean annual runoff to some climatic and morphologic features of the basins.
Cannarozzo, M.; Noto, L. V.; Viola, F.; La Loggia, G.
In the present work the authors report the result of their food ethnobotanical researches, which have been carried out in Sicily during the last thirty years. Data concerning 188 wild species used in the traditional Sicilian cuisine are reported. The authors underline those species that are partially or completely unknown for their culinary use and they illustrate other species that
Francesca Lentini; Francesca Venza
The author has identified the following significant results. Multispectral high resolution photography of S190A was successfully applied to the detection of paleoriverbeds in flat lands. Results of SL-3 mission were compared to those of LANDSAT for two regional geological surveys (linear structures) on the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. On Sicily, the seasonal conditions were unfavorable for Skylab while LANDSAT played a major role in discovering long, unknown lineaments of great interest for the geodynamics of the area. On Sardinia, owing to the vegetation type and to the geomorphic conditions, the Skylab imagery was successfully employed to describe the network of linears, both regional and local. Results can be used to study the relationship between linears, actual fracturing and the occurrence of mineral deposits.
Cassinis, R.; Lechi, G. M.; Tonelli, A. M. (principal investigators)
The attenuation of P- and S-waves in Southeastern Sicily was estimated by applying two different methods in time and frequency domains. We analyzed waveforms from about 290 local events (0.6?ML?4.6) recorded at a three-component digital network.By applying the pulse broadening method to the first P-wave pulse, we found an average Qp value of ca. 140. The application of the frequency
E. Giampiccolo; S. Gresta; G. Ganci
The attenuation in Southeastern Sicily has been investigated using 40aftershocks of the December 13 1990, earthquake. The quality factor ofcoda waves (Qc) was estimated in the frequency range 1.5–24 Hz,applying three different methods in time and frequency domains. On thewhole, a clear dependence of Qc on frequency was observed,according to the general law Q = Q0(f\\/f0)n . Thefrequency dependence relationships
E. Giampiccolo; G. Tusa; H. Langer; S. Gresta
Summary Vector (911 light-trap catches from 269 sites) and serological surveillance data were obtained during recent bluetongue (BT) outbreaks in Sicily. The distributions of Culicoides vectors are compared with that of bluetongue virus (BTV) to determine the relative role of different vectors in BTV transmission in Sicily. The 'best' climatic predictors of distribution for each vector species were selected from
Two layers of fine sand of marine origin occur in a sequence of organic rich colluvia in an archaeological excavation at Torre degli Inglesi, on Capo Peloro, northeast Sicily. Stratigraphic and micropaleontologic analyses support the hypothesis that these layers are related to deposition due to paleotsunami waves. Their ages are constrained both with radiocarbon and archaeological datings. The age of the oldest layer is coincident with the 17 A.D. earthquake that hit Reggio Calabria but for which no tsunami was previously reported. The age of the youngest layer can be only constrained in the range 3rd-19th century and is tentatively associated to the 6 Feb. 1783 event.
Pantosti, D.; Barbano, M. S.; Smedile, A.; De Martini, P. M.; Tigano, G.
The prevalence of Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, Rickettsia and Babesia/Theileria species was analysed in questing and feeding adult ticks in Sicily. A total of 678 ticks were collected and analysed in this study. Of these, 29 were questing ticks and 649 were collected from infested cattle, sheep, goats or dogs. Tick species analysed included Rhipicephalus bursa, R. turanicus, R. sanguineus, Hyalomma lusitanicum, H. marginatum, Dermacentor marginatus, Ixodes ricinus, R. (Boophilus) annulatus and Haemaphysalis punctata. With the exception of R. annulatus and H. punctata for which only eight and 15 ticks were analysed, respectively, all tick species were found to be infected. Most ticks were found to be infected with a single pathogen genus. Data obtained from questing ticks was analysed to test for differences between tick species in the prevalence of infection for different pathogens. These preliminary results suggested that the most important vectors of pathogens that may affect human and/or animal health in Sicily are R. turanicus for Anaplasma spp. and D. marginatus for Rickettsia spp. For Ehrlichia spp. and Babesia/Theileria spp., R. turanicus/D. marginatus and H. lusitanicum may be the most important vectors but additional studies are needed to confirm these results. PMID:20537102
Torina, A; Alongi, A; Scimeca, S; Vicente, J; Caracappa, S; de la Fuente, J
There are numerous problems yet to be solved in waste management and although efforts towards waste recovery and recycling have been made, landfills are still the most common method used in the EU and many other industrialised countries. Thermal disposal, particularly incineration, is a tested and viable alternative. In 2004, only 11% of the annual waste production of Italy was incinerated. Sicily, with over five million inhabitants, is the second largest region in Italy where waste management is now a critical problem. The use of landfills can no longer be considered a satisfactory environmental solution; therefore, new methods have to be chosen and waste-to-energy plants could provide an answer. This paper gives details of municipal solid waste management in Sicily following a new Waste Management Plan. Four waste-to-energy plants will generate electricity through a steam cycle; the feedstock will become the residue after material recovery, which is calculated as 20-40% weight of the collected municipal solid waste.
Messineo, Antonio [Department of Energy and Environmental Researches (DREAM), University of Palermo, Viale delle Scienze, Palermo 90128 (Italy)], E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Panno, Domenico [Department of Energy and Environmental Researches (DREAM), University of Palermo, Viale delle Scienze, Palermo 90128 (Italy)
Background The author reports on the plants, rituals and spells used against worms and the so-called scantu (fright) in some areas of Sicily. The work is based on ethnobotanical research carried out, prevalently, between 2002-2006, in some areas of Eastern, South-Eastern, North-Central and South-Central Sicily. Methods This research is based on dialogue. Senior 'healers' were contacted; furthermore, doctors, teachers, farmers and in general 'experts' with herbs and 'magic' rituals. Information was collected about the way the plants of folk medicine are prepared. The interviewees were also invited to recite prayers and spells against helminthiasis. Results The author has highlighted the importance of how, in some parts of Sicily, some ailments like helminthiasis and other correlated pathologies like scantu are 'treated' and, especially within the rural social classes, by folk medicine remedies, herbal practises, particular prayers, rituals and spells. Conclusion As regards health/illness, it should be noted that in the last ten years conventional medicine has provided very satisfactory results even resolving potentially mortal pathologies. However, in certain social classes, there is no real collaboration between conventional and folk medicine; so for some senior citizens, the 'healer' with his rituals and empirical and magical herbs is still the person to turn to for the 'cure' of particular ailments. Interest in these practises from ancestral heritage in an advanced country like Italy, is only relevant if the aim is to recoup a cultural identity which is already in decline. It is significant to report a piece: on 14 October 2007 the news on a well-known national Italian TV channel reported an interview with a 94 year-old man from Arbatax (Sardinia) referred to as a 'healer' because both his townspeople and others from all over the world go to him for his cures. He is not paid except in kind and has been known to cure St. Anthony's fire, burns, scalding and marine fungal infections, by smearing his saliva over the infected part and reciting 'special words'.
Detailed correlations of magnetostratigraphy, biostratigraphy and lithostratigraphy reveal that the basal Pliocene is\\u000aequally complete in the Eraclea Minoa and Capo Rossello sections (Sicily) and the Singa section (Calabria), and that,\\u000ain accordance with the model of the Pliocene flooding event in the Mediterranean, the deposition of the pelagic marls\\u000aof the Trubi Formation started synchronously on Sicily and in
F. J. Hilgen; C. G. Langereis
In Italy, the restrictive approach for treated wastewater reuse in agriculture has led to some difficulties in promoting this practice. In order to assess the health risk associated with the use of wastewater in agriculture, an experiment was conducted in an open field near the constructed wetland (CW) system of San Michele di Ganzaria (Eastern Sicily), during the irrigation seasons 2004-2009. In particular the impact on tomato crops of drip and sub-drip irrigation with treated municipal wastewater, as well as effects of wastewater reuse on the irrigation system, main production features, hydrological soil behaviour, and microbial soil and products contamination were investigated. Notwithstanding the fact that globally CW effluents did not match microbiological standards for wastewater reuse of Italian legislation, the median infection risk (function of the recommended tolerable additional disease burden of 10(-6) DALY (disability-adjusted life year) loss per person per year) suggested by the 2006 World Health Organization Guidelines for rotavirus, Campylobacter and Cryptosporidium for lettuce irrigation under unrestricted irrigation scenario was achieved. PMID:23128625
Aiello, Rosa; Cirelli, Giuseppe L; Consoli, Simona; Licciardello, Feliciana; Toscano, Attilio
Several persistent sonar clutter features were observed in 2002 during an experiment in the Straits of Sicily (Malta Plateau) in a region that is nominally flat and thickly sedimented. High frequency sidescan and seismic reflection data from the region indicated that mud volcanoes were present and were possibly expelling clouds of methane bubbles. In 2004 the region was revisited with oceanographic equipment including a multibeam sonar, an acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP), CTD's, temperature loggers, a methane sensor, and a video camera. The visual observations at one site show carbonate mounds comprised of large heterogeneous blocks that suggest the presence of mud volcanism. A multibeam sonar survey of the area shows that the carbonate mounds are of order 5-10 m in height and 10-100 m in lateral dimension, and that they form in clusters. The multibeam backscatter data show high amplitudes in the region surrounding the carbonate mounds, possibly indicating the surficial extent of the carbonate material. High levels of methane were observed in the water column above the mounds, although conclusive evidence of the presence of methane bubble clouds was not found. However, high frequency backscatter recorded on the ADCP above multiple carbonate mounds showed plume-like features that may be bubble clouds, suspended fine-grained sediment, and/or schools of fish.
Weber, Thomas C.; Holland, Charles W.; Etiope, Giuseppe
During our researches on systematics and ecology of terrestrial isopods, carried out in western Sicily, some specimens showing a blue-purple coloration were collected; they belonged to four species: Armadillidium decorum Brandt, 1833, Trichoniscus panormidensis Montesanto et al., 2011, Philoscia affinis Verhoeff, 1908, Porcellio siculoccidentalis Viglianisi et al., 1992. We hypothesized that such coloration could be due, as reported in literature, to characteristic paracrystalline arrays of virions inside the tissues of blue colored specimens. Ultrastructural observations by transmission electron microscopy, on tissues of A. decorum, showed the presence of electron-dense viral particles, with a diameter of nearly 0.12?m. Dual-axis tomography, performed on specimens of A. decorum, evidenced an icosahedral structure of viral particles matching with that of Isopod Iridescent Virus (IIV). Molecular analysis, on 254bp portion of the major capsid protein (MCP) gene, allowed to place the virus into IIV-31 group, already known for other oniscidean species. The symptoms of infected individuals and the course of the disease were followed in laboratory, indicating similarities with other studies on Isopod Iridoviruses. Moreover, some notes on reproduction of infected ovigerous females are reported. Our data support unequivocal and direct evidences for the first case of IIV infection in terrestrial isopods reported in Italy. PMID:23756498
Lupetti, Pietro; Montesanto, Giuseppe; Ciolfi, Silvia; Marri, Laura; Gentile, Mariangela; Paccagnini, Eugenio; Lombardo, Bianca Maria
In Mediterranean countries, water shortage is becoming a problem of high concern affecting the local economy, mostly based on agriculture. The problem is not only the scarcity of water in terms of average per capita, but the high cost to make water available at the right place, at the right time with the required quality. In these cases, an integrated approach for water resources management including wastewater is required. The management should also include treated wastewater (TWW) reclamation and reuse, especially for agricultural irrigation. In Italy, TWW reuse is regulated by a quite restrictive approach (Ministry Decree, M.D. 185/03), especially for some chemical compounds and microbiological parameters. The aim of the paper is the evaluation of TWW reuse potential in Sicily. A Geographic Information System (GIS) was built at regional level to quantify and locate the available TWW volumes. In particular, the characteristics of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) were integrated, through the GIS, with data on irrigation district areas. Moreover, in order to evaluate the Italian approach for reuse practice in agriculture, the water quality of different TWW effluents was analysed on the basis of both the Italian standards and the WHO guidelines. PMID:22592474
Barbagallo, Salvatore; Cirelli, Giuseppe Luigi; Consoli, Simona; Licciardello, Feliciana; Marzo, Alessia; Toscano, Attilio
Wohlfahrtia magnifica (Schiner, 1862; Diptera: Sarcophagidae), known also as flesh fly or screwworm, is a fly distributed especially in south Europe, Middle East, North Africa and China. Maggots of W. magnifica are responsible for traumatic myiasis in warm-blooded vertebrate animals and humans. In Italy data on wohlfahrtiosis in animals and humans are scant. This paper reports three cases of genital myiasis by W. magnifica in Sicily that occurred in a goat, a ram and a dog, respectively. Maggots were found in the vulva of a goat, in a wound localised in the scrotum of a ram and in the prepuce of a dog. Although the disease was not recorded before in the region, data collected from a questionnaire specifically designed for the study suggest that the disease is endemic in the area for more than 20 years. Larger epidemiological studies in the region are needed to get more data on disease prevalence and pattern of infestation as well as more information and education is needed for both farmers and veterinarians on wohlfahrtiosis and its strategies of control and treatment. PMID:21541751
Gaglio, Gabriella; Brianti, Emanuele; Abbene, Salvatore; Giannetto, Salvatore
More than 1/5 of the Italian territory is at risk of desertification involving over 40% of the South. Climate change is expected to worsen the desertification trend already observed. In Sicily, for instance, the semi-arid territory extension had been gradually increasing in the period from 1931 to 2000 up to 20% of the regional territory. Parallel to this, territories classified as humid decreased by 30%. A better knowledge of soil erosion by water is essential for planning effective soil and water conservation practices in semi-arid environment, where accurate soil loss predictions are difficult particularly in the absence of minimal data. In order to give a contribute to the understanding of hydrological and erosional dynamics in Mediterranean areas, a monitoring program of a small catchment started in 1996. The Cannata catchment (1.30 km2) is a mountainous tributary, ephemeral in flow, of the Flascio River located in eastern Sicily. Climate is Mediterranean semi-arid with a mean annual precipitation (1996-2005), measured in three different sites, equal to 715 ± 163 mm mainly falling between October and January. Mean monthly temperature is between 3°C (January) and 24°C (August). Land use monitoring highlighted the prevalence of pasture areas (ranging between 87% and 92% of the catchment area during the monitoring period). In the Cannata catchment the elevation ranges between 903 m and 1270 m above mean sea level with an average land slope of 21%. Water discharge has been measured continuously for about 10 years at the outlet of the catchment by means of a hydrometrograph station connected to a runoff water automatic sampler for the measurement of sediment concentration in the flow. Precipitation has a typically Mediterranean seasonal pattern, being minimal in summer and maximal in winter. Monthly runoff follows the pattern of precipitation although somewhat delayed during autumn due to the effect of water deficit in summer. The analysis of the 170 runoff events recorded shows that rainfall depth was the only significant driver of the response (r2=0.77), whereas rainfall intensity, usually assumed of main importance in Mediterranean semiarid areas, was not significant. Rainfall depths were also the only drivers of peak discharges during the events (r2=0.57); considering just the autumn events, when vegetation cover is lower than in winter and in spring, rainfall intensity was also a significant but fair driver of peak discharge (r2=0.36). Suspended sediment response (observed for 47 events during the observation period) was very linked to the runoff response. Rainfall, runoff and peak discharge of the events were good predictors of total suspended sediment load (r2=0.84, 0.85 and 0.84 respectively); I30 and I5 were just fair drivers of sediment yields (r2=0.40 and 0.28 respectively) independently of seasons.
Licciardello, Feliciana; Marcello Zimbone, Santo; Barbagallo, Salvatore; Gallart, Francesc
The aim of the study was to determine the burden of Toxoplasma gondii-infections in sheep in Sicily, southern Italy and the risk factors for infection. Sera from 1961 sheep were collected just before slaughtering from 62 farms located in 8 out of 9 Sicilian administrative districts. The sera were analysed for Toxoplasma-specific IgG antibodies using commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Sheep less than 4 weeks old were further analysed by ELISA for Toxoplasma-specific IgM-antibodies. Data on farm size and location were obtained from slaughterhouse sanitary reports and through structured telephone interviews of the veterinary officers from public health districts. The overall seroprevalence of Toxoplasma-specific IgG-antibodies were 49.9% (937/1876) by ELISA. Eighty-seven (54/62) percent of the farms had at least one Toxoplasma-positive animal. All the farms fed the animals outdoor on pasture and only one was claiming organic farming. Having cats on the farm, age of the animals, farm size and the use of surface water sources for drinking were all significantly associated with T. gondii-infected animals on the farm. T. gondii infection in mutton used for human consumption is very prevalent, and eating unprocessed sheep and lamb meat has a high risk of transmitting infections to humans. The presence of cats on the farm, farm size and using surface water as drinking water for the animals were risk factors for infection in sheep, with age as a significant confounder. PMID:17383099
Vesco, G; Buffolano, W; La Chiusa, S; Mancuso, G; Caracappa, S; Chianca, A; Villari, S; Currò, V; Liga, F; Petersen, E
A Geographical Information System (GIS) supported methodology has been developed in order to assess the technical and economic potential of biomass exploitation for energy production in Sicily. The methodology was based on the use of agricultural, economic, climatic, and infrastructural data in a GIS. Data about land use, transportation facilities, urban cartography, regional territorial planning, terrain digital model, lithology, climatic
Marco Beccali; Pietro Columba; Vincenzo D’Alberti; Vincenzo Franzitta
SUMMARY In the last few years in Sicily the consumption of donkey's milk arised in importance, particularly for babies whose mothers cannot nurse them. Equidae milk appears to be the most similar to human milk. Donkey's milk is often well tolerate by infants and adults affected by cow's milk protein allergy; this is probably due to its protein fraction and
A. Criscione; S. Bordonaro; A. M. Guastella; A. Zuccaro; D. Marletta; V. Cunsolo; A. Costa
Source and Qp parameters were estimated from the inversion of first arrival P waveform durations of about 300 microearthquakes recorded at a digital seismic network operating in southeastern Sicily. The average risetime and pulse width at each station do not show large differences, allowing us to exclude significant differential attenuation site effects. A first Qp estimate was obtained by applying
Salvatore de Lorenzo; Giuseppe Di Grazia; Elisabetta Giampiccolo; Stefano Gresta; Horst Langer; Giuseppina Tusa; Andrea Ursino
We analyzed about 150 local earthquakes recorded in Southeastern Sicily from 1994 to 2001 and estimated coda-Q, intrinsic and scattering attenuation. We used the single scattering assumption to fit the amplitude envelopes of the coda at different frequency bands, obtaining a Qc varying with frequency as generally observed in tectonically active areas. Lapse time dependence has been also studied for
E. Giampiccolo; S. Gresta; F. Rasconà
The southeastern corner of Sicily is dominated by the Hyblean plateau which is composed of carbonate rocks of Triassic to Miocene age. The plateau forms part of the African foreland which collided during Tertiary times with the Calabrian Arc giving rise to the Maghrebian thrust belt. The present study attempts to reconstruct the subsidence history of the northern Hyblean plateau.
A. Yellin-Dror; M. Grasso; Z. Ben-Avraham; G. Tibor
The monitoring of seismic activity in Sicily has been recently improved to investigate both tectonics and volcanic processes of Mt. Etna. Nevertheless the deep structure of the volcano has still not been univocally defined. In order to compare and support geophysical data we investigated the physical properties of Etnean rocks performing experiments using a multi-anvil apparatus. In particular we measured
P. Scarlato; B. Poe; C. Freda; M. Gaeta
(1) Data from a hydrographic survey of the Tunisia-Sardinia-Sicily region are assimilated into a primitive equations ocean model. The model simulation is then averaged in time over the short duration of the data survey. The corresponding results, consistent with data and dynamics, are providing new insight into the circulation of Modified Atlantic Water (MAW) and Levantine Intermediate Water (LIW) in
Reiner Onken; Allan R. Robinson; Pierre F. J. Lermusiaux; Patrick J. Haley Jr.; Larry A. Anderson
In a national survey on mortality from malignant pleural neoplasms in Italy, aimed at detecting geographic clusters of cases of the disease, the town of Biancavilla, located in a volcanic area of Eastern Sicily, showed high risk of pleural mesothelioma in the absence of occupational asbestos exposure. An environmental survey suggested the stone quarries located in ‘Monte Calvario’, south–east of
Paola DeNardo; Biagio Bruni; Luigi Paoletti; Roberto Pasetto; Bruno Sirianni
Straits in the Mediterranean Sea are key areas for the characterisation of the water exchange between sub-basins. The physical properties of the water masses flowing through the Sicily Strait have been monitored since 1993 and the data analysis elucidated the seasonal and interannual variability of the fluxes and the changes in the water mass characteristics induced by the Eastern Mediterranean
M. Tangherlini; D. Bacciola; M. Borghini; G. Cerrati; R. Delfanti; V. Difesca; G. Gasparini; S. Salvi; C. Papucci; M. Ribera D'Alcalà
Summary The purpose of this paper is to evaluate a viable tool for the potential predictability of dry and wet spells. We select two regions in Europe that have distinct precipitation regimes: Sicily and Elbe basin (Germany). The analysis of dryness and wetness in these regions from 1951 to 2000 is based on the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) computed on
I. Bordi; K. Fraedrich; F.-W. Gerstengarbe; P. C. Werner; A. Sutera
The recognition of the potential health hazards associated with heavy metals has focused attention on the levels and behaviours of these elements both in natural and contaminated environments. Various soil types developed from different parent materials in Sicily, Italy, have been analysed in order to compare heavy metal distribution under different geopedological conditions. Total metal concentrations, metal partitioning and distribution
B Palumbo; M Angelone; A Bellanca; C Dazzi; S Hauser; R Neri; J Wilson
A mock-up of the probe descending in the Titan atmosphere as part of the Huygens Cassini Mission was successfully launched and recovered on 30th May 2002 after a stratospheric balloon launch from the Italian Space Agency Base "Luigi Broglio" in Trapani, Sicily. To simulate the Huygens mission at Titan, the probe was lifted to an altitude of 32 km and then released to perform a 45 min parachute decelerated descent. The probe was hosting spares of HASI instruments, housekeeping sensors and other dedicated sensors, Beagle II UV Sensors and Huygens Tilt Sensor, for a total of 76 acquired sensor channels and sampled during the ascent, drift and descent phase. An integrated data acquisition and instrument control system was developed, based on PC architecture and soft-real-time application. Sensors channels were sampled at the nominal HASI data rates, with a max rate of 1 kHz. Software was developed for data acquisition, onboard storage and telemetry transmission satisfying all requests for real-time monitoring, diagnostic and redundancy. The main goal of this flight was to verify sensor performance and perform a realistic functional test for HASI hardware in dynamical and environmental conditions similar to those of the Titan atmosphere as well as the impact detection sequence of HASI accelerometer and HASI during ground landing. Aerodynamic study of the probe has contributed in achieving descent velocity and spin rate profiles close to the ones envisioned for the Huygens Titan descent. Profiles have been calculated by solving a system of ODE describing the translational and rotational motion of the probe through the Earth's atmosphere during parachute aided descent. Results of these calculations have driven the choice of an appropriate angle of attack of the blades in the bottom of the probe and ballast weight during flight. Passive thermal control of the probe has also been designed and implemented in order to guarantee proper temperature ranges on critical components and instrument during all mission phases. Preliminary results of main instruments are also presented in this work.
Bettanini, C.; Fulchignoni, M.; Angrilli, F.; Lion Stoppato, P. F.; Antonello, M.; Bastianello, S.; Bianchini, G.; Colombatti, G.; Ferri, F.; Flamini, E.; Gaborit, V.; Aboudan, A.
Microscopic blebs of sulfur-bearing organic matter (OM) commonly occur between the secondary calcite grains and fibrous phyllosilicates in extensively serpentinized and carbonated mantle-derived ultramafic xenoliths from Hyblean nephelinite diatremes, Sicily, Italy. Rarely, coarse bituminous patches give the rock a blackish color. Micro Fourier transform infrared spectra (?-FTIR) point to asphaltene-like structures in the OM, due to partially condensed aromatic rings with aliphatic tails consisting of a few C atoms. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) analysis indicates the occurrence of minor S?O (either sulphonyl or sulphoxide) functional groups in the OM. Solubility tests in toluene, thermo-gravimetric (TGA) and differential thermal (DTA) analyses confirm the presence of asphaltene structures. It is proposed that asphaltenes derive from the in situ aromatization (with decrease in H/C ratio) of previous light aliphatic hydrocarbons. Field evidence excludes that hydrocarbon from an external source percolated through the xenolith bearing tuff-breccia. The discriminating presence of hydrocarbon in a particular type of xenolith only and the lack of hydrocarbon in the host breccia matrix, are also inconsistent with an interaction between the ascending eruptive system and a supposed deep-seated oil reservoir. Assuming that the Hyblean unexposed basement consists of mantle ultramafics and mafic intrusive rocks having hosted an early abyssal-type hydrothermal system, one can put forward the hypothesis that the hydrocarbon production was related to hydrothermal activity in a serpentinite system. Although a bacteriogenesis or thermogenesis cannot be ruled out, the coexisting serpentine, Ni-Fe ores and hydrocarbon strongly suggest a Fischer-Tropsch-type (FTT) synthesis. Subsequent variations in the chemical and physical conditions of the system, for example an increase in the water/rock ratio, gave rise to partial oxidation and late carbonation of the serpentinite hosted hydrocarbon. Admitting an authigenic origin for most of the modal calcite (30-50% by volume) in these rocks, one can conclude as a general rule that un-carbonated serpentinites tectonically emplaced at shallow crustal levels are potential reservoir rocks (as well putative source rocks) for exploitable petroleum reserves.
Scirè, Salvatore; Ciliberto, Enrico; Crisafulli, Carmelo; Scribano, Vittorio; Bellatreccia, Fabio; Ventura, Giancarlo Della
Seismotectonic information and interpretations available for SE Sicily suggest three groups of possible sources for the M=7.1-7.5 mainshock of 1693 and its strong foreshock: (1) normal faults belonging to the Ibleo Maltese Escarpment (also: Malta Escarpment); (2) normal faults associated with the two adjacent Simeto and Scordia-Lentini structures; (3) a transfer structure between the Sicily Straits rift system and the
L. Sirovich; F. Pettenati
The Augusta Bay, in Eastern Sicily (Italy), was repeatedly hit by tsunami waves related to large historical earthquakes (e.g. 1908, 1693, 1169). The area is characterized by coastal lowlands or lagoons, and by a relatively wide continental shelf with a thick late-Holocene record that has been investigated through the acquisition of a tight grid of CHIRP-sonar profiles. Well targeted sediment samples have been collected both offshore and inland. The integrated interpretation of the geophysical and geological data has been carried out in order to recognize, date and correlate key-layers in the sediment column that may be directly or indirectly related to tsunami events. A total of 26 cores were collected inland at a maximum distance of 530 m from the present coastline. The clay and silt dominated stratigraphy is intercalated by at least 5 high-energy or anomalous depositional layers, repeatedly found in several cores. These layers are made of coarse to fine sand with sharp basal contacts and present a bioclastic component made of microfauna (foraminifera) and shell fragments both suggestive of a marine provenance. Chronological constraints on the age of these deposits is based on AMS radiocarbon datings and on the attribution of a tephra layer to the 122 BC Etna eruption (thanks to petro- chemical and morphoscopic analyses). Integrating these data, the inland sequence spans the last 4100 yrs and the two uppermost high-energy events could be related to the AD 1169 and 1693 historical tsunamis. The offshore record was studied from a 6.7 m-long piston-core collected at 70 m water depth. The homogeneous sequence of dark gray mud is interrupted at -3 m by the same Etna tephra deposit found inland. Through the analysis of tephrostratigraphy, radiocarbon datings, high resolution paleomagnetic analysis and radioactive tracers, the entire core sequence has been dated back to the last 4500 yrs. Moreover, the quantitative micropaleontological analysis on the benthic foraminifera assemblage highlighted 11 anomalous peaks, marked by high percentage of displaced epiphytic specimens. These microfaunal anomalies were generally accompanied by significant amount of vegetal remains in the washed fraction, by localized concentration of mollusks and by darker stripes (organic?) in the X-Ray films. These 11 peaks may represent either the primary effect of tsunami waves (in particular the back-wash) or the secondary effect of significant seagrass remobilization due to earthquake shaking. In both cases, these events made available an extra amount of material that, also thanks to the local bottom currents, moved from the uppermost infralittoral zone to deeper regions. Even though we do not know if these anomalies in the offshore core are representative of tsunamis only or alternatively of local earthquakes, our results suggest that the marine environment is more preservative (11 events in the offshore vs 5 events inland) with respect to the littoral one and potentially more sensible to high-energy events like tsunamis and earthquakes.
Smedile, A.; de Martini, P.; Barbano, M. S.; Pantosti, D.; Gerardi, F.; Del Carlo, P.; Bellucci, L. G.; Gasperini, L.; Sagnotti, L.; Polonia, A.; Pirrotta, C.
Mount Etna is a composite stratovolcano located along the Ionian coast of eastern Sicily. It is characterized by basaltic eruptions, both effusive and explosive, occurred during a complex eruptive history over the last 500 ka. Flank eruptions occur at an interval of decades, mostly concentrated along the NE, S and W rift zones. A vent clustering at various scales is a common feature in many volcanic settings. In order to identify the clusters within the studied area, a spatial point pattern analysis is undertaken using vent positions, both known and reconstructed. It reveals both clustering and spatial regularity in the Etna region at different distances. The visual inspection of the vent spatial distribution suggests a clustering on the rift zones of Etna volcano. To confirm this evidence, a coarse analysis is performed by the application of ?2- and t-test simple statistics. Then, a refined analysis is performed by using the Ripley K-function (Ripley, 1976), whose estimator K(d), knowing the area of the study region and the number of vents, allow us to calculate the distance among two different location of events. The above estimator can be easier transformed by using the Besag L-function (Besag, 1977); the peaks of positive L(d)=[K(d)/?]1/2 -d values indicate clustering while troughs of negative values stand for regularity for their corresponding distances d (L(d)=0 indicates complete spatial randomness). Spatial pattern of flank vents is investigated in order to model the spatial distribution of likely eruptive vents for the next event, basically in terms of relative probabilities. For this, a Gaussian kernel technique is used, and the L(d) function is adopted to generate an optimal smoothing bandwidth based on the clustering behaviour of the Etna volcano. A total of 154 vents (among which 36 are reconstructed), related to Etna flank activity of the last 4.0 ka, is used to model future vent opening. The investigated region covers an area of 850 km2, divided into 3400 squared cells (50*68, each of 0.25 km2 of area). Due to the uncertainty of the reconstructed vent position, a circular error zone (with radius equal to the uncertainty) is associated to these vents. For uniformity, an error zone is also associated to the known positions; then, after considering a regular grid spaced of 100 m, we are looking for points inside the relative error zone. This approach yields to the new concept of point-vents, and a total of 6886 of these are retrieved. The obtained results evidence significant probability of future flank vent opening along S and NE rifts, as well as in the Valle del Bove, with minor probability to the W rift. References Besag, J. (1977), Comment's on Ripley's paper, J. Royal Stat. Soc., B39 (2), 193-195. Ripley, B. D. (1976), The second-order analysis of stationary point process, J. Appl. Prob., 13, 255-266.
Brancato, Alfonso; Tusa, Giuseppina; Coltelli, Mauro; Proietti, Cristina; Branca, Stefano
Toscana sandfly fever virus (TOSV) is an arthropod-borne virus transmitted to humans by sandfly vectors. It has been associated with human cases of meningitis and meningo-encephalitis mainly occurring during the warm season. We performed a retrospective serological study to evaluate TOSV circulation in Palermo, Sicily, and to compare TOSV seroprevalence in patients with neurological symptoms and in a control group of patients without neurological symptoms. When sera from 155 patients with and without neurological symptoms were evaluated, the rate of overall TOSV IgG reactivity was 17.4%. Patients with neurological symptoms showed a higher percentage of TOSV IgG positivity than control patients (25% versus 10.8%). TOSV exposure was confirmed by virus neutralization tests which also detected a Naples virus (SFNV) infection. TOSV should be considered as an etiologic agent in the differential diagnosis of fever and meningo-encephalitis in Sicily. PMID:22707128
Colomba, Claudia; Saporito, Laura; Ciufolini, Maria Grazia; Marchi, Antonella; Rotolo, Valentina; De Grazia, Simona; Titone, Lucina; Giammanco, Giovanni M
The biology and ecology of many Entoloma species is still poorly known as well as their geographical distribution. In Italy, there are no studies on the influence of weather on fungal abundance and richness and our knowledge on the ecology and distribution of Entoloma species needs to be improved. The discovery of two Entoloma species in Sicily (southern Italy), reported in the literature as belonging to the habitat of north European countries, was the basis leading to the assumption that anomalous climatic conditions could stimulate the growth of northern entolomas in the southernmost Mediterranean regions. The results of this study show that the presence of northern Entoloma species in Sicily is not influenced by the Mediterranean type of vegetation, by edaphic or altitudinal factors but by anomalous climatic trends of precipitations and temperatures which stimulate the fructification of basidiomata in correspondence with a thermal shock during autumn. PMID:22645481
Venturella, Giuseppe; Saitta, Alessandro; Mandracchia, Gerlando; Gargano, Maria Letizia
The biology and ecology of many Entoloma species is still poorly known as well as their geographical distribution. In Italy, there are no studies on the influence of weather on fungal abundance and richness and our knowledge on the ecology and distribution of Entoloma species needs to be improved. The discovery of two Entoloma species in Sicily (southern Italy), reported in the literature as belonging to the habitat of north European countries, was the basis leading to the assumption that anomalous climatic conditions could stimulate the growth of northern entolomas in the southernmost Mediterranean regions. The results of this study show that the presence of northern Entoloma species in Sicily is not influenced by the Mediterranean type of vegetation, by edaphic or altitudinal factors but by anomalous climatic trends of precipitations and temperatures which stimulate the fructification of basidiomata in correspondence with a thermal shock during autumn.
Venturella, Giuseppe; Saitta, Alessandro; Mandracchia, Gerlando; Gargano, Maria Letizia
Noble gas elemental and isotopic compositions were determined for five CO 2 -CH 4 samples collected around Etna, Sicily, to investigate the geochemical features of the mantle beneath the volcano. The samples contain mantle-derived noble gases. The measured helium isotopic ratios ( 3 He\\/ 4 He) vary between 5.9 and 6.4 times atmospheric ratio ( R a =1.4×10 -6 ),
Shun'ichi Nakai; Hiroshi Wakita; Mario P. Nuccio; Franco Italiano
Noble gas elemental and isotopic compositions were determined for five CO2–CH4 samples collected around Etna, Sicily, to investigate the geochemical features of the mantle beneath the volcano. The samples contain mantle-derived noble gases. The measured helium isotopic ratios (3He\\/4He) vary between 5.9 and 6.4 times atmospheric ratio (Ra=1.4×10?6), which are comparable to the ratios of olivines (6.1–8.2Ra) in the lavas
Shun'ichi Nakai; Hiroshi Wakita; Mario P Nuccio; Franco Italiano
The aim of this study is to investigate climate changes and human activities under the lens of palynology. Based on a new high-resolution pollen sequence (PG2) from Lago di Pergusa (667 m a.s.l., central Sicily, Italy) covering the last 6700 yr, we propose a reconstruction of climate and landscape changes over the recent past in central Sicily. Compared to former studies from Lago di Pergusa (Sadori and Narcisi, 2001), this work provides a reconstruction of the evolution of vegetation and climate over the last millennia in central Sicily, indeed completing previous results with new data which is particularly detailed on the last 3000 yr. Joint actions of increasing dryness, climate oscillations, and human impact shaped the landscape of this privileged site. Lago di Pergusa, in fact, besides being the main inland lake of Sicily, is very sensitive to climate change and its territory was inhabited and exploited continuously since the prehistory. The lake sediments turned out to be a good observatory for the natural phenomena occurred in the last thousands of years. Results of the pollen-based study are integrated with changes in magnetic susceptibility and a tephra layer characterization. The tephra layer was shown to be related to the Sicanians' event, radiocarbon dated at 3055 ± 75 yr BP (Sadori and Narcisi, 2001). We performed palaeoclimate reconstructions by MAT and WA-PLS. Palaeoclimate reconstructions based on the core show important climate fluctuations throughout the Holocene. Climate reconstruction points out four phases of cooling and enhanced wetness in the last three millennia (2600-2000, 1650-1100, 850-550, 400-200 cal BP). This appears to be the evidence of local responses to global climate oscillations during the recent past.
Sadori, L.; Ortu, E.; Peyron, O.; Zanchetta, G.; Vannière, B.; Desmet, M.; Magny, M.
The aim of this study is to investigate climate changes and human activities under the lens of palynology. Based on a new high-resolution pollen sequence (PG2) from Lago di Pergusa (667 m a.s.l., central Sicily, Italy) covering the last 6700 yr, we propose a reconstruction of climate and landscape changes over the recent past in central Sicily. Compared to former studies from Lago di Pergusa (Sadori and Narcisi, 2001), this work provides a reconstruction of the evolution of vegetation and climate over the last millennia in central Sicily, indeed completing previous results with new pollen data, which is particularly detailed on the last 3000 yr. Joint actions of increasing dryness, climate oscillations, and human impact shaped the landscape of this privileged site. Lago di Pergusa, besides being the main inland lake of Sicily, is very sensitive to climate change and its territory was inhabited and exploited continuously since the Palaeolithic. The lake sediments turned out to be a good observatory for natural phenomena that occurred in the last thousands of years. Results of the pollen-based study are integrated with changes in magnetic susceptibility and a tephra layer characterization. The tephra layer was shown to be related to the Sicanians' event, radiocarbon dated at 3055 ± 75 yr BP (Sadori and Narcisi, 2001). We performed palaeoclimate reconstructions by MAT (Modern Analogues Technique) and WAPLS (Weighted Average Partial Least Square). Palaeoclimate reconstructions based on the core show important climate fluctuations throughout the Holocene. Climate reconstruction points out four phases of cooling and enhanced wetness in the last three millennia (2600-2000, 1650-1100, 850-550, 400-200 cal BP, corresponding to the periods between 650-50 BC, and 300-850, 1100-1400, 1550-1750 AD, respectively). This appears to be the evidence of local responses to global climate oscillations during the recent past.
Sadori, L.; Ortu, E.; Peyron, O.; Zanchetta, G.; Vannière, B.; Desmet, M.; Magny, M.
Within the framework of the Tunisian – EC SALTO\\/AVICENNE project, four hydrological sections were performed between Tunisia, Sardinia and Sicily with a 10–20km sampling interval in April–June 1995. To our knowledge, it is the first time that sections were repeated there at such a high frequency. These data significantly increase the number of observations available on the Tunisian side of
C. Sammari; C. Millot; I. Taupierletage; A. Stefani; M. Brahim
In the present work, an analytical characterization of painted plaster samples coming from ancient buildings dated back to 2nd cent. B.C., located in Licata (Sicily, Southern Italy), has been carried out. The investigation has been performed through different spectroscopic techniques: X-ray fluorescence (XRF) using an handheld energy-dispersive XRF analyzer, scanning electron microscopy equipped with an Energy Dispersive Spectrometry microanalysis detector
Erica Aquilia; Germana Barone; Vincenza Crupi; Francesca Longo; Domenico Majolino; Paolo Mazzoleni; Valentina Venuti
We present a thorough review of the knowledge on the climate and environment in Sicily over the last 20 000 years, taking\\u000a into account results of several studies carried using terrestrial and marine records. We obtain a coherent framework of the\\u000a most important changes succeeded in the island, even if some points need further investigation.\\u000a \\u000a \\u000a All the reconstructions of surface
Alessandro Incarbona; Giuseppe Zarcone; Mauro Agate; Sergio Bonomo; Enrico Di Stefano; Federico Masini; Fabio Russo; Luca Sineo
Water samples collected from public drinking water supplies in Sicily were analysed for electric conductivity and for their\\u000a chloride, sulphate and nitrate contents. The samples were collected as uniformly as possible from throughout the Sicilian\\u000a territory, with an average sampling density of about one sample for every 7,600 inhabitants. Chloride contents that ranged\\u000a from 5.53 to 1,302 mg\\/l were correlated strongly
Walter D’Alessandro; Sergio Bellomo; Francesco Parello; Pietro Bonfanti; Lorenzo Brusca; Manfredi Longo; Roberto Maugeri
Hydrocarbon habitats on the Tunisia-Sicily shelf result from the complex interplay of three factors: (1) proximity to a source of terrigenous sediments, (2) eustatic sea level changes resulting in major transgressive/regressive events, and (3) a varied and ever-changing structural mosaic involving successive transtensional, transpressive, and compressional tectonic phases. The stratigraphy, structure, and petroleum resources of the shelf are linked, directly or indirectly, to the crustal template created during the middle Mesozoic rifting of the Tethyan margin of north Africa. Transtensional stretching and crustal fragmentation forming the Tunisia-Sicily passive margin occurred in the Late Triassic-Jurassic at the juncture of the South Saharan and Gibraltar shear zones, creating a complex array of ridges and furrows and localized pull-apart basins. During the Cretaceous and early Tertiary, the subsident block-faulted shelf was buried beneath a varied stratigraphy ranging from a thin pelagic limestone succession devoid of terrigenous components in Sicily to a considerably thicker neritic Tunisian succession composed of mixed terrigenous and carbonate strata. Beginning in the middle Cretaceous, the region experienced localized tectonic instability expressed as transtensional faulting, crustal inversion, salt diapirism, and submarine volcanism. The principal post-Paleozoic hydrocarbon habitats are (1) Triassic-Jurassic restricted pull-apart basins, (2) Cretaceous-early Tertiary structurally controlled shallow shelf edges, and (3) the late Cenozoic foredeep containing synorogenic clastic facies.
Schamel, S. (Univ. of South Carolina, Columbia (USA))
Due to their strategic geographic location between three different continents, Sicily and Southern Italy have long represented a major Mediterranean crossroad where different peoples and cultures came together over time. However, its multi-layered history of migration pathways and cultural exchanges, has made the reconstruction of its genetic history and population structure extremely controversial and widely debated. To address this debate, we surveyed the genetic variability of 326 accurately selected individuals from 8 different provinces of Sicily and Southern Italy, through a comprehensive evaluation of both Y-chromosome and mtDNA genomes. The main goal was to investigate the structuring of maternal and paternal genetic pools within Sicily and Southern Italy, and to examine their degrees of interaction with other Mediterranean populations. Our findings show high levels of within-population variability, coupled with the lack of significant genetic sub-structures both within Sicily, as well as between Sicily and Southern Italy. When Sicilian and Southern Italian populations were contextualized within the Euro-Mediterranean genetic space, we observed different historical dynamics for maternal and paternal inheritances. Y-chromosome results highlight a significant genetic differentiation between the North-Western and South-Eastern part of the Mediterranean, the Italian Peninsula occupying an intermediate position therein. In particular, Sicily and Southern Italy reveal a shared paternal genetic background with the Balkan Peninsula and the time estimates of main Y-chromosome lineages signal paternal genetic traces of Neolithic and post-Neolithic migration events. On the contrary, despite showing some correspondence with its paternal counterpart, mtDNA reveals a substantially homogeneous genetic landscape, which may reflect older population events or different demographic dynamics between males and females. Overall, both uniparental genetic structures and TMRCA estimates confirm the role of Sicily and Southern Italy as an ancient Mediterranean melting pot for genes and cultures.
Sarno, Stefania; Boattini, Alessio; Carta, Marilisa; Ferri, Gianmarco; Alu, Milena; Yao, Daniele Yang; Ciani, Graziella; Pettener, Davide; Luiselli, Donata
Due to their strategic geographic location between three different continents, Sicily and Southern Italy have long represented a major Mediterranean crossroad where different peoples and cultures came together over time. However, its multi-layered history of migration pathways and cultural exchanges, has made the reconstruction of its genetic history and population structure extremely controversial and widely debated. To address this debate, we surveyed the genetic variability of 326 accurately selected individuals from 8 different provinces of Sicily and Southern Italy, through a comprehensive evaluation of both Y-chromosome and mtDNA genomes. The main goal was to investigate the structuring of maternal and paternal genetic pools within Sicily and Southern Italy, and to examine their degrees of interaction with other Mediterranean populations. Our findings show high levels of within-population variability, coupled with the lack of significant genetic sub-structures both within Sicily, as well as between Sicily and Southern Italy. When Sicilian and Southern Italian populations were contextualized within the Euro-Mediterranean genetic space, we observed different historical dynamics for maternal and paternal inheritances. Y-chromosome results highlight a significant genetic differentiation between the North-Western and South-Eastern part of the Mediterranean, the Italian Peninsula occupying an intermediate position therein. In particular, Sicily and Southern Italy reveal a shared paternal genetic background with the Balkan Peninsula and the time estimates of main Y-chromosome lineages signal paternal genetic traces of Neolithic and post-Neolithic migration events. On the contrary, despite showing some correspondence with its paternal counterpart, mtDNA reveals a substantially homogeneous genetic landscape, which may reflect older population events or different demographic dynamics between males and females. Overall, both uniparental genetic structures and TMRCA estimates confirm the role of Sicily and Southern Italy as an ancient Mediterranean melting pot for genes and cultures. PMID:24788788
Sarno, Stefania; Boattini, Alessio; Carta, Marilisa; Ferri, Gianmarco; Alù, Milena; Yao, Daniele Yang; Ciani, Graziella; Pettener, Davide; Luiselli, Donata
We investigate crustal deformation along the Eurasia-Nubia plate boundary in Calabria and Sicily revealed by the GPS velocity field obtained by the combination of continuous site velocities with previous results from episodic campaigns. We recognize two distinct crustal domains characterized by different motions and styles of deformation. Convergence in Sicily is taken up by crustal shortening along the former Tyrrhenian
Nicola D’Agostino; Giulio Selvaggi
Gas-Charged Sediments Within the Hyblean Plateu Seismo-Stratigraphic Sequence and Associated Likely Shallow Mud-Volacanoes Seafloor Features Offshore Southern Sicily (Sicily Channel - Mediterranean Sea)
A shallow province of small-scale likely mud-volcanoes (MVs) seafloor features was recently discovered few miles offshore south-eastern Sicily (Holland et al., 2003) over the Hyblean-Malta plateau (Sicily-channel - Mediterranean sea), on an area whose surface might be over 100 square km and in a bathymetric range comprised between -100 and -200m. Such discovery promoted the National multidisciplinary programm MESC (Mud volcanoes Ecosystem study - Sicily Channel) aimed to provide a detailed acoustic mapping of the area (Savini et al., 2006) and focused water and sediment samples to study the ecosystem response to such geological phenomena. The main data set thus collected, during three different cruises carried out by the Italian R/V UNIVERSITATIS by mean of acoustic survey techniques, including new multibeam bathymetric data, side- scan sonar mosaics, a dense network of chirp-sonar profiles and focused multi-tip sparker profiles, is here presented. The detailed seafloor topography and the side scan sonar mosaic well show the occurrence of a field of more than 100 small scale conical and sub-conical seabed features, few meters high. Their morphologies, their strong acoustic scattering and the presence over them of distinct gas plumes, are foremost distinctive proprieties that liken them to MVs. Such filed consists of single and composite MVs arranged on the seafloor in two main different styles: 1) several conical features 50 - 200m in diameter, preferentially aligned along the isobaths 2) numerous close-set small cones no more than 10m in diameter, settled within well defined, flat, elongated areas (the largest one reaches 2000m in its long axis and 500m in its short axis) rising up to 10m from the seafloor. The acoustic character of the sediments in the chirp and sparker records indicates that such features are gas charged, because of the presence of numerous acoustic anomalies (i.e.: acoustic turbidity zones, wipe outs, gas pockets, enhanced reflectors...). In particular, the identified gas-related seafloor features are associated to sub- surface structures formed within a gas accumulative horizon covered by a variable thickness of sediments. This gas accumulative horizon has been found in association to a marked unconformity resembles the last trasgressive surface at the boundary between the Holocene and the Pleistocene sediments. Such gas-charged horizon has been used to map the depth of the free gas within the seafloor sediments. The depth of this "gas- front" is variable and domes up to the seafloor where MVs morphologies are found at the surface, often showing gas plumes (up to 20m high) at their top.
Savini, A.; Tessarolo, C.; Corselli, C.
In southern Italy, strongly uplifted coastal regions are located along the footwall of the main seismogenic fault segments which affect the Tyrrhenian side of southern Calabria and the Ionian coast of eastern Sicily. This morphotectonic picture is generally associated with high-level historical seismicity. An anomaly is represented by the Ionian coast of NE Sicily that, located on the footwall of the offshore Taormina Fault, is affected by very low to absent historical seismicity. A detailed levelling survey of dated Holocene marine notches has been carried out along the coast of Taormina and Capo S. Alessio, at the southern termination of the Taormina Fault, where a converging set of Late Quaternary strandlines marks the tip of this offshore structure. The Holocene marine marks, represented by three main notch levels separated by lithophaga bands dated at 5 ka and post-3.2 ka, are severely tilted towards the onshore and show a clear divergence from the southern tip of the Taormina Fault towards the north. Taking into account the slow rate of sea-level rise characterising the Central Mediterranean during the last 5 ka (0.3-1.0 mm/year), the vertical distribution of the Holocene strandlines can be interpreted as the result of short-period variations in the rate of tectonic uplifting. The notches and their related bio-morphological bands developed at low-rate of uplifting and have been displaced by three major seismic events in the past 5 ka, the strongest of which ( M˜7) occurred at about 3.2 ka. This confirms the temporary seismic gap for the Taormina Fault and strongly suggests that the seismogenic potential of this sector of Sicily needs to be re-evaluated.
De Guidi, Giorgio; Catalano, Stefano; Monaco, Carmelo; Tortorici, Luigi
Straits in the Mediterranean Sea are key areas for the characterisation of the water exchange between sub-basins. The physical properties of the water masses flowing through the Sicily Strait have been monitored since 1993 and the data analysis elucidated the seasonal and interannual variability of the fluxes and the changes in the water mass characteristics induced by the Eastern Mediterranean Transient. More recently, the monitoring at the Sicily Strait was extended to the concentration of nutrients and conservative tracers (in particular 137Cs) to identify the chemical signature of the waters leaving the Eastern Mediterranean, its modification along the pathway through the Channel and the characteristics of the water masses finally entering the Western Mediterranean. We present here the results of two oceanographic campaigns conducted in November 1999 and in October 2001, and in particular the distribution of nitrates, and silicates along two transects, crossing the Eastern and the Western border of the Sicily Strait and discuss it together with the physical properties of the water masses. The vertical profiles of 137Cs have also been determined at a few stations, collecting samples representative of the different water masses. Maximum nutrient concentrations characterise the transitional Eastern Mediterranean Deep Water (tEMDW). The mean concentrations were around 6 and 6.5 mmol kg-1 for nitrates and silicates respectively, and there were not significant differences between the Eastern and the Western border of the strait. Slightly lower where the mean concentrations of both nitrate and silicates in the Levantine Intermediate Water (LIW), where the range of the levels was considerably larger. An inverse trend was shown by the conservative radionuclide 137Cs whose vertical profiles in the strait and in the adjacent Ionian Sea show maximum levels around 3 Bq m-3 in the upper layer (Modified Atlantic Water, MAW and LIW) and a minimum of about 1.5 Bq m-3 in the tEMDW.
Tangherlini, M.; Bacciola, D.; Borghini, M.; Cerrati, G.; Delfanti, R.; Difesca, V.; Gasparini, G.; Salvi, S.; Papucci, C.; Ribera D'Alcalà, M.
Water samples collected from public drinking water supplies in Sicily were analysed for electric conductivity and for their chloride, sulphate and nitrate contents. The samples were collected as uniformly as possible from throughout the Sicilian territory, with an average sampling density of about one sample for every 7,600 inhabitants. Chloride contents that ranged from 5.53 to 1,302 mg/l were correlated strongly with electric conductivity, a parameter used as a proxy for water salinity. The highest values are attributable to seawater contamination along the coasts of the island. High chloride and sulphate values attributable to evaporitic rock dissolution were found in the central part of Sicily. The nitrate concentrations ranged from 0.05 to 296 mg/l, with 31 samples (4.7% of the total) exceeding the maximum admissible concentration of 50 mg/l. Anomalous samples always came from areas of intensive agricultural usage, indicating a clear anthropogenic origin. The same parameters were also measured in bottled water sold in Sicily, and they all were within the ranges for public drinking water supplies. The calculated mean nitrate intake from consuming public water supplies (16.1 mg/l) did not differ significantly from that of bottled water (15.2 mg/l). Although the quality of public water supplies needs to be improved by eliminating those that do not comply with the current drinking water limits, at present it does not justify the high consumption of bottled water (at least for nitrate contents). PMID:21717203
D'Alessandro, Walter; Bellomo, Sergio; Parello, Francesco; Bonfanti, Pietro; Brusca, Lorenzo; Longo, Manfredi; Maugeri, Roberto
Soil radon has been monitored at a fixed location on the northeastern flank of Mt. Etna, a high-risk volcano in Sicily. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of the recent volcanic activity on soil radon concentration. Continuous radon measurements have been performed since July 2001. While comparison between the trend in in-soil radon concentration and the acquired meteorological series (temperature, humidity and pressure) appear to confirm a general seasonal correlation, nevertheless particular anomalies suggest a possible dependence of the radon concentration on volcanic dynamics. PMID:16413194
Immè, G; La Delfa, S; Lo Nigro, S; Morelli, D; Patanè, G
A dense water vein, i.e., the Eastern Mediterranean Deep Water (EMDW), which flows westward along the bottom of the Sicily Channel (Mediterranean Sea)shows an unexpected cross-channel tilting of the deep water interface around the main sill of the Channel. From cross-stream averages of the EMDW thickness and velocity, we here discuss a new diagnostic model for vertical vorticity (?) and potential vorticity (?) of this deep flow, and its cross-stream profile properties. Our model takes into account friction and mixing, which are important features for current crossing marine straits. We find that, approaching the main sill of the Sicily Channel, the current vorticity decreases because of sea bottom topography and friction, reaching large negative values over the Channel main sill. Downstream of the sill, the vorticity of the vein increases again reaching usual values. We demonstrate that friction tends to decrease ?as long as ? is positive but, once ?gecomes negative, the corresponding ?has a remarkable increase due to strong bottom friction in the sill region. These diagnoses on ? and ?for deep flow allow one to gain general insights on the stability, path and cross-sectional structure of deep currents flowing along straits, as well as on some morphodynamic features that may result from the interaction between the bottom current and the seafloor.
Falcini, Federico; Salusti, Ettore
We analysed in situ CTD data collected on 36 joint Tunisian-Italian oceanographic cruises in the Tunisia-Sicily Channel (Cap Bon-Mazara del Vallo section) from 1995 to 2009 in order to identify the water masses in the region and to estimate the interannual variability of their hydrological characteristics. Besides the well-known AW (Atlantic Water) and LIW (Levantine Intermediate Water), other water masses have been identified though their presence is neither as steady nor as stable as the aforementioned ones. The WIW (Western Intermediate Water) flows beneath the AW towards the eastern basin while the IW (Ionian Water), with a highly intermittent character, flows within the subsurface layer towards the western basin. The flow of subsurface water (WIW and IW) is affected by intense mixing which modifies the water masses, tending to make them disappear. Moreover, the same hydrological time series produced interesting results concerning the increase in both temperature and salinity in the Tunisia-Sicily Channel. This trend especially concerns the deeper layers (LIW and tEMDW, i.e. transitional Eastern Mediterranean Deep Water) and we hypothesise that this is a direct response to climatic change occurring in the eastern basin.
Ben Ismail, Sana; Schroeder, Katrin; Sammari, Chérif; Gasparini, Gian Pietro; Borghini, Mireno; Aleya, Lotfi
Vertical electrical sounding (VES’) surveys and chemical analyses of groundwater have been executed in the coastal plain of Acquedolci (Northern Sicily), with the aim to circumscribe seawater intrusion phenomena. This urbanized area is representative of a more general problem interesting most of Mediterranean littoral areas, where intensive overdraft favors a heavy seawater intrusion through the coastline. Aquifer resistivity seems decisively to be conditioned by the chlorine and magnesium content in the main aquifer of the region. Schlumberger VES’, together with piezometric and chemical-physical information of groundwater, allowed us to perform hydrogeological and geophysical elaborations, to propose the occurrence of a relatively narrow belt marked by fresh-salt water mixing. In the considered plain, pollution risk studies have been already realized by authors with the proposal to identify—by parametric and synthetic zoning of significant hydrogeological elements—the most vulnerable sectors. In detail, an intrinsic vulnerability mapping has been already performed, applying the well-known SINTACS system. This paper intends to give—in this sector of Sicily—an example of integration of different methodologies, showing the role of geophysics to describe the degradation of aquifers on the whole as well as to assess their pollution risk better.
Cimino, A.; Cosentino, C.; Oieni, A.; Tranchina, L.
In a recent epidemiological study, researchers investigated mortality from malignant pleural neoplasms in Italy, and they detected some geographic clusters of cases of this disease. We found a town located in a volcanic area of eastern Sicily to be of special interest. The residents, some of whom were diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, had never had any relevant exposure to asbestos
Luigi Paoletti; Domenico Batisti; Caterina Bruno; Maurizio Di Paola; Antonio Gianfagna; Marino Mastrantonio; Massimo Nesti; Pietro Comba
Based on shell characters, two new species of the gastropod family Trochidae, Jujubinus eleonorae n. sp. and Jujubinus trilloi n. sp., from the Sicily Channel are described. Shells of the new taxa were collected in the lower infralittoral of the Skerki and Talbot Banks, respectively. The new taxa are compared with Jujubinus curinii Bogi & Campani, 2005, morphologically the most closely related species. PMID:24943636
Smriglio, Carlo; Di Giulio, Andrea; Mariottini, Paolo
Detailed mapping of Holocene shorelines outcropping a few meters above the present sea-level at Capo Milazzo, the main headland of NE Sicily, supplied evidence of the interplay between abrupt and steady uplift. Field analysis revealed two shorelines at distinct elevations, which were characterized through position and radiometric dating of geomorphologic and biological sea-level markers. The upper shoreline is represented by
G. Scicchitano; C. R. Spampinato; L. Ferranti; F. Antonioli; C. Monaco; M. Capano; C. Lubritto
Thermal Infrared Multispectral Scanner (TIMS) data were acquired over Mount Etna, Sicily, on 29 July 1986. The volcanic activity at that time was characterized by the steady effusion of gas from the Bocca Nuova (BN), Chasm, and Southeast craters. The Nort...
V. J. Realmuto
A strong correlation between the amplitude of volcanic tremor and the flux of SO2 has been found at Mount Etna volcano, Sicily, corresponding to enhanced volcanic activity in the period 1987-1995. We therefore suggest that tremors and SO2 emissions have a common physical origin linked to the magma dynamics of the volcano.
Sabrina Leonardi; Stefano Gresta; Francesco Mulargia
Abstract Ecosystems comprising coastal lakes and ponds are important areas for preserving biodiversity. The natural reserve “Saline di Trapani e Paceco” is an interesting natural area in Sicily, formed by the remaining strips of land among salt pans near the coastline. From January 2008 to January 2010, pitfall trapping was conducted in five sampling sites inside the study area. The community of terrestrial isopods was assessed using the main diversity indices. Twenty-four species were collected, only one of them endemic to western Sicily: Porcellio siculoccidentalis Viglianisi, Lombardo & Caruso, 1992. Two species are new to Sicily: Armadilloniscus candidus Budde-Lund, 1885 and Armadilloniscus ellipticus (Harger, 1878). This is high species richness for a single reserve in Sicily. The extended sampling period also allowed us to study species phenology. Most of the species exhibited higher activity in spring than in autumn while some species also exhibited lower activity in the summer. The species richness revealed that the study area is in an acceptable conservation status; Shannon and Pielou indices also confirmed a more or less even distribution of individuals belonging to different species.
Messina, Giuseppina; Pezzino, Elisa; Montesanto, Giuseppe; Caruso, Domenico; Lombardo, Bianca Maria
Within the central Mediterranean, the northwestern sector of the Sicily Channel is the unique area where two independent tectonic processes can be analyzed: the building of the Sicilian-Maghrebian Chain occurred in Late Miocene and the continental lithospheric rifting of the northern African margin occurred since Early Pliocene. These two geodynamic processes generated a peculiar structural style that is largely recognizable in the Adventure Plateau. This plateau is the shallowest part of the Sicily Channel, where water depths do not generally exceed 150 m. It hosts several areas of geomorphic relief, which in some cases rise up to less than 20 m beneath sea-level. A series of submarine magmatic manifestations occur in this area, mainly associated with the extensional phase which produced the rift-related depressions of Pantelleria, Malta and Linosa. Seismic-stratigraphic and structural analyses, based on a large set of multichannel seismic reflection profiles and well information acquired mostly for commercial purposes in the 1970s and 1980s, have allowed us to reconstruct the Triassic-Quaternary sedimentary succession of the Adventure Plateau and define its structural setting. A broad lithological distinction can be made between the successions ranging from Triassic to Paleogene, predominantly carbonate, and the successions ranging from Miocene to Quaternary, predominantly siliciclastic. Three main structural belts have been identified within the Adventure Plateau: (1) the northern belt, affected during Late Miocene time by ESE-verging thrusts belonging to the External Thrust System orogenic domain, which represents the lowermost structural level of the Sicilian-Maghrebian Orogen; (2) the Apenninic-Maghrebian domain of the Sicilian-Maghrebian Orogen, which occupies the northwestern sector of the Adventure Plateau, and that is overthrusted on the External Thrust System orogenic domain during the Late Miocene; (3) the extensional belt of the southwestern sector of the Adventure Plateau, affected by broad NW-trending, high-angle normal faults associated with the Early Pliocene continental rifting phase. The eastern boundary of the Adventure Plateau corresponds to a broadly N-S trending lithospheric transfer zone separating two sectors of the Sicily Channel characterized by a different tectonic evolution.
Civile, D.; Lodolo, E.; Alp, H.; Ben-Avraham, Z.; Cova, A.; Baradello, L.; Accettella, D.; Burca, M.; Centonze, J.
Vector (911 light-trap catches from 269 sites) and serological surveillance data were obtained during recent bluetongue (BT) outbreaks in Sicily. The distributions of Culicoides vectors are compared with that of bluetongue virus (BTV) to determine the relative role of different vectors in BTV transmission in Sicily. The 'best' climatic predictors of distribution for each vector species were selected from 40 remotely-sensed variables and altitude at a 1 km spatial resolution using discriminant analysis. These models were used to predict species presence in unsampled pixels across Italy. Although Culicoides imicola, the main European vector, was found in only 12% of sites, there was close correspondence between its spatial distribution and that of the 2000 and 2001 outbreaks. All three candidate vectors C. pulicaris, C. newsteadi and C. obsoletus group were widespread across 2002 outbreak sites but C. newsteadi was significantly less prevalent in outbreak versus non-outbreak sites in Messina and BTV has been isolated from wild-caught adults of both C. pulicaris and C. obsoletus in Italy. The yearly distribution and intensity of outbreaks is attributable to the distribution and abundance of the vectors operating in each year. Outbreaks were few and coastal in 2000 and 2001 due to the low abundance and prevalence of the vector, C. imicola. They were numerous and widespread in 2002, following hand-over of the virus to more prevalent and abundant novel vector species, C. pulicaris and C. obsoletus. Climatic determinants of distribution were species-specific, with those of C. obsoletus group and C. newsteadi predicted by temperature variables, and those of C. pulicaris and C. imicola determined mainly by normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI), a variable correlated with soil moisture, vegetation biomass and productivity. The predicted continuous presence of C. pulicaris along the Appenine mountains, from north to south Italy, suggests BTV transmission may be possible in a large proportion of this region and that seasonal transhumance between C. imicola-free areas should not generally be considered safe. Future distribution models for C. imicola in Sicily should include non-climatic environmental variables that may influence breeding site suitability such as soil type. PMID:20419683
Purse, B V; Caracappa, S; Marino, A M F; Tatem, A J; Rogers, D J; Mellor, P S; Baylis, M; Torina, A
Shallow landslide and debris flows are among the most dangerous natural hazards triggered by extreme meteorological events. These phenomena have recently caused catastrophic scenarios in Italy (e.g. in Sarno-Quindici and Giampilieri) and, according to expected changes in the climate pattern, an increasing frequency of these phenomena is expected. The aim of this research is to assess the debris flow susceptibility in the Giampilieri area (Sicily) using a spatially-distributed debris flow runout model based on topographic information. The application of the model starts with the identification of the source areas from which debris flows are propagated on the basis of frictional laws and flow direction algorithms. The area selected for this study is located in the Ionian sector of the Peloritanian area in Sicily, in the South part of Messina (Sicily) and includes the villages of Giampilieri, Briga Itala and Scaletta Zanclea. There, the 1stOctober 2009 thousands of debris and mud flows were activated by a cumulative rainfall of about 160 mm in 6 hours, which followed two previous rainfalls events occurred on16th September (76 mm in six hours) and 23rd - 24th September (190 mm in 10 hours). Among the catchments hit by the 2009 event, the Giampilieri basin (10 km2) has been chosen as sub area in order to set the algorithms for the spreading assessment and the friction parameters of the model. In this catchment, a complete inventory of the source areas and accumulation zone was created by photointerpretation of post event images. Moreover, volume and velocity estimations of the mobilized material have been carried out. The susceptibility was evaluated using the source areas of the 2009 event and its accuracy was estimated by the comparison of the results with the accumulation areas and the velocity and volume estimated. In a second step we performed the analysis at the medium scale on the whole area hit by the 2009 event using the parameters calibrated on the Giampilieri basin. The presented approach of debris ?ow susceptibility analysis demonstrates that a simple assessment of the debris ?ow spreading calculated using defined source areas and calibrated on past events, provided good results for consequent hazard and risk studies.
Cama, Mariaelena; Malet, Jean-Philippe; Mathieu, Alexandre; Remaître, Alexandre; Rotigliano, Edoardo
Pratylenchus lentis n. sp. parasitizing roots of lentil in Sicily, Italy, is described and illustrated. The new species is characterized by a relatively high lip region with three annuli, mean stylet length of 16 ?m, with anteriorly flattened knobs, cylindrical body with a relatively anterior vulva, large and ovoid spermatheca full of sperm, plump tail with truncate, irregularly annulated terminus, and by the presence of males. Molecular ITS-RFLP and sequencing analyses of the new species showed clear differences from other most morphologically similar species, such as P. thornei and P. mediterraneus. Preliminary host range tests revealed that chickpea, pea, faba bean and durum wheat are good hosts of P. lentis n. sp., whereas common bean, alfalfa and barley are less robust hosts and tomato, bell pepper, eggplant, melon and sunflower are poor hosts for the nematode.
De Luca, F.; Handoo, Z. A.; Di Vito, M.
Forensic and archaeological examinations of human skeletons can provide us with evidence of violence. In this paper, we present the patterns of two cranial lesions found on an adult male (T173) buried in a grave in the necropolis 'Isolato 96', Messina, Sicily, dating back to the Roman Empire (1st century BC - 1st century AD). The skull reveals two perimortem traumatic lesions, one produced by a sharp object on the right parietal bone and the other one on the left parietal bone, presumably the result of a fall. The interpretation of fracture patterns found in this cranium are an illustration of how forensic approaches can be applied with great benefit to archaeological specimens. PMID:24237811
Messina, Andrea Dario; Carotenuto, Giuseppe; Miccichè, Roberto; Sìneo, Luca
The 1991-1993 lava flow is the most voluminous flow erupted at Mount Etna, Sicily, in over 300 years. Estimates of the volume obtained by various methods range from 205×106m3 (Tanguy 1996) to over 500×106m3 (Barberi et al. 1993). This paper describes the results of an electronic distance measurement (EDM)-based field survey of the upper surface of the 1991-1993 flow field undertaken in 1995. The results were digitised, interpolated and converted into a digital elevation model and then compared with a pre-eruption digital elevation model, constructed from a 1 : 25 000 contour map of the area, based on 1989 aerial photographs. Our measurements are the most accurate to date and show that the 1991-1993 lava flow occupies a volume of 231+/-29×106m3.
Stevens, Nicki F.; Murray, John B.; Wadge, Geoff
Recently, in the province of Trapani (Western Sicily), some overwintering specimens of the argasid tick Argos (Persicargas) persicus (Oken, 1818) were observed and collected. Morphological and genetic analysis were utilized in order to reach a definitive identification. The species was found in two semi-natural sites where, having been found repeatedly, its presence does not appear accidental. Moreover the characteristics of the Sicilian findings seem to exclude a human-induced spread. This record, the first regarding Sicily and South Italy, is discussed together with the previous doubtful citations for Italy. These findings revalue not only all the old citations for Italy but also the hypothesis that the Mediterranean distribution of this argasid is of a natural origin. PMID:21275242
Pantaleoni, R A; Baratti, M; Barraco, L; Contini, C; Cossu, C S; Filippelli, M T; Loru, L; Romano, M
The monitoring of seismic activity inSoutheastern Sicily (Italy) has beenrecently improved by a digital seismicnetwork. This effort has produced ahomogeneous and complete dataset which weused to define a reference 1-D velocitymodel. We have inverted P- and S-wavearrival times from 51 selected localearthquakes by using several initialvelocity and layer thickness models. Then,the range of possible velocity modelsobtained was tested with earthquakelocations
Carla Musumeci; Giuseppe Di Grazia; Stefano Gresta
Numerous archaeological sites dating to the greek-roman period have been found in the underground of the city of Catania (eastern\\u000a Sicily, Italy). Their presence is a testimony of the several settlements that have followed in this area over time. In this\\u000a work we have conducted electromagnetic surveys, consisting of ten georadar profiles, inside the church of “S. Agata alla Badia”,
S. Imposa; F. Barone; S. Gresta; A. Leone
Seismic wave attenuation in southeastern Sicily was investigated by using a data set of about 180 local earthquakes (1.5 <=ML<= 4.6) recorded in the period 1994-2003. We first estimated the quality factor of S waves (QS) and clarified its frequency dependence by means of the coda-normalization method, applied in the frequency range 1.5-15 Hz. The average QS as function of
E. Giampiccolo; T. Tuvè; S. Gresta; D. Patanè
In the last 1000 years southeastern Sicily was struck by large seismic events (1169, 1542, 1693, 1757, 1846 and 1990). Following the 1990 earthquake (Ml=5.4), the monitoring of seismic activity of the iblean foreland has been improved by nine 3-C digital seismic stations run by INGV (Sezione di Catania). As inferred from the records of the years 1994-2002, the seismic
C. Musumeci; L. Scarfi; D. Patane; S. Gresta
This paper describes an epizootic of the entomopathogenic fungusNeozygites parvispora occurring in a population ofFrankliniella occidentalis in a pepper crop under plastic-house, in south-eastern Sicily (Italy). The progress of the epizootic in the thrips population\\u000a was monitored weekly, from December 1990 to April 1991. Infections ofN. parvispora caused up to more than 60% mortality of the mobile developmental stages of
V. Vacante; S. O. Cacciola; A. M. Pennisi
The Wadati-Benioff zone under Calabria and the Tyrrhenian Sea is located in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, a region characterized by complex tectonics. The presence of deep earthquakes under the Tyrrhenian Sea to a depth of 500 km, depicting an Ionian slab dipping about 70° towards the NW (Selvaggi and Chiarabba, 95), related with an active volcanic arc (the Aeolian Islands). The Calabrian peninsula is among the most seismically active regions in the Mediterranean area. Several historical seismic events, such as 1169 and 1693 earthquakes, reached MCS intensities of XI and are associated with destructive tsunami (Piatanesi and Tinti, 1998). The source of these two strongest earthquakes has still not been identified with certainty. The 1693 earthquake struck Eastern Sicily (60000 people killed) and generated a 5-10 m high tsunami (Piatanesi and Tinti, 1998). The 1169 earthquake had similar intensities and a comparable isoseismal pattern, suggesting an equivalent source. Because of the tsunami generated in 1693 and because the isoseismals are open to the sea, the source region appears to be offshore. The subduction fault plane would then be a good candidate for the 1693 event. However, a lack of instrumentally recorded thrust earthquakes, characteristic of active subduction zone, suggests that if subduction is active, the fault plane may be locked since the instrumental period. Reported recent GPS motions suggest that the subduction of the Ionian lithosphere beneath the Tyrrhenian basin plays an minor role in controlling the active deformation of the Eurasia-Nubia plate boundary, but may be locally still active in particular in the Calabrian arc (D'Agostino et al., 08). Moreover the offshore accretionary wedge is known to include compressional anticlines and ongoing hydrological activity (mud volcanoes). We present preliminary results from reprocessed 96-channels seismic reflection profiles acquired during the French "Archimede" cruise (1997) crossing the Calabrian prism, the Ionian Abyssal Plain and the Mediterranean Ridge. A more recent Italian seismic cruise "Calamare" investigated the lateral boundaries of the Calabrian prism. The joint interpretation of these datasets will allow us to seek evidence of continuous tectonic activity of the system, in particular of the Malta-Hyblean escarpment which is also proposed as a candidate source for great earthquakes offshore Sicily (Bianca et al., 99). Additional work is in progress, including a CIRCEE cruise proposal (an OBS + MCS seismic survey, with sediment coring and heat-flow measurements). The objectives are : 1/ to image the deep structure of this subduction zone, 2/ to characterize its thermal state, 3) to determine a geometry of the seismogenic part of the plate interface and 4) to address the recurrence interval for large earthquakes.
Gallais, F.; Gutscher, M.-A.; Graindorge, D.; Polonia, A.
Catania lies on the eastern coast of Sicily and is one of the most important towns in Sicily as regards history, tourism and industry. Recent analyses conducted in the frame of the project TRANSFER have shown that it is exposed not only to tsunamis generated locally, but also to distant tsunamis generated in the western Hellenic arc. In the frame of the European project SCHEMA different scenarios covering local sources such as the 11 January 1693 event and the 1908 case as well as remote sources such as the 365 AD tsunami have been explored through numerical modelling in order to assess the vulnerability of the area to tsunami attacks. One of the primary outcomes of the scenario analysis is the quantification of the inundation zones (location, extension along the coast and landward). Taking the modelling results on flooding as input data, the analysis has focussed on the geomorphological characteristics of the coasts and on the buildings and infrastructure typology to make evaluation of the vulnerability level of the Catania area. The coast to the south of the harbour of Catania is low and characterized by a mild slope: topography reaches the altitude of 10 m between 300-750 m distance from the shoreline. Building density is low, and generally tourist structures prevail on residential houses. The zone north of the harbour is high-coast, with 10 m isoline usually close to the coastline, and little possibility for flood to penetrate deep inland. Here there are three small marinas with the corresponding services and infrastructure around, and the city quarters consists of residential buildings. Vulnerability assessment has been carried out by following the methodology developed by the SCHEMA consortium, distinguishing between primary (type and material) and secondary criteria (e.g. ground, age, foundation, orientation, etc.) for buildings, and by adopting a building damage matrix, basically depending on building type and water inundation depth. Data needed for such analysis have been retrieved from satellite images such as Google and validated through ad hoc local surveys with the collaboration of the local civil protection agency.
Pagnoni, Gianluca; Tinti, Stefano; Gallazzi, Sara; Tonini, Roberto; Zaniboni, Filippo
Chaotic mass-flow deposition is common along both active and passive margins; however, limited information about the internal structure and stratigraphy is available for these submarine deposits. Primary Lower Gypsum was deposited in shallow basins on top of the accretionary wedge along the convergent margin of southern Sicily between 5.96 and 5.6 Ma. These wedge-top evaporites were subsequently eroded via mass-wasting and redeposited as clastic gypsum in the foredeep. The exhumed Late-Miocene Sicilian foredeep basin provides an accessible on-shore record of this mass-wasting process. Evaporites associated with the Messinian Salinity Crisis (MSC) are widespread throughout the Mediterranean region. The Sicilian Messinian stratigraphy is composed of two evaporitic units. The lower of these, (Lower Gypsum (LG)), includes both shallow-water, Primary Lower Gypsum (PLG) and deep-water, Resedimented Lower Gypsum (RLG). In the western Caltanissetta Basin, the RLG includes chaotic, non-bedded bodies containing disarticulated cm- to km-blocks of massive selenite gypsum, bedded gypsum mass-flows, and gypsum turbidites. The resedimented components were derived from the dismantlement of PLG along basin margins. Previous studies suggest that major sections of the PLG, both in the northern Apennines and Sicily, underwent large-scale mass-wasting processes and that the chaotic bodies in the RLG are gravitationally driven mass-flow deposits (olistostromes). The olistoliths within the RLG have a well-defined stratigraphy that can be correlated back to in-place sections. We investigated the distribution of these blocks to reveal the deposit's internal structure and possible block emplacement mechanisms. Field mapping and satellite imagery were used to map the size, shape, and block distribution in order to establish dimensional and spatial patterns of block disruption. The stratigraphy and orientation of each major block was also determined to estimate dispersal patterns and possible temporal or stratigraphic sub-groupings. On the basis of work to date, we hypothesize that the blocks slid out onto the basin floor and were buried by younger, deep-water sediments, which are now being eroded to exhume original seafloor topography created by the emplaced blocks.
Thress, R. J.; Cowan, D. S.; Lugli, S.; Manzi, V.; Roveri, M.; Schreiber, C.
The Sicily Channel continental rift is located in the African Plate and is submerged by a shallow sea extending from the northern coast of Africa to the southern coast of Sicily (southern Italy). The area is affected by an extensional regime since early Pliocene, which thins the continental crust and produces NW-SE oriented Pantelleria, Linosa and Malta grabens. The rift-related volcanic activity is represented by Pantelleria and Linosa Islands and a series of magmatic manifestations roughly NNE-SSW aligned, from Linosa Island to the Nameless Bank, in proximity of the Sicilian coast. Recent rapid magmatic ascents occurred along the strip near to the Sicilian coast in a region named Graham Bank. The NNE-SSW strip has already been recognised as a separation belt between the western sector of the rift (Pantelleria graben) and the eastern one (Linosa and Malta grabens). Seismic profiles suggest the presence of near vertical structures associated with strike slip fault zones. Bathymetric data show a 15-20 km wide zone characterised by several shallow basins irregularly alternated by topographic highs. However, evidences of a N-S or NNE-SSW orientated faults have not been found. In this work we re-localised the instrumental seismicity recorded between 1981 and 2012 in the Sicily Channel and western Sicily using the Double Difference method (Waldhauser, 2001, 2012) and 3D Vp and Vs models (Calò et al., 2013). The statistical analysis of the relocated seismicity together with the study of seismic energy release distribution allows us to describe the main patterns associated with the active faults in the western Sicily Straits. Here we find that most of the events in the Sicily Channel are highly clustered between 12.5°- 13.5°E and 35.5°-37°N with hypocentral depth between 5-40 km, reaching in some cases 70 km of depth. Seismic events seem to be aligned along a sub-vertical shear zone that is long at least 250 km and oriented approximately NNE-SSW. The spatial distribution of seismic moment shows that this transfer fault zone is seismically discontinuous. A large seismic gap is present in proximity of Graham and Nameless banks suggesting that the strain energy accumulation is differently accommodated along the transfer zone. Our observations represent new elements for the open discussion of the genesis of the Sicily Channel continental rift and the geodynamic of the western Africa-Eurasia plate boundary. References. Calò, M, Parisi, L., Luzio, D., 2013. Lithospheric P- and S-wave velocity models of the Sicilian area using WAM tomography: procedure and assessments. Geophysical Journal International. In press. Waldhauser, F., 2001. hypoDD -- A program to compute double-difference hypocenter locations, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 01-113. Waldhauser, F., 2012. HYPODD Version 2.1 beta.
Parisi, L.; Calo, M.
We reply to the comments of Beccaluva et al. (2013) on the paper "A crustal-upper mantle model for southeastern Sicily (Italy) from the integration of petrologic and geophysical data" by Manuella et al. (2013). We entirely reject their speculative comments and strongly confirm our viewpoint on the aged oceanic nature of the lithospheric basement of southeastern Sicily and its offshore area.
Manuella, Fabio C.; Brancato, Alfonso; Carbone, Serafina; Gresta, Stefano
In the Rocca Busambra area (mid-west Sicily, Italy), from November 1999 to July 2002, 23 water points including wells and springs were sampled and studied for their chemical and isotopic compositions. Two rain gauges were also installed at different altitudes, and rainwater was collected monthly to determine the isotopic composition. The obtained results revealed the Rocca Busambra carbonate complex as being the main recharge area on account of its high permeability value. From a chemical view point, two main groups of water can be distinguished: calcium-magnesium-bicarbonate-type and calcium-magnesium-chloride-sulphate-type waters. The first group reflects the dissolution of the carbonate rocks; the second group probably originates from circulation within flyschoid sediments. Three water wells differ from the other samples due to their relatively high Na and K content, which probably is to be referred to a marked interaction with the “Calcareniti di Corleone” formation, which is rich in glauconite [(K, Na)(Fe3+, Al, Mg)2(Si, Al)4O10(OH)2]. In accordance with WHO guidelines for drinking water (2004), almost all the samples collected can be considered drinkable, with the exception of four of them, whose NO3 -, F- and Na+ contents exceed the limits. On the contrary, the sampled groundwater studied is basically suitable for irrigation.
Fontana, M.; Grassa, F.; Cusimano, G.; Favara, R.; Hauser, S.; Scaletta, C.
The present study aimed to examine the factors associated with increased Mediterranean diet (MD) adherence among a sample of Italian adolescents. A cross-sectional survey was conducted on 1135 students (13–16 years) attending 13 secondary schools of Sicily, southern Italy. Validated instruments were used for dietary assessment and the KIDMED score to assess adolescents’ adherence to the MD. A higher adherence to the MD was associated with high socioeconomic status (Odds Ratio [OR] 1.53, 95% Confidence Interval [CI]: 1.03–2.26) and high physical activity (OR 1.19, 95% CI: 1.02–1.70), whereas lower adherence was associated with living in an urban environment (OR 0.65, 95% CI: 0.44–0.97) and being obese (OR 0.59, 95% CI: 0.37–0.94). The adolescents’ KIDMED scores were inversely associated with adolescents’ intake of sweets, fast foods, fried foods, and sugary drinks, and directly with fruit, vegetables, pasta, fish, and cheese intakes. Urban-living adolescents were less likely to eat fruit and more prone to consume meat, sugary drinks, and fast food than rural-living adolescents. The latter were more likely to eat sweets and snacks. A general poor quality of food consumption in Italian adolescents away from the MD was reported, especially among those living in urban areas.
Grosso, Giuseppe; Marventano, Stefano; Buscemi, Silvio; Scuderi, Alessandro; Matalone, Margherita; Platania, Alessio; Giorgianni, Gabriele; Rametta, Stefania; Nolfo, Francesca; Galvano, Fabio; Mistretta, Antonio
The emerged and submerged coastal tracts of selected areas in NW Sicily (San Vito Lo Capo Promontory and Marettimo Island in the Egadi Archipelago) have been studied by means of an interdisciplinary approach (geomorphological and neotectonic surveys, palaeontological, depositional and petrographical observations) with the aim to characterize the coastal evolution of the sector over a wide time frame (Late Pleistocene and Holocene) and to recognize the geological indicators of relative sea-level fluctuations. Neotectonic studies performed all along the coastal sector through the check of the present-day height of marine notches and of the inner margin of marine terraces of Eutyrrhenian age allowed to assess the entity of post-Tyrrhenian differential crustal movements in the area. The calculated rates of uplift confirm the relative stability of the area in the last 125 ka and that the relative corrections introduced can be considered negligible in the reconstruction of sea-level rise in the last thousand years. On the base of these considerations, the sea-level rise curve which has been drawn for the Holocene through the radiometric dating ( 14C and U/Th) of submerged speleothems and Vermetid reefs is assumed to gain a regional significance and to represent a good reference datum for the Central-Southern Mediterranean Sea. In addition, the sea-level rise data are in good agreement with the predicted sea-level curves based on geophysical models previously applied to the same study areas.
Antonioli, F.; Cremona, G.; Immordino, F.; Puglisi, C.; Romagnoli, C.; Silenzi, S.; Valpreda, E.; Verrubbi, V.
In November 1928 there was an eruption of Mount Etna, Sicily, which led to lava largely destroying the town of Mascali, situated low on the eastern flank of the volcano. Destruction of the town took just over a day but there was an orderly evacuation of its inhabitants and, with help from the military, families were able to remove furniture and fittings from their houses. Evacuees were relocated to nearby towns staying with relatives, friends or in hired apartments. Rebuilding Mascali provided an opportunity for the fascist government of the time to demonstrate efficient centralised planning. A completely new town was built on a grid-iron plan with many of the buildings reflecting the 'fascist architecture' of the time. The town was complete by 1937 and housing condztzons were very advanced in comparison with other towns in the region. The 1928 eruption is important as it was the most destructive on Etna since 1669 when the city of Catania was overwhelmed. In terms of hazard and risk assessment the 1928 eruption demonstrates that lava can reach the lower flanks of the volcano within a short period after the onset of an eruption. PMID:8867507
Duncan, A M; Dibben, C; Chester, D K; Guest, J E
This paper pays attention to the modifiable lifestyle factors such as diet and nutrition that might influence life extension and successful ageing. Previous data reported that in Sicily, the biggest Mediterranean island, there are some places where there is a high frequency of male centenarians with respect to the Italian average. The present data show that in Sicani Mountain zone there are more centenarians with respect to the Italian average. In fact, in five villages of Sicani Mountains, there were 19 people with an age range of 100–107?years old from a total population of 18,328 inhabitants. So, the centenarian number was 4.32-fold higher than the national average (10.37 vs. 2.4/10,000); the female/male ratio was 1.1:1 in the study area, while the national ratio is 4.54:1. Unequivocally, their nutritional assessment showed a high adherence to the Mediterranean nutritional profile with low glycemic index food consumed. To reach successful ageing it is advisable to follow a diet with low quantity of saturated fat and high amount of fruits and vegetables rich in phytochemicals.
Purpose Before AIDS, endemic (African) Kaposi sarcoma (KS) was noted to occur in volcanic areas and was postulated to result from dirt chronically embedded in the skin of the lower extremities. The primary cause of all KS types is KS-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) infection, but co-factors contribute to the neoplasia. We investigated whether residential exposure volcanic or related soils was associated with the risk of classic Kaposi sarcoma (cKS) in Sicily. Methods Risk of incident cKS (n=141) compared to population-based KSHV seropositive controls (n=123) was estimated for residential exposure to four types of soil, categorized with maps from the European Soil Database and direct surveying. Questionnaire data provided covariates. Results Residents in communities high in luvisols were approximately 2.7-times more likely to have cKS than those in communities with no luvisols. Risk was not specific for cKS on the limbs, but it was elevated approximately 4–5-fold with frequent bathing or tap water drinking in high luvisols communities. Risk was unrelated to communities high in andosols, tephra, or clay soils. Conclusions Iron and alumino-silicate clay, major components of luvisols, may increase cKS risk, but formal investigation and consideration of other soil types and exposures are needed.
Pelser, Colleen; Dazzi, Carmelo; Graubard, Barry I.; Lauria, Carmela; Vitale, Francesco; Goedert, James J.
The main purpose of this study was to describe a novel missense mutation (p.D179H) found in a Western Sicily family and to examine the genetic and audiologic profiles of all family members by performing a GJB2 and GJB6 mutations analysis and a complete audiologic assessment. The proband was a 3-month-old infant with a congenital profound sensorineural hearing loss; direct sequencing of the GJB2 revealed the presence of a c.35delG mutation in the heterozygous state and a heterozygous G>C transition at nucleotide 535 in trans; this novel mutation, called p.D179H, resulted in an aspartic acid to histidine change at codon 179. It was also evidenced in the heterozygous state in two members of this family, both with normal hearing. No GJB6 mutations were evidenced in all subjects studied. Considering the genotypic and phenotypic analysis of all family members, we suggest, differently from the p.D179 N mutation previously reported, a recessive mode of inheritance. Functional studies on p.D179H have to be performed to confirm our hypothesis. PMID:23812555
Bartolotta, Caterina; Salvago, Pietro; Cocuzza, Salvatore; Fabiano, Carmelo; Sammarco, Pietro; Martines, Francesco
In a national survey on mortality from malignant pleural neoplasms in Italy, aimed at detecting geographic clusters of cases of the disease, the town of Biancavilla, located in a volcanic area of Eastern Sicily, showed high risk of pleural mesothelioma in the absence of occupational asbestos exposure. An environmental survey suggested the stone quarries located in 'Monte Calvario', south-east of the town of Biancavilla, as a possible source of asbestiform fibre exposure. A subsequent crystal-chemistry investigation of the 'Monte Calvario' amphiboles identified the mineral asbestiform fibres as 'fluoro-edenite', a new end-member of the edenite ==> fluoro-edenite series. A collaborative epidemiological and environmental study was initiated to investigate the characteristics of the outbreak of malignant mesothelioma and test the hypothesis of a causal association with exposure to naturally occurring fibres. To investigate if a sheep population could be used to monitor the environmental diffusion of the fibres, we examined lung specimens from 27 culled sheep, at least 3 years old and living near Monte Calvario to check for the presence of fluoro-edenite fibres, using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis and X-ray microanalysis. Fourteen mineral species have been isolated in the mineral particulate matter taken from pulmonary parenchyma, and fluoro-edenite was detected in eight sheep. These preliminary data suggest a possible bio-indicative role of sheep as sentinel animals in the evaluation of environmental fibre diffusion, which merits further investigation. PMID:15144777
DeNardo, Paola; Bruni, Biagio; Paoletti, Luigi; Pasetto, Roberto; Sirianni, Bruno
The morphology of lava flows is often taken as an indicator of the broad chemical composition of the lava, especially when interpreting extraterrestrial volcanoes using spacecraft images. The historical lavas of the active volcano Mount Etna in Sicily provide an excellent opportunity to examine the controls on flow field morphology. In this study only flow produced by flank eruptions after the middle of the 18th century are examined. The final form of a flow-field may be more indicative of the internal plumbing of the volcano, which may control such factors as the effusion, rate, duration of eruption, volume of available magma, rate of de-gassing, and lava rheology. Different flow morphologies on Etna appear to be a good indicator of differing conditions within the volcanic pile. Thus the spatial distribution of different flow types on an extraterrestrial volcano may provide useful information about the plumbing conditions of that volcano, rather than necessarily providing information on the composition of materials erupted.
Guest, J. E.; Hughes, J. W.; Duncan, A. M.
The Strait of Sicily "rift zone" (SSRZ) is a young tectonic feature (Early PlioceneRecent) cutting across the Pelagian Sea. It is characterized by a thin continental-type crust which progressively thickens towards the African continental margin and beneath the Sicilian chain. Geophysical data available for the whole area show that extensional faulting is active in many places along structures trending roughly NNW-SSE, but that the dominant mode of deformation, at a regional scale, can be best described in terms of strike-slip tectonics. Strike-slip faults trending NW-SE are seismically documented west of the island of Pantelleria, in the eastern sector of the Malta graben and along the southern border of the Medina graben. Similar features have also been mapped on land in Malta and Pantelleria. Kinematic analysis of these structures suggest that the SSRZ cannot be considered as a classical intracontinental rift, because the deformation does not appear to be dominated by a generalized thermal instability but rather by compressive stresses in a transcurrent tectonic regime. Therefore an alternative model which accounts for the activation of large-scale right-lateral strike-slip faults seems to be more suitable. Within this main dextral shear zone the progressive development of pull-apart basins could be responsible for the incipient separation of the Sicilian microplate from the African continent and for the thinning of the crust and the associated volcanic activity of the northwestern sector of the SSRZ.
A geomorphologic approach, combined with GIS spatial analysis, was used to investigate a 90 Km long coastal sector in Southern Sicily, Italy. Applied methodology allowed the determination of coastal erosion/accretion areas, general sediment circulation patterns and littoral cell distribution. The investigated littoral is recording important coastal erosion problems, mainly linked to the construction of ports and harbours. Such structures, as well as natural headlands, divide the littoral in morphological cells. Most important artificial limits are observed in correspondence with the ports and harbours of Scoglitti, Punta Secca, Donnalucata and Pozzallo and a haulage zone at Marina di Ragusa. Scoglitti, Punta Secca, Marina di Ragusa and Donnalucata structures work as „transit" limits which generate accretion on the west side parts and erosion on the east side parts. Pozzallo port works as a „convergent" limit because it records accretion at both sides. Most important natural structures are observed at Punta Zafaglione, P. Braccetto and Cava d'Aliga and they work as convergent, divergent and transit limits. Free limits also exist but their location changes according to wave approaching characteristics. The knowledge of littoral cell distribution acquires a great importance in the investigated littoral for the management of coastal erosion processes, which may be mitigated by the installation of by-passing systems in ports and harbours.
Anfuso, G.; Martínez Del Pozo, J. A.; Monaca, A.
Hunter-gatherers living in Europe during the transition from the late Pleistocene to the Holocene intensified food acquisition by broadening the range of resources exploited to include marine taxa. However, little is known on the nature of this dietary change in the Mediterranean Basin. A key area to investigate this issue is the archipelago of the Ègadi Islands, most of which were connected to Sicily until the early Holocene. The site of Grotta d’Oriente, on the present-day island of Favignana, was occupied by hunter-gatherers when Postglacial environmental changes were taking place (14,000-7,500 cal BP). Here we present the results of AMS radiocarbon dating, palaeogenetic and isotopic analyses undertaken on skeletal remains of the humans buried at Grotta d’Oriente. Analyses of the mitochondrial hypervariable first region of individual Oriente B, which belongs to the HV-1 haplogroup, suggest for the first time on genetic grounds that humans living in Sicily during the early Holocene could have originated from groups that migrated from the Italian Peninsula around the Last Glacial Maximum. Carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses show that the Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic hunter-gatherers of Favignana consumed almost exclusively protein from terrestrial game and that there was only a slight increase in marine food consumption from the late Pleistocene to the early Holocene. This dietary change was similar in scale to that at sites on mainland Sicily and in the rest of the Mediterranean, suggesting that the hunter-gatherers of Grotta d’Oriente did not modify their subsistence strategies specifically to adapt to the progressive isolation of Favignana. The limited development of technologies for intensively exploiting marine resources was probably a consequence both of Mediterranean oligotrophy and of the small effective population size of these increasingly isolated human groups, which made innovation less likely and prevented transmission of fitness-enhancing adaptations.
Mannino, Marcello A.; Catalano, Giulio; Talamo, Sahra; Mannino, Giovanni; Di Salvo, Rosaria; Schimmenti, Vittoria; Lalueza-Fox, Carles; Messina, Andrea; Petruso, Daria; Caramelli, David; Richards, Michael P.; Sineo, Luca
In Italy, the occurrence of flash floods due to heavy storms, and related consequences on socio-economic activities, become more and more serious and worrying every year. Although, such natural disasters mainly depend on an intensive and usually unplanned soil exploitation, however there is a widespread belief that the effects of climate change plays a major role in worsening the current situation. In particular, many studies have shown that in the last century the average number of rainy days is decreased, whereas precipitation intensity is increased at the same time, as more and more heavy rainfall occur in shorter periods. In Sicily region, the province of Messina is the one with the largest number of sites under flash flood threatening, many of which are located along the Ionian side. As an example, on October 1, 2009, an heavy storm has produced landslides and floodings which have caused 37 victims and more than 2000 evacuated people, as well as severe damages to buildings, infrastructures and economic activities. In this study, preliminary results of a research aimed at investigating the occurrence of changes in precipitation field over North Eastern side of Sicily (Italy), in recent decades are illustrated, with special reference to extreme values. In particular, daily precipitation series with at least 45 years of records starting from 1951 are selected among those observed at the meteorological stations located along the Ionian side of Messina province. First, an analysis to assess the presence of trends in annual and seasonal precipitation amount, number of rainy days and average intensity is carried out based on the Sequential Mann-Kendall test for non linear trend detection. With respect to annual values, both the number of rainy days and rainfall amount series show a decreasing trend for all the investigated series. With regard to the average intensity, only the series corresponding to Ganzirri station show a significant decreasing trend. Such results are also confirmed by the trend analysis carried out on the six-monthly records from October to March, which is the period providing the most part of the contribution to the total annual precipitation (more than 75 % on average). Then, in order to understand whether changes in precipitation are due to a change in the number of days with heavy precipitation or with light precipitation, an analysis of daily rainfall amounts belonging to specific classes defined by thresholds, corresponding to fixed percentiles of daily precipitation, has been carried out. Threshold values have been derived after fitting probability distributions to each station's wet day data for each month of the year. Results show that the detected decrease in the number of rainy days cannot be ascribed to one class only, whereas decrease in rainfall amount is mainly due to the lower classes for all the stations, which implies a general reduction in the amount of light and moderate rain. No trends are identified for the average intensity. Further researches are ongoing to analyze the effect of detected trends on the assessment of the return period of critical events recently occurred along the investigated area.
Tito Aronica, Giuseppe; Bonaccorso, Brunella
Earthquakes often represent very dangerouses natural events in terms of human life and economic losses and their damage effects are amplified by the synchronous occurrence of seismically-induced ground-shaking failures in wide regions around the seismogenic source. In fact, the shaking associated with big earthquakes triggers extensive landsliding, sometimes at distances of more than 100 km from the epicenter. The active tectonics and the geomorphic/morphodinamic pattern of the regions affected by earthquakes contribute to the slopes instability tendency. In fact, earthquake-induced groun-motion loading determines inertial forces activation within slopes that, combined with the intrinsic pre-existing static forces, reduces the slope stability towards its failure. Basically, under zero-shear stress reversals conditions, a catastrophic failure will take place if the earthquake-induced shear displacement exceeds the critical level of undrained shear strength to a value equal to the gravitational shear stress. However, seismic stability analyses carried out for various infinite slopes by using the existing Newmark-like methods reveal that estimated permanent displacements smaller than the critical value should also be regarded as dangerous for the post-earthquake slope safety, in terms of human activities use. Earthquake-induced (often high-speed) landslides are among the most destructive phenomena related to slopes failure during earthquakes. In fact, damage from earthquake-induced landslides (and other ground-failures), sometimes exceeds the buildings/infrastructures damage directly related to ground-shaking for fault breaking. For this matter, several hearthquakes-related slope failures methods have been developed, for the evaluation of the combined hazard types represented by seismically ground-motion landslides. The methodologies of analysis of the engineering seismic risk related to the slopes instability processes is often achieved through the evaluation of the permanent displacement potentially induced by an seismic scenario. Such methodologies found on the consideration that the conditions of seismic stability and the post-seismic functionality of engineering structures are tightly related to the entity of the permanent deformations that an earthquake can induce. Regarding the existing simplified procedures among slope stability models, Newmark's model is often used to derive indications about slope instabilities due to earthquakes. In this way, we have evaluated the seismically-induced landslides hazard in Sicily (Central Mediterranean) using the Newmark-like model. In order to determine the map distribution of the seismic ground-acceleration from an earthquake scenario, the attenuation-law of Sabetta & Pugliese has been used, analyzing some seismic recordings occurred in Italy. Also, by evaluating permanent displacements, the correlation of Ambraseys & Menu has been assumed. The seismic shaking slope vulnerability map of Sicily has been carried out using GIS application, also considering max seismic ground-acceleration peak distribution (in terms of exceedance probability for fixed time), slope acclivity, cohesion/angle of internal friction of outcropping rocks, allowing the zoning of the unstable slopes under seismic forces.
Nigro, Fabrizio; Arisco, Giuseppe; Perricone, Marcella; Renda, Pietro; Favara, Rocco
The magnitude, locus and characteristics of sediment export from catchments to basins play a fundamental role in controlling depositional stratigraphy. A predictive understanding of this process therefore requires (i) data illustrating the characteristics of sediment delivery within catchments; (ii) constraints on how this supply signal evolves down-system and (iii) knowledge of how this signal is "sampled" in the geological record. First we present detailed data on the distribution and magnitude of grain size export from > 40 tectonically-perturbed catchments across Sicily, Calabria and Abruzzo, where we have excellent constraints on tectonic uplift rates, lithology and hydraulic geometry. We demonstrate that for catchments in topographic steady-state, grain size release is strongly controlled by rock type, but is insensitive to local uplift rates that are < 1 mm/yr. In contrast, for catchments responding transiently to tectonics, sediment release is strongly controlled by the degree of tectonic perturbation. We derive estimates of the volume and grain size distribution of sediment exported to the straits of Messina as a whole, and we use terrace data to show there has been little change to this signal in the last 200 kyr. Second, we investigate how sediment supply variables control stratigraphy using a self-similarity depositional model based on dimensionless relative mobility functions of fluvial gravel. This approach offers a powerful way to explore the key controls on stratigraphic fining rates and demonstrates that the spread and magnitude of grain size release plays a crucial role in determining stratigraphy in the proximal hanging-wall basins of normal faults.
Whittaker, A. C.; Erhardt, S.; Duller, R. A.; Armitage, J. J.; Allen, P. A.
This paper analyzes for the first time the water masses circulation in the Gulf of Syrte (Libya) and along a Sicily-Libya transect (central Mediterranean Sea) based on a new dataset of hydrological and nutrients data. The collected dataset highlights the presence of three main water masses with different chemical-physical features: Atlantic Water, Levantine Intermediate Water and Deep Water. Atlantic Water shows an intrusive low-salinity water near the Sicilian (? 37.6) and Libyan coasts (? 37.8), linked to the Atlantic Ionian Stream and the Atlantic Libyan Current respectively. The surface circulation evidences meandering structures throughout the area and the presence of an anti-cyclonic vortex in the central part of the Gulf of Syrte. In this latter area no coastal surface current is recognized, suggesting a seasonal character for such coastal circulation. In the Gulf the anti-cyclonic pattern characterizes also the intermediate water circulation. The nutrient distribution confirms the oligotrophic character of the area with a strong reduction in concentration in the surface layer due to the assimilation of phytoplankton in the euphotic zone. Furthermore, there is an evident increase in the deep water caused by the re-mineralization of organisms. The nitrate:phosphate ratio is ~ 10 and ~ 30 in the surface waters and deep waters, respectively, the latter being far in excess of the Redfield ratio (16:1) found in the oceans' deep waters. Nutrients data close to the Libyan coast do not show any enrichment pattern as a potential effect of the input of Saharan dust.
Placenti, F.; Schroeder, K.; Bonanno, A.; Zgozi, S.; Sprovieri, M.; Borghini, M.; Rumolo, P.; Cerrati, G.; Bonomo, S.; Genovese, S.; Basilone, G.; Haddoud, D. A.; Patti, B.; El Turki, A.; Hamza, M.; Mazzola, S.
A mock up of the probe descending in the Titan atmosphere for the Huygens Cassini Mission has been successfully launched with stratospheric balloon from Italian Space Agency Base "Luigi Broglio" in Sicily and recovered on May 30 th 2002. The probe has been lifted at 32 km altitude and then released to perform a 45 minutes descent decelerated by parachute, to simulate Huygens mission at Titan. Preliminary aerodynamics study of the probe has focused on the achievement of a descent velocity profile and a spin rate profile, satisfying the Huygens mission to Titan requirements. The descent velocity and spin rate have been calculated by solving a system of ODE describing the translational and rotational motion of the probe trough the earth atmosphere during parachute aided descent Results of these calculations have driven the choice of an appropriate angle of attack of the blades in the bottom of the probe and ballast weight during flight. The probe is hosting spares of HASI instruments, housekeeping sensors and other dedicated sensors, Beagle II UV Sensors and Huygens Tilt Sensor, for a total of 77 acquired sensor channels, sampled during ascent, drift and descent phase. Main goals are to verify sensor performance and perform a realistic functional test in dynamical and environmental conditions similar to those during the descent in Titan atmosphere and furthermore to investigate impact at ground to check the impact detection sequence of HASI accelerometer and HASI in the surface phase. An integrated data acquisition and instrument control system has been developed, based on PC architecture and soft -real-time application. Sensors channels have been sampled at the nominal HASI data rates, with a max rate of 1 kHz. Software has been developed for data acquisition, onboard storage and telemetry transmission satisfying all requests for real-time monitoring, diagnostic and redundancy.
Volcanoes emit particles (silicates and sulphate aerosol) and gases (e.g., water and sulphur dioxide) which influence the radiative balance of the atmosphere. The rate at which sulphur dioxide oxidises to sulphate aerosol is poorly constrained and measurements of downwind abundance are required to quantify the rate at which this process occurs. During July and November 2011, a series of measurements were performed in emissions from Etna Volcano, Sicily, using the University of Applied Sciences (Dusseldorf) research aircraft. Both in situ and remote sensing instrumentation was simultaneously deployed to quantify the down-wind characteristics of gases and particles in the plume emitted by the volcano. In situ particle characteristics were measured using a Grimm 1.109 optical particle counter (microparticles 0.25-32 microns) and Grimm 1320 diffusion electrometer (nanoparticles 25-300 nanometers). Column abundance of sulphur dioxide was measured using a vertically-pointing differential optical absorption spectrometer (DOAS). These measurements were compared to horizontal pathlength-integrated measurements of sulphur dioxide from the Airborne Volcanic Imaging Object Detector (AVOID). Down-wind plume dispersion was discriminated through a series of aircraft transects below and through the volcanic plume. The emissions contained large amounts of nanoparticles relative to microparticles, which reflects gas-phase nucleation of sulphate aerosol. The AVOID system discriminated horizontal layering of volcanic aerosol at altitudes of up to 12,000 ft from a detection range of >50 km. Plume boundaries were discriminated using a combination of the in situ and DOAS measurements in order to compare to the pathlength-integrated measurements from AVOID.
Vogel, A.; Weber, K.; Fischer, C.; Prata, A. J.; Durant, A. J.
Herniation pits (HPs) of the femoral neck were first described in a radiological publication in 1982 as round to oval radiolucencies in the proximal superior quadrant of the femoral neck on anteroposterior radiographs of adults. In following early clinical publications, HPs were generally recognized as an incidental finding. In contrast, in current clinical literature they are mentioned in the context of femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) of the hip joint, which is known to cause osteoarthritis (OA). The significance of HPs in chronic skeletal disorders such as OA is still unclear, but they are discussed as a possible radiological indicator for FAI in a large part of clinical studies. In this paleoradiological study we examined a sample of mummies from the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, Sicily, by a mobile computed tomography (CT) scanner. Evaluation of the CT examinations revealed HPs in six out of 16 (37.5%) adult male mummies. The first aim of this study was to compare the characteristics of HPs shown in our mummy collection to the findings described in clinical literature. Thereby CT evaluation revealed that their osseous imaging characteristics are in accordance, consisting of round to oval subcortical lesions at the anterior femoral neck, clearly demarcated by a sclerotic margin. The second aim was to introduce HPs to the paleoradiological and paleopathological methodology as an entity that underwent a renaissance from an incidental finding to a possible radiological indicator of FAI in the clinical situation. As FAI plays an important role in the development of OA of the hip, which is a very common finding in human skeletal remains, HPs should always be considered in paleoradiological evaluation of hip joint diseases.
Panzer, Stephanie; Piombino-Mascali, Dario; Zink, Albert R.
The genetic variability of honeybee populations Apis mellifera ligustica, in continental Italy, and of A. m. sicula, in Sicily, was investigated using nuclear (microsatellite) and mitochondrial markers. Six populations (236 individual bees) and 17 populations (664 colonies) were, respectively, analysed using eight microsatellite loci and DraI restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) of the cytochrome oxidase I (COI)-cytochrome oxidase II (COII) region. Microsatellite loci globally confirmed the southeastern European heritage of both subspecies (evolutionary branch C). However, A. m. ligustica mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) appeared to be a composite of the two European (M and C) lineages over most of the Italian peninsula, and only mitotypes from the African (A) lineage were found in A. m. sicula samples. This demonstrates a hybrid origin for both subspecies. For A. m. ligustica, the most widely exported subspecies, this hybrid origin has long been obscured by the fact that in the main area of queen production (from which most of the previous ligustica bee samples originated) the M mitochondrial lineage is absent, whereas it is present almost everywhere else in Italy. This presents a new view of the evolutionary history of European honeybees. For instance, the Iberian peninsula was considered as the unique refuge for the M branch during the quaternary ice periods. Our results show that the Apennine peninsula played a similar role. The differential distribution of nuclear and mitochondrial markers observed in Italy seems to be a general feature of introgressed honeybee populations. Presumably, it stems from the social nature of the species in which both genome compartments are differentially affected by the two (individual and colonial) reproduction levels. PMID:10886654
Franck, P; Garnery, L; Celebrano, G; Solignac, M; Cornuet, J M
This work deals with an integrated geomorphological and chemical-physical study of "calanchi" landforms in two sites (Ottosalme and Catalfimo) of NW Sicily (southern Italy), developed on dominant silty-clay deposits. The calanchi fronts are characterized by different morphological features and dominant geomorphic processes. Sharp knife-edged ridges and concentrated water runoff dominate at Ottosalme, and smoother landforms affected by mass movements (mud flows and translational slides) prevail at Catalfimo. We focused on some geochemical and physical parameters such as pH, total dissolved salts, sodium adsorption ratio (SAR), porosity, plastic and liquid limits as possible causes of the above differences, with special emphasis on their role in discriminating the behavior of peculiar microforms, such as a weathered outer crust and the corresponding inner massive portion (unweathered substrate). Our results show that the main chemical-physical features of calanchi morphologies and microforms often display no clear correlations with respect to those reported in the existing literature, pointing to a higher complexity of patterns and behaviors. In particular, all samples consist of dispersive material (SAR values > 10), but a more plastic and liquid behavior at Catalfimo can explain a higher occurrence of landslides and smoother morphology than at Ottosalme. Higher SAR values at Ottosalme well explain the dominance of concentrated water erosion. The chemical behavior of the studied microforms is better described by pH being alkaline with higher values in the inner substrate than the outer crust, and appears to minimize the effects of all other parameters and their responses to other external controlling factors. Lower SAR values in the crust suggest that clay dispersivity is not the prominent factor controlling its surface detachment and mobility downslope, which is more likely promoted by its higher porosity and consequent water absorption than the inner portion, with changes in the saturation state, shear strength and water pressure.
Pulice, Iolanda; Cappadonia, Chiara; Scarciglia, Fabio; Robustelli, Gaetano; Conoscenti, Christian; De Rose, Rossella; Rotigliano, Edoardo; Agnesi, Valerio
The Gela basin is a Pliocene-Quaternary foredeep basin located at the front of the Maghrebian fold-thrust belt of Sicily, filled with 2,500 m-thick shallowing-upward marine sediments. An important contribution to the basin fill comes from a huge, basin-wide submarine slide which extends for 3,500 km/sup 2/ and thickens as much as 450 m; the estimated sediment volume involved in the slide is close to 1,000 km/sup 3/. The authors investigation used more than 3,000 km of multichannel and single-channel seismic reflection profiles. The slide depositional geometries and facies relationships have been reconstructed from seismic interpretation to provide insight into transport and emplacement mechanisms. Apparently, the slide was not simply deposited via mass transfer from the slope into the basin. Indeed, the bulk of the slide is composed of basin sediments plastically deformed under the gravitational force driven by the correspondent slope sediments. Such a deformation occurred above an extremely effective decollement surface which controlled the slide distribution throughout the basin. More localized decollement planes are, however, present within the slide body and contributed to its complex deformation. The slide can thus be considered the result of a generalized gravitational collapse which affected the sediments lying above a peculiar decollement horizon. A general uplift characterized the late Quaternary evolution of the area, and volcanic activity was quite widespread and documented in the historical record. A punctuated episode of energy release (volcanic related ), superimposed to the uplift trend, may have triggered the slide in conjunction with potentially easy detachment of a decollement.
Argnani, A.; Trincardi, F.
The paleotectonic and volcanic features of the Jurassic-Cretaceous carbonate successions, outcropping in central-western Sicily, allow us to restore the tectono-sedimentary evolution of a sector of the African continental margin. These successions consist of shallow-to-deep-water Mesozoic deposits that have formed in the carbonate platform-to- pelagic plateau depositional setting of the so-called Trapanese paleogeographic domain. Fieldwork, including structural analyses, has indicated the occurrence of lateral facies changes, resedimented materials, volcanic products (pillow lavas and tuffitic deposits), unconformity surfaces and paleofaults of different trends and age. These data, combined with facies and a physical-stratigraphic analysis, allow one to distinguish between the different tectono-stratigraphic settings. A structural low, filled with thick pillow lavas and reworked deposits, appears bordered by two main structural highs: an articulate carbonate-pelagic platform with a stepped fault margin, and the flank of a structural high, where the volcanoclastic deposits are interlayered with reworked reef materials, suggest the occurrence of a submarine volcano, that evolved into an atoll-type carbonate shelf setting. Tectonic and magmatic events punctuated the sedimentary evolution during the Early Jurassic, Middle-Late Jurassic, Early and Late Cretaceous. The horst and graben structures connected by steeped margins and the occurrence of distinctive types of volcanic products suggest that the study areas could represent a sector of the Jurassic-Cretaceous southern Tethyan passive continental margin, situated at the edge of the continental platform bordering those basinal areas where rifting and possible spreading processes were active during the Mesozoic.
Basilone, Luca; Morticelli, Maurizio Gasparo; Lena, Gabriele
The objective of this work was to evaluate the prevalence of sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) and distribution of the main risk factors associated to it focusing on their role in the development of deafness and their interaction. We performed a global audiological assessment (through TEOAE, tympanometry and ABR) in 508 infants at risk studying the main risk factors reported by Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (2007). Fifty-one infants (10.03 %) were diagnosed with SNHL (45 bilateral and 6 unilateral) with a mean hearing threshold of 87.39 ± 28.25 dB HL; family history of hearing impairment (HI) and TORCH infections indicated independent significant risk factors (P < 0.00001 and P = 0.024, respectively). High SNHL percentages were evidenced also in NICU babies, due to the various pathologies and risk factors presented by these infants, and among newborns who suffered from hyperbilirubinemia (11.97 and 9.52 %, respectively). The mean degree of hearing loss for children with family history of HI (>100 dB HL) emphasizes the necessity of an early diagnosis to avoid the consequences of auditory deprivation. Craniofacial abnormalities and syndromes associated to HI showed an important relationship (P < 0.00001) with conductive hearing loss. A progressive increase was evidenced in SNHL incidence as the number of risk factors rises (from 5.12 for 2 risk factors to 28.5 % for 5 or more) with a significant difference among the groups (P = 0.049); multiple risk factors showed an additional cofactor for HL (r (2) = 0.93). Considering the high SNHL prevalence (10.03 %) in infants at risk, this study highlights the necessity to implement a neonatal hearing screening program in Western Sicily. PMID:23397062
Salvago, Pietro; Martines, Enrico; Martines, Francesco
The present paper describes a multidisciplinary approach to the evaluation of a seismically triggered landslide that occurred in the Cerda area (Italy) on September 6, 2002, about 1 h after an earthquake took place in the south Tyrrhenian Sea. The study was focused on an analysis of the role of the seismic input in triggering the landslide, in view of the evidence that no other mass movement was recorded in the adjacent areas despite geological and geomorphological spatial homogeneity. The studied area is located on a slope of the western flank of the Fiume Imera Settentrionale (Northern Sicily), which is made up of clayey-arenitic rocks. The slope inclines gently but is not uniform due to fluvial, gravitative, and rainwash processes. Field data dealing with global positioning system (GPS), geology, geomorphology, geophysics (vertical electrical sounding, or VES), and geochemistry (soil gas fluxes and composition) were acquired and analysed in order to investigate the cause-effect relationships between the earthquake and the mass movement. The GPS survey allowed us to map the ground failures that have also been classified on the basis of their kinematical meaning (i.e., compressive, distensive, or transcurrent structures). The geological analysis revealed outcropping rocks and tectonic structures. The geomorphologic survey highlighted the presence of preexisting landslide bodies. The geophysical survey detected a buried surface located at a depth of about 100 m . Finally, the geochemical survey showed that the gas released from the displaced mass came from a shallow depth and was not related to any active fault system. The abovementioned information allowed us to interpret the landslide event as a partial reactivation of a preexisting landslide body that was triggered by the earthquake.
Agnesi, Valerio; Camarda, Marco; Conoscenti, Christian; Di Maggio, Cipriano; Serena Diliberto, Iole; Madonia, Paolo; Rotigliano, Edoardo
SummaryThe Sciacca basin (southern Sicily, Italy), well known since the Roman times for the importance of its thermo-mineral waters, is characterized by a large occurrence of thermal fluid discharges whose main thermal aquifer is located within the Triassic carbonate rocks. This reservoir represents the deepest formation cropping out in the area. Shallower and cooler thermal aquifers are located within the Tertiary limestone and Quaternary sand and gravel deposits. In this work new geochemical and isotopic data of thermal waters and dissolved gases from springs and wells were investigated to assess the origin of thermal fluids and the structure of the hydrothermal system. The main thermal aquifer, at about 60 °C and located at 43 m a.s.l., is fed by an 18O-enriched ( ?18O ˜ +4‰; ?D ˜ 0‰) thermal marine end-member, affected by cooling and dilution (1:2) caused by mixing with inland-originated meteoric waters ( ?18O ˜ -8‰; ?D ˜ -58‰). This meteoric recharge is likely related to the area of Ficuzza and San Genuardo Mts., located 12 and 23 km N of Sciacca, respectively, at an altitude comprised between 900 and 1180 m a.s.l. After this primary dilution, the deep thermal aquifer, emerging at the "Antiche Terme Selinuntine" discharging site, is not apparently affected by further dilution processes in the Sciacca area, where the sedimentary cover does not allow infiltration of local meteoric waters down to the Triassic reservoir. Conversely, the shallower thermal aquifers hosted within the Tertiary-Quaternary sedimentary horizons are locally supplied by direct infiltration of meteoric water occurring at variable altitudes, up to about 400 m a.s.l. (San Calogero Mt.). With the only exception of the Molinelli thermal spring, direct contribution from the deep thermal end-member to thermal springs fed by the shallower aquifers can be considered negligible.
Capaccioni, Bruno; Vaselli, Orlando; Tassi, Franco; Santo, Alba P.; Huertas, A. Delgado
Our objective was to investigate incidence of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in Sicily, southern Italy, by means of a population based study. We included people with ALS resident in five Sicilian provinces, whose onset occurred in the two-year period 2005-2006 (population at 31 December 2006: 3,481,096 inhabitants). A multisource case-finding procedure was adopted and patients were classified as affected by ALS according to revised El Escorial criteria. During the two-year surveillance period, 97 patients meeting eligibility criteria included 57 males (58.8%) and 40 females (41.2%). Crude annual incidence rate was 1.4/100,000 person years (95% CI 1.33-1.47). The incidence rate was higher in males (1.71/100,000; CI 1.61-1.81) than in females (1.11/100,000; CI 1.01-1.21). Standardized incidence rate for the total population in the 45-74-years-old age group was 3.22 (CI 3.11-3.33). Prevalence rate was 6.0/100,000 (CI 5.97-6.03), higher in males (7.1/100,000; CI 7.02-7.18) than females (4.9/100,000; CI 4.86-4.94). In conclusion, ALS rates observed in the present study are higher in males than females, with a peak of incidence at 70 years of age in both genders. These findings are consistent with those of other population based European studies. PMID:22409362
Ragonese, Paolo; Cellura, Eleonora; Aridon, Paolo; D'amelio, Marco; Spataro, Rossella; Taiello, Alfonsa Claudia; Maimone, Davide; La Bella, Vincenzo; Savettieri, Giovanni
Microbially formed authigenic carbonates accompanied by native sulphur are present in the 'Calcare Solfifero' below a thick succession of gypsum deposited during the Messinian salinity crisis in Sicily. We sampled these carbonates and associated sulphur in five former sulphur mines to subject them to a detailed petrographic and geochemical study in order to explore their different modes of formation. Native sulphur formed in conjunction with microbial sulphate reduction, which is reflected in its depletion in 34S ( ?34S values as low as - 2‰ vs. V-CDT) and an enrichment of 34S in the residual sulphate ( ?34S values as high as + 61‰). The oxidation of organic matter by sulphate reduction increased alkalinity, inducing precipitation of secondary carbonate minerals. A set of authigenic limestones lacking sulphate minerals, but characterized by pseudomorphs after gypsum and high ?18O values (as high as + 9‰ vs. V-PDB) reflects syngenetic mineral formation within evaporitic settings. Low ?13C values (as low as - 52‰ vs. V-PDB) reveal that these carbonate phases were formed by microbial sulphate reduction coupled to the oxidation of biogenic methane. Another set of authigenic carbonates that replaced sulphate minerals is typified by low ?18O values (as low as - 4‰). These carbonates formed epigenetically during later diagenesis following compaction. Dissolution of gypsum or anhydrite by meteoric waters delivered the sulphate for microbial sulphate reduction. Low carbon isotope values of these carbonates (- 29 to - 5‰) indicate that carbonate was derived from the oxidation of crude oil and possibly minor methane, partly involving different degrees of admixture of dissolved carbonate from other sources. Although the studied rocks with their vast amounts of secondary carbonate minerals and sulphur seem to indicate a similar genesis at first glance - having formed by biogeochemical transformations of sulphate and hydrocarbons - this study reveals that these processes can occur at different times in variable geological environments.
Ziegenbalg, S. B.; Brunner, B.; Rouchy, J. M.; Birgel, D.; Pierre, C.; Böttcher, M. E.; Caruso, A.; Immenhauser, A.; Peckmann, J.
The Strait of Sicily plays a crucial role in determining the water mass exchanges and related properties between western and eastern Mediterranean. The presence of sills to the east and west of the Strait of Sicily and the complex seabed topography modulate the thermohaline circulation of the Mediterranean basin. An anti-estuarine circulation is mainly characterized, from a dynamic point of view, by a two-layer system: a surface layer composed of Atlantic Water (AW) flowing eastward, essentially dominated by mesoscale processes, and a subsurface layer composed of Levantine Intermediate Water (LIW) flowing in the opposite direction; the topography appears to play an important role. Furthermore, there are transition water masses with variable hydrological characteristics. The dataset here studied is a time series 16 years long (1998-2013), which highlights the high horizontal and vertical interannual variability affecting the study area. Strong temperature-salinity correlations, in the intermediate layer, for specific time intervals, could be linked to the reversal of sub-surface circulation in the Central Ionian Sea. Moreover, a long-term monitoring of the hydrographic properties of water masses across this strait allow the modelers to assess the performance of hydrological models of this area.
Bonanno, A.; Placenti, F.; Basilone, G.; Mifsud, R.; Genovese, S.; Patti, B.; Di Bitetto, M.; Aronica, S.; Barra, M.; Giacalone, G.; Ferreri, R.; Fontana, I.; Buscaino, G.; Tranchida, G.; Quinci, E. M.; Mazzola, S.
The morphological and anatomical variability ofDiplotaxis erucoides populations from Sicily was investigated. Populations growing during the summer months exhibit distinct xeromorphic features. Leaf area is strongly reduced and leaf thickness is increased when compared with winter populations. Cell size, as well as cell arrangement and mesophyll cell surface area differ significantly between summer and winter populations. Leaf thickness is almost
G. H. Schleser; K.-G. Bernhardt; H. Hurka
The morphological and anatomical variability of Diplotaxis erucoides populations from Sicily was investigated. Populations growing during the summer months exhibit distinct xeromorphic features. Leaf area is strongly reduced and leaf thickness is increased when compared with winter populations. Cell size, as well as cell arrangement and mesophyll cell surface area differ significantly between summer and winter populations. Leaf thickness is
G. H. Schleser; K.-G. Bernhardt; H. Hurka
Aspects of the recruitment of hake (Merluccius merluccius L., 1758) and greater fork beard (Phycis blennoides Brunnich, 1768) in the Strait of Sicily (Central Mediterranean) are presented. Data were collected from 1994 to 1999 during the international bottom trawl survey program MEDITS. In view of the available literature on juvenile growth of these two species in the Mediterranean area, a
F. Fiorentino; G. Garofalo; A. De Santi; G. Bono; G. B. Giusto; G. Norrito
The town of Biancavilla, located on the lower flanks of Mt. Etna volcano, eastern Sicily (Italy), showed high mortality rates owing to malignant pleural neoplasms, a cause of death specifically related to exposure to asbestos fibres. An environmental survey indicated the stone quarry site of “Il Calvario” as a possible source of asbestos fibre exposure, while a mineralogical study allowed
F. Burragato; P. Comba; V. Baiocchi; D. M. Palladino; S. Simei; A. Gianfagna; L. Paoletti; R. Pasetto
The archaeological site of Mozia, a small island in front of the western coast of Sicily (Italy), is one of the most important Phoenician–Punic settlements in the Mediterranean; it preserves important vestiges and remains, located in an uncontaminated site, inhabited and car-free. The remains are still partially hidden under vegetation and vineyards.
Di Mauro, D.; Alfonsi, L.; Sapia, V.; Urbini, S.
The part of the seismic hazard map of Italy (http:zonesismiche.mi.ingv.it/mappa_ps_apr04/italia.html) that regards SE Sicily has recently been modified on the basis also of the new location of the source of one of the strongest earthquakes that ever struck the Mediterranean basin (in 1693 in SE Sicily; 54,000 casualties; see Sirovich and Pettenati, 2001 in BSSA). That source was located inland according to the KF geophysical inversion of the regional damage patterns of the earthquake of Jan. 11, 1693 and of its destructive foreshock of Jan. 9 (see Gentile et al., 2004 in BSSA, and Sirovich and Pettenati, 2004 in JGR, for the genetic KF inversion technique). The damage patterns of Jan. 9 and 11, 1693 had been evaluated by three different groups of historians and seismologists on three different intensity scales. (Detailed information was available from the reports of the Officers of the "Regno delle Due Sicilie" of the time as well as from many other documents). Previously, both earthquakes were traditionally ascribed to the well known Malta Escarpment, the most prominent physiographical and structural feature of the area, which is found offshore, south-east of Sicily. However, given the inland damage of 1693, an offshore epicenter would imply a mean radius of 45 km for the virtual area of degree XI (70 km for degree X) and, thus, a magnitude of 8.3±0.2 with a fault length of approximately 280 km. This fault source would cross the NE part of Sicily from the southern Jonian Sea to the Island of Lipari in the Tyrrhenian Sea; but tectonically this seems unrealistic. All the inversion tests, however, pointed to a complex source inland which could have hosted both earthquakes. Here, we used our kinematic KF model in the direct mode in a parametric, deterministic-Montecarlo way to produce a seismic hazard scenario, in terms of maximum ground displacement. This scenario will be compared with PSHA results for long recurrence times in the frame of a project of the Civil Protection of Italy and the National Institute for Geophysics and Vulcanology (INGV). New tentative seismic rules based on displacements are the goals of that project (S5, coordinated by E. Faccioli and A. Rovelli). In the present paper, three linear sources were assumed, to accommodate all the area's guessed inland sources, those of 1693 included. The Montecarlo technique was applied to the eleven source parametres of the KF formula, with the purpose of accounting for the large seismotectonic uncertainties we had. In so doing, 33,280 sources were obtained, allowing us to calculate the mean plus-one-standard-deviation scenarios (in seismic intensity and in horizontal displacement). Our mean scenario reaches 40-50 cm (80-90 cm summing one standard deviation), which, as expected, is more than the maximum provisional PSHA values for the 475-year return period (S5 Project, Faccioli 2007); consider that the return period of an earthquake like that in 1693 is unknown, but it could be of the order of thousands of years. The comparison with the damage in 1693 showed that our provisional result is still not cautious enough, however. It is hypothesized that this is due to the asymmetric distribution of the calculated values in each site also because of the presence of the XII intensity upper bound. In Acapulco, we plan to show the parametric scenario obtained using the median values too.
Sirovich, L.; Pettenati, F.
Sicily and Calabria lye at the boundary between the converging Nubia and Eurasian plates and this sector of the plate boundary is consensually recognized as a key area for understanding the ongoing kinematics and geodynamics of the Mediterranean region. The kinematics of the complex tectonic blocks mosaic that characterizes the central Mediterranean, and particularly southern Italy, is, infact, still matter of debate. The increasing number of GPS stations available from mid-2000, particularly from continuous GPS networks, suggest a partially independent motion of this block with respect to Nubia. Interseismic GPS velocities in Eastern Sicily show two significant velocity gradients along a SSENNW direction, highlighting a contraction of ~2 mm/yr and an extension of ~2.5 mm/yr that are accommodated within a few tens of kilometers in correspondence of the northern rim of the Hyblean Plateau, the locus of the 1693 (Mw ~7.4) event, and the Nebrodi mountains, respectively. This complex velocity pattern suggests that different active tectonic structures likely contribute to the observed crustal deformation. This also suggests a significant internal deformation of the Sicily block, which deserves further investigation. In this work we first develop a kinematic block model to test different hypotheses about the tectonic blocks configuration in the study area. Then we model the observed ~N-S velocity gradients in eastern Sicily running a suite of block models, while varying the geometric parameters (dip angle and locking depth) and the top-edge position of the fault bounding the SES block to the north. Our kinematic analysis and performed statistical tests confirm the hypothesis of a kinematic independence of Sicily with respect to both Nubia and Eurasia, and highlights a more complex internal fragmentation of the tectonic blocks into three blocks, a north-eastern (NES), a central (CS) and a south-eastern (SES) Sicily crustal blocks. Results from the NNW-SSE velocity gradient modeling in Eastern Sicily, analyzed in terms of chisquares statistics, suggest that it is not explainable as strain accumulation on a single fault structure but it's likely the sum of the elastic contribution from two fault systems: an ~E-W trending subvertical fault located roughly along the Kumeta-Alcantara lineament, with a transtensional component of motion, and a WSW-ENE striking and NW dipping, high-angle, poorly locked, reverse fault extending south of Mount Etna.
Mastrolembo Ventura, B.; Serpelloni, E.; Argnani, A.; Bonforte, A.; Burgmann, R.; Anzidei, M.; Baldi, P.; Puglisi, G.
Noble gas elemental and isotopic compositions were determined for five CO 2-CH 4 samples collected around Etna, Sicily, to investigate the geochemical features of the mantle beneath the volcano. The samples contain mantle-derived noble gases. The measured helium isotopic ratios ( 3He/ 4He) vary between 5.9 and 6.4 times atmospheric ratio ( Ra=1.4×10 -6), which are comparable to the ratios of olivines (6.1-8.2 Ra) in the lavas of the same volcano . Neon in the samples is enriched in both 20Ne and 21Ne ( 20Ne/ 22Ne 9.95-10.7, 21Ne/ 22Ne 0.030-0.037), indicating derivation from the mantle. The ?( 20Ne/ 22Ne)/ ?( 21Ne/ 22Ne) values are identical with that of mid-ocean ridge basalts (MORB), indicating a similarity in the time-integrated (U/Ne) ratio between the Etnean magma source and the depleted upper mantle (MORB source). Argon in the samples has 40Ar/ 36Ar ratios up to of 1800, which are higher than in atmosphere. These ratios are positively correlated with the 20Ne/ 22Ne ratios, indicating a mantle origin of the radiogenic argon. Compared with olivines from the Etnean lavas , the argon in our natural gas samples is less contaminated by atmospheric argon. Two samples from a CO 2 well show small but resolvable excess of 129Xe and 134,136Xe. The volcanic rocks of Etna, ranging from tholeiites to alkaline, are enriched in incompatible elements. Nd, Sr and Pb isotopes of the volcanic rocks indicate that the magma source is isotopically heterogeneous and contain a component with high Sr, Pb and low Nd isotopic ratios derived from a mantle region which has been enriched in incompatible elements for a few million years [2,3,4] relative to the depleted upper mantle. The helium isotopic ratios of the gas samples are lower than those of MORB and are consistent with geochemical signatures of the solid elements in the Etnean volcanic rocks. However, the observed MORB-type neon is on a MORB correlation array without accumulation of nucleogenic 21Ne. This apparent decoupling may be explained by a recent mixing of the depleted upper mantle (MORB source) with fluid enriched in both incompatible elements and radiogenic 4He. When the fluid was formed with a small degree of partial melting, fractionation of radiogenic 4He from nucleogenic 21Ne could have occurred because of smaller partition coefficient of He than Ne.
Nakai, Shun'ichi; Wakita, Hiroshi; Nuccio, Mario P.; Italiano, Franco
Noble gas elemental and isotopic compositions were determined for five CO2-CH4 samples collected around Etna, Sicily, to investigate the geochemical features of the mantle beneath the volcano. The samples contain mantle-derived noble gases. The measured helium isotopic ratios (3He/4He) vary between 5.9 and 6.4 times atmospheric ratio (Ra=1.4×10-6), which are comparable to the ratios of olivines (6.1-8.2Ra) in the lavas of the same volcano . Neon in the samples is enriched in both 20Ne and 21Ne (20Ne/22Ne 9.95-10.7, 21Ne/22Ne 0.030-0.037), indicating derivation from the mantle. The ?(20Ne/22Ne)/?(21Ne/ 22Ne) values are identical with that of mid-ocean ridge basalts (MORB), indicating a similarity in the time-integrated (U/Ne) ratio between the Etnean magma source and the depleted upper mantle (MORB source). Argon in the samples has 40Ar/36Ar ratios up to of 1800, which are higher than in atmosphere. These ratios are positively correlated with the 20Ne/22Ne ratios, indicating a mantle origin of the radiogenic argon. Compared with olivines from the Etnean lavas , the argon in our natural gas samples is less contaminated by atmospheric argon. Two samples from a CO2 well show small but resolvable excess of 129Xe and 134,136Xe. The volcanic rocks of Etna, ranging from tholeiites to alkaline, are enriched in incompatible elements. Nd, Sr and Pb isotopes of the volcanic rocks indicate that the magma source is isotopically heterogeneous and contain a component with high Sr, Pb and low Nd isotopic ratios derived from a mantle region which has been enriched in incompatible elements for a few million years [2,3,4] relative to the depleted upper mantle. The helium isotopic ratios of the gas samples are lower than those of MORB and are consistent with geochemical signatures of the solid elements in the Etnean volcanic rocks. However, the observed MORB-type neon is on a MORB correlation array without accumulation of nucleogenic 21Ne. This apparent decoupling may be explained by a recent mixing of the depleted upper mantle (MORB source) with fluid enriched in both incompatible elements and radiogenic 4He. When the fluid was formed with a small degree of partial melting, fractionation of radiogenic 4He from nucleogenic 21Ne could have occurred because of smaller partition coefficient of He than Ne.
Italiano, F.; Nuccio, M. P.; Wakita, H.; Nakai, S.
The study of the chemical composition of volcanic plumes is important both for the understanding of volcanic processes and the influence of volcanic activity on the atmosphere. Reactive halogen-species such as BrO, ClO, OClO are abundant in volcanic plumes and can have several effects on the atmosphere (e.g. local ozone depletion by catalytic halogen-reactions). Multi Axis Differential Absorption Spectroscopy (MAX-DOAS) is an established method to determine reactive components in volcanic plumes by analysing scattered sunlight which has traversed the plume. We present MAX-DOAS measurements that were performed at Mt. Etna, Sicily in September 2012 with a newly developed MAX-DOAS-instrument. Both, vertical and horizontal plume-scans as well as point measurements were done in distances of several hundred meter up to 30 km from the emission source. For the first time it was possible to measure spatial distributions of the halogen compound chlorine dioxide (OClO) in a volcanic plume. OClO column-densities (SCDs) up to 2 ? 1014 molecules/cm2 were measured in an area of about 2 km around the emission source. OClO/SO2-ratios between 1 ? 10-5 and 4 ? 10-4 were determined. Along with the evaluation of OClO the species bromine monoxide (BrO) as well as sulphur-dioxide (SO2) were evaluated for each data set. BrO-SCDs up to 1.1 ? 1015 molecules/cm2 and BrO/SO2-ratios between 2 ? 10-5 and 5 ? 10-4 were determined. Assuming a plume width of less than 1 km the measured values correspond to OClO and BrO concentrations of several hundred ppt in the plume. From the measured OClO- and BrO-SCDs and by assuming steady-state between the production of OClO from BrO and ClO and its photolytic destruction, ClO concentrations between 70 ppt and 1.0 ppb were derived. We will discuss these results and their importance to improve our knowledge about chlorine-chemistry in volcanic plumes.
Gliss, Jonas; Bobrowski, Nicole; Huwe, Marco; Mayer, Constantin; Finkenzeller, Henning; Vogel, Leif; Platt, Ulrich
Background Ecologic and in vitro studies suggest that exposures to plants or soil may influence risk of Kaposi sarcoma (KS). Methods In a population-based study of Sicily, we analyzed data on contact with 20 plants and residential exposure to 17 soils reported by 122 classic KS cases and 840 sex- and age-matched controls. With 88 KS-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) seropositive controls as the referent group, novel correlates of KS risk were sought, along with factors distinguishing seronegatives, in multinomial logistic regression models that included matching variables and known KS cofactors - smoking, cortisone use, and diabetes history. All plants were summed for cumulative exposure. Factor and cluster analyses were used to obtain scores and groups, respectively. Individual plants and soils in three levels of exposure with Ptrend ? 0.15 were retained in a backward elimination regression model. Results Adjusted for known cofactors, KS was not related to cumulative exposures to 20 plants [per quartile adjusted odds ratio (ORadj) 0.96, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.73 - 1.25, Ptrend = 0.87], nor was it related to any factor scores or cluster of plants (P = 0.11 to 0.81). In the elimination regression model, KS risk was associated with five plants (Ptrend = 0.02 to 0.10) and with residential exposure to six soils (Ptrend = 0.01 to 0.13), including three soils (eutric regosol, chromic/pellic vertisol) used to cultivate durum wheat. None of the KS-associated plants and only one soil was also associated with KSHV serostatus. Diabetes was associated with KSHV seronegativity (ORadj 4.69, 95% CI 1.97 - 11.17), but the plant and soil associations had little effect on previous findings that KS risk was elevated for diabetics (ORadj 7.47, 95% CI 3.04 - 18.35) and lower for current and former smokers (ORadj 0.26 and 0.47, respectively, Ptrend = 0.05). Conclusions KS risk was associated with exposure to a few plants and soils, but these may merely be due to chance. Study of the effects of durum wheat, which was previously associated with cKS, may be warranted.
Estimates of groundwater discharge into a boat basin in Donnalucata, southeastern Sicily, based on radon measurements are reported. A continuous monitor was deployed at several locations that made repeated integrated measurements of radon concentration in the seawater once per hour. We observed large differences in the concentrations (60-2500 Bq m -3) and inventories (90-3200 Bq m -2) of 222Rn at various locations within the boat basin. The station closest to shore had the highest concentration by far (up to over 3000 Bq m -3), reflecting inputs of radon-rich groundwater into this zone. We constructed a radon mass balance by assuming that radon may be advected via groundwater discharge into all compartments of the boat basin and the mixing outputs from an inner "box" would be an input into the adjacent box. We also made allowances for atmospheric evasion losses that were occasionally very high due to high winds and huge concentration gradients across the air-sea interface. Once the radon fluxes have been estimated, we could calculate groundwater discharge by dividing these fluxes by the radon concentration of the groundwater. Should the groundwater be entering the basin by widely disseminated seepage through bottom sediments, it would be appropriate to use values of pore water derived by sediment equilibration techniques. These values (2700±200 Bq m -3) are close to those from several samples from shallow wells collected near the boat basin (1700-2700 Bq m -3). However, we measured higher radon levels than this in the waters of the innermost portion of the basin. We thus elected to assume that the main radon entry was either via direct spring input with activities (15 100 Bq m -3) similar to those measured from a natural spring on a nearby beach or a blend of spring water with surficial aquifer water. The resulting range in our calculated groundwater discharges into the boat basin is 1200 to 7400 m 3 day -1. These estimates are higher than those based on seepage meters (range=300-1000 m 3 day -1), probably because of the wide spatial variability of the spring and seep inputs.
Burnett, William C.; Dulaiova, Henrieta
Southern Italy has been struck repeatedly by very strong historical earthquakes as in 1169, 1693, 1783, 1905, 1908, often associated with destructive tsunami. While certain events (like 1908 Messina or 1783 Calabria) are associated with known crustal normal faults, which produced observed surface ruptures, the source of the strongest earthquake in the Italian catalog, the Catania earthquake of 1693 is still unknown. It may have been generated by the NW dipping subduction zone beneath Calabria and Eastern Sicily. Identifying its origin will have a major impact on the hazard assessment and our understanding of modern day tectonics in this region. The 1693 earthquake, struck E Sicily with intensities of X - XI and killed up to 60,000 people, destroying Catania, Syracuse and Augusta. It also generated a 5-10 m high tsunami which swept these cities. The 1169 earthquake had similar intensities (X to XI) and a similar isoseismal pattern, suggesting a similar source. Because of the tsunami generated in 1693 and because the isoseismals are open to the sea, the majority of the source region appears to be offshore. The nearby subduction fault plane is thus a strong candidate for both events. However, a lack of instrumentally recorded thrust earthquakes suggests that if subduction is active, the fault plane is locked (like Cascadia or Nankai). Reported GPS motions from the region are ambiguous, and thus the current activity of the Calabrian subduction remains a matter of debate. The offshore accretionary wedge is known from seismic and bathymetric investigations to include compressional anticlines and recently mud volcanoes have been discovered on the upper wedge. We present preliminary results from reprocessed 96-channel seismic reflection data from the 1997 French cruise Archimede (R/V Le Nadir) crossing the deformation front at the toe of the Calabrian prism, the Ionian abyssal plain and the deformation front of the Mediterranean Ridge (Hellenic subduction system). A more recent HR seismic cruise CALAMARE, with the Italian vessel R/V Urania (Apr. 2008) investigated the lateral boundaries of the Calabrian prism. Both data sets also investigated the Malta-Hyblean escarpment, also proposed as a candidate source for great earthquakes offshore Sicily. Additional work is in progress, including planned cruises to complete multi-beam bathymetric mapping of the Calabrian prism and border regions. A cruise proposal for deep seismics (MCS and OBS work) will also be submitted. The goal of this and future work will to seek evidence of continued tectonic activity of the system.
Gallais, F.; Gutscher, M.; Graindorge, D.; Polonia, A.
Surveillance data from 268 sites in Sicily are used to develop climatic models for prediction of the distribution of the main European bluetongue virus (BTV) vector Culicoides imicola Kieffer (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) and of potential novel vectors, Culicoides pulicaris Linnaeus, Culicoides obsoletus group Meigen and Culicoides newsteadi Austen. The models containing the 'best' climatic predictors of distribution for each species, were selected from combinations of 40 temporally Fourier-processed remotely sensed variables and altitude at a 1 km spatial resolution using discriminant analysis. Kappa values of around 0.6 for all species models indicated substantial levels of agreement between model predictions and observed data. Whilst the distributions of C. obsoletus group and C. newsteadi were predicted by temperature variables, those of C. pulicaris and C. imicola were determined mainly by normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), a variable correlated with soil moisture and vegetation biomass and productivity. These models were used to predict species presence in unsampled pixels across Italy and for C. imicola across Europe and North Africa. The predicted continuous presence of C. pulicaris along the appenine mountains, from north to south Italy, suggests BTV transmission may be possible in a large proportion of this region and that seasonal transhumance (seasonal movement of livestock between upland and lowland pastures) even in C. imicola-free areas should not generally be considered safe. The predicted distribution of C. imicola distribution shows substantial agreement with observed surveillance data from Greece and Iberia (including the Balearics) and parts of mainland Italy (Lazio, Tuscany and areas of the Ionian coast) but is generally much more restricted than the observed distribution (in Sardinia, Corsica and Morocco). The low number of presence sites for C. imicola in Sicily meant that only a restricted range of potential C. imicola habitats were included in the training set and that predictions could only be made within this range. Future modelling exercises will use abundance data collected according to a standardized protocol across the Mediterranean and, for Sicily in particular, should include non-climatic environmental variables that may influence breeding site suitability such as soil type. PMID:15189233
Purse, B V; Tatem, A J; Caracappa, S; Rogers, D J; Mellor, P S; Baylis, M; Torina, A
This paper proposes a new seismogenic interpretation of mainland and central-southern Sicily, based on an integrated structural-kinematic-seismological approach. Through analysis of available structural and geophysical data, the tectonic setting, the major kinematic units and the crust geometry of the Sicilian southward-verging fold-and-thrust belt system are schematized in sections and in map form. The depth-contour lines of the outermost basal thrust plane, which dates back to Plio-Pleistocene times with some evidence of Holocene activity, are reconstructed. This plane, here named Sicilian Basal Thrust (SBT), emerges along the southward convex Sciacca-Gela-Catania front and reaches the base of the crust at a depth of about 30 km beneath northern Sicily. Additionally, an important regional upper crust splay, with the same arched shape, has been identified some kilometres northward. In order to detect any possible indication of seismogenic activity linked to ongoing deformation of the SBT and its splay, we analyzed the distribution and kinematics of the instrumental seismicity in the period between 1981 and 2006. Particular attention was given to the background seismicity (Ml up to 4.6) located beneath the sedimentary cover at Mt. Etna, as it allows individuating a northward deepening seismogenic volume undergoing an average N-S compression, which corresponds well with the SBT geometry in section view. A merged dataset of all the known major historical and instrumental events (moment magnitude ? 4.5) that occurred above the SBT 0-to-30 km depth-contour lines from 217 B.C. to 2006 was compiled and analyzed. Based on information from instrumental data and/or on speculations on the shape and extent of the historical earthquake macroseismic fields, two major ranges of hypocentral depths have been schematically identified within the merged dataset: an upper crust range (in average < ~ 10 km) and a mid-to-lower crust range. Focal mechanisms available in the literature show prevailing reverse and reverse-oblique kinematics, compatible with a nearly average N-S shortening and with some field evidence of active fold-and-thrust deformation at the SBT front and along its inner splay. Several moderate earthquakes (nearly 40 in the last 400 years with moment magnitude ranging from 4.5 to 5.5) and a few more energetic events with moment magnitude up to ~ 6.0, such as the Mineo 1624, the Belice 1968 and the Catania 1818 events, can be attributed to an ongoing activity of the SBT. In previous studies, these events had been often attributed to isolated N-S strike-slip sources located within the Hyblean-Pelagian foreland, while all the interposed areas had been considered aseismic, as well as the SBT had been considered inactive. The identification in the SBT of a unique regional-scale seismogenic structure capable to connect the active deformation and the seismic activity of the western, central and eastern areas of mainland Sicily and those of central-southern Sicily evidently has strong implications in terms of seismic hazard assessment. In fact, it allows the definition of a new homogeneous compressional seismotectonic province, which extends between the SBT surface front line and the surface projection of the 25 km SBT depth-contour line. A subdivision in two sub-provinces, a shallow one above the 0-10 km SBT segment and a deep one above the 10-to-25 km SBT segment, is also considered and the energy released of the associate earthquakes evaluated. To conclude, the proposed model is discussed in comparison with other models from the literature and some important open problems are put forwards.
Lavecchia, Giusy; Ferrarini, Federica; de Nardis, Rita; Visini, Francesco; Barbano, Maria Serafina
The Malta Escarpment represents the dominant morphological feature offshore eastern Sicily, linking the deep Ionian basin to the east with the Hyblean carbonate platform to the west. Interpretation of purposely acquired multichannel seismic data allows division of the Malta Escarpment into two portions characterized by different tectonic structures. Along the segment south of Siracusa the Malta Escarpment is not affected by recent faulting and appears as a steep surface that flattens out toward the Ionian basin. A recent deformation, characterized by a broad area of uplift, occurs 20-30 km east from the slope, along a NNW-SSE trend. The segment of the Malta Escarpment extending north of Siracusa, on the other hand, is characterized by the presence of NNW-SSE, east dipping recent extensional faults and related sedimentary basins. The observed structural features support the occurrence of a lithospheric tear between the Ionian oceanic basin and the Hyblean plateau.
Argnani, A.; Bonazzi, C.
The authors have carried out a survey on teen-age girls (398 girls aged 15-18) from five different senior high schools in Catania, Sicily. Students were submitted a questionnaire aimed at detecting behaviours at risk as regards food-related disorders. The most significant data concerned low body weight (20.4% having a Body Mass Index < 18.5), drug intake to lose weight (2.5%), self-induced vomit or intention to do so (12.1%), as well as a sort of uneasiness to attend other schoolmates due to one's own body weight (9.6%). These variables might reflect risk indicators as regards food-related disorders. PMID:14576863
Coniglio, Maria Anna; Giustino, Maria; Giammanco, Giuseppe; Pignato, Sarina
A total of 25 lichen thalli of Parmelia conspersa (Ehrh), collected at Vulcano island and at Mt. Etna, during a one-year biogeochemical survey, were analyzed for Pb, br, Al, Sc,[sup 206]Pb/[sup 207]Pb, and [sup 208]Pb/[sup 206]Pb ratios. Lead isotope ratios were also measured on aerosol samples from urban areas and industrial sites of Sicily. The observed [sup 206]Pb/[sup 207]Pb range for urban and industrial aerosols matches the anthropogenic signature. Lichens instead, are closer to the compositional field of [sup 206]Pb rich geogenic sources. This natural input is more evident at Vulcano island than at Mt. Etna, where the anthropogenic activities are considerably more effective. On the basis of lead isotope data, Pb/Br ratios and calculated lead enrichment factors, a natural lead pollution from volcanoes is suggested. Volcanic lead contribution ranges from 10 to 30% at Mt. Etna to 10--80% at Vulcano island.
Monna, F. (Institut FA Forel (Switzerland)); Aiuppa, A.; Varrica, D. (Dipt. C.F.T.A., Palermo (Italy)); Dongarra, G. (Dipt. C.F.T.A., Palermo (Italy) CNR, Palermo (Italy). Istituto Geochimica dei Fluidi)
The self-potential (S.P.) method, often employed in base-metal exploration, has successfully been applied to volcanological problems. Test surveys on the site of Mount Etna (Sicily) have revealed some positive anomalies as high as a few hundred millivolts over recent and old eruptive fissures. The S.P. technique allows one to determine the precise location of the fissures. The interpretation of the geophysical results (including S.P.), taking into account the structure of Mount Etna, has shown two important zones upon which several S.P. investigations have been carried out. Studies of the causes of these S.P. anomalies have shown the importance of the streaming potential as the principal source mechanism.
Massenet, F.; Van Ngoc, Pham
Detailed field mapping and microstructural and textural analyses carried out in Lower Pleistocene grainstones in the San Vito Lo Capo peninsula (in north-western Sicily) revealed document failure modes and fault development in porous carbonate grainstones. Individual compactive shear bands represent the simplest fundamental shear structures, while pressure solution processes commonly localize within previously developed compactive shear bands. In the Lower-Pleistocene carbonate grainstones of San Vito Lo Capo peninsula, composed of eroded carbonate and marl fragments, pressure solution processes localize mostly grain-to-grain, leading to the formation of zones of weakness which facilitate slip and significant displacement. The transition from one deformation process to another is likely controlled by changing material properties and anisotropy within the bands. Finally, laboratory analyses of representative fault rock samples show that the structures described above have sealing capacity with respect to the host rock, and may compartmentalize any geofluid reservoir.
Background Classical Kaposi sarcoma (cKS) is a rare complication of Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpes virus (KSHV) infection. We conducted a population-based, frequency-matched case-control study in Sicily to further investigate the reported inverse relationship between smoking and cKS and to identify other factors associated with altered risk. Methods All incident, histologically confirmed, cKS cases in Sicily were eligible. A two-stage cluster sample design was applied to select population controls. KSHV seropositivity was determined using 4 antibody assays (K8.1 and orf73 enzyme immunoassays and 2 immunofluroescence assays). Using SAS-callable SUDAAN we compared the characteristics of cKS cases and KSHV seropositive controls. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) are presented. Results In total, 142 cKS cases and 123 KSHV seropositive controls were recruited. Current cigarette smoking was associated with reduced risk of cKS (OR 0.20, 95% CI 0.06-0.67). Edema was associated with cKS, but only when it presented on the lower extremities (OR 3.65, 95% CI 1.62-8.23). Irrespective of presentation site, diabetes and oral corticosteroid medications were associated with increased risk (ORs, 95% CIs: 4.73, 2.02-11.1 and 2.34, 1.23-4.45, respectively). Never smoking, diabetes and oral corticosteroid medication use were all independently associated with cKS risk. Discussion We confirmed previous reports that cigarette smoking was associated with a reduced risk of cKS, and we found that risk was lowest among current smokers. We also found that cKS risk was strongly and independently associated with oral corticosteroid use and diabetes. Corroboration of these observations and investigation of possible underlying mechanisms are warranted.
Anderson, LA; Lauria, C; Romano, N; Brown, EE; Whitby, D; Graubard, BI; Li, Y; Messina, A; Gafa, L; Vitale, F
In Sicily, the progressive imbrication of the Apenninic thrust belt above the Pelagian-African Foreland is traced by the southward migration of marine basins that were progressively shortened during the late Miocene-Pleistocene. The outermost and youngest thrust sheet (Gela Nappe) displays a peculiar shortening, with Messinian to early Pliocene E-W folds refolded in the late Pliocene-early Pleistocene by approximately N-S folds (subparallel to the transport direction of the thrust sheets). This structural interference is documented in south Sicily within localized belts of refolding spaced ˜5-8 km apart. The significance of this fold interference pattern is highlighted by our analysis of the offshore seismic reflection line M23A (CROP Mare Project) that intersects the Gela Nappe along a trace suborthogonal to the thrust transport direction. Migration and depth conversion of the line reveal multiple imbrications and draping of the allochthonous units above structural highs of the foreland, delimited by inherited N-S faults. The largest faults bound mid-late Miocene extensional basins but were reactivated in compression during the late Pliocene-early Pleistocene, causing (1) superposed folding along discordant N-S structural trends, (2) compressional extrusion of the whole wedge of the Gela Nappe, and (3) offset of its sole thrust. The reactivation of faults subparallel to the transport direction accommodates differential flexure of the rigid foreland beneath the Apenninic wedge, and these late stage deformations in the foreland are responsible for the superposition of E-W finite shortening onto N-S shortening.
Ghisetti, Francesca C.; Gorman, Andrew R.; Grasso, Mario; Vezzani, Livio
We adopt analogue modelling to investigate continental crustal stretching by simulating a Late Miocene-Early Quaternary extensional event occurred in Tunisia and in the Sicily Channel. The analogue model of the continental crust is composed of a lower ductile crust and an upper brittle crust including a low-viscosity layer to simulate the presence of evaporites. In our models, the extension is driven by tectonic stresses and not solely by gravity. All models are run under the same boundary conditions with a moveable lateral edge. Different physical hypotheses are tested to interpret the origin and geometry of this rifting event that affected the SW sector of the Mediterranean basin. The modelling of the continental crustal stretching produces small tectonic troughs with regular spacing that simulates the pattern observed in the Atlasic Rift System (Tunisia) as well as a large rift zone involving bulk crust thinning simulating the features of the Sicily Channel Rift Zone. In accordance with geological and geophysical data, extension in the Atlasic Rift Zone is controlled at depth by the Triassic evaporite layer and by inherited diapiric structures that create rheological "soft points" in the upper crust. The best accordance between models and nature are thus obtained when combining crustal-scale stretching, decoupling level within the upper-crust and pre-structuration (inheritance) of the evaporitic layer. We propose that the NE-trending extensional event occurring since the Pliocene to the early Quaternary in the Tunisian-Pelagian Sea area was driven by a transient eastward migration of the Tunisia-Pelagian-Ionian area (acting as a micro-plate with an undefined southern boundary) due to a far-field pull of the Western-Hellenic/Dinaride subduction.
Belguith, Youssef; Geoffroy, Laurent; Mourgues, Regis; Rigane, Adel
In the frame of the FP-7 European project ASTARTE, which aims to improve the knowledge on the tsunami risk and to enhance the tsunami resilience for the European, North Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, one of the tasks of the University of Bologna focuses on the study of the tsunami hazard, risk, impact and impact mitigation for the test site of Siracusa, in Sicily. This study includes the study for the calibration of a tsunami early detection algorithm (TEDA), developed by the University of Bologna, for the coastal tide-gauge station of Siracusa, Targia. The tide-gauge of Siracusa, together with the stations of Catania and Tremestieri (Messina), is part of the TSUNET network, which is a set of monitoring stations installed in order to measure and detect tsunamis in eastern Sicily. The calibration is a process that combines the study of the performance of the algorithm with the study of the background signal, which is considered the normal sea-level signal without tsunami or hazardous long-period waves, and of the possible tsunami signals that might hit the station: in this case the tsunami signals are taken by synthetic tsunami simulations from a tsunami hazard study for the town of Siracusa. The main purpose of the calibration is to optimize the efficiency of TEDA to detect tsunamis by selecting the most appropriate parameter configuration. Different tests of TEDA are carried out with different parameter settings both against the background signal and against tsunami signals. The best setting is the one that leads to the best performance, i.e. detects the highest number of tsunami events in the shortest time, and that avoids false detection in normal conditions. The results for the calibration of Siracusa are evaluated and compared with those of Catania and Tremestieri (Messina). As expected, the background sea-level presents stability over a year time period, with seasonal variability, and TEDA functions for Siracusa present similar statistical characteristics as for Catania and Messina Tremestieri.
Bressan, Lidia; Tinti, Stefano; Pagnoni, Gianluca
The NE Sicily continental shelf, imaged by multibeam bathymetry data and CHIRP/sparker seismic profiles, is less than 5 km-wide, and is located in a tectonically active margin characterized by strong regional uplift rates. In this paper, we show how variations of geomorphic elements in the study area are tied to spatial and temporal changes in the driving forces that control the seafloor processes. This study demonstrates that the geomorphology of continental shelves can vary over very short spatial scales depending on the uneven distribution of sediment supply from rivers and sediment transfer both across and along the shelf by oceanographic currents. In the northeastern part, three sandwave fields were mapped in the highstand sediment wedge that, due to the small size of rivers, is restricted to the inner shelf. The sandwave fields are found in proximity of the Messina Straits, a shallow water sill with strong tidal currents between the Tyrrhenian and the Ionian Seas. The bedform fields have sandwaves of variable shape, wavelength and orientation, reflecting along-shelf variations of tidal current strength and sediment grain size distribution. In the southwestern shelf, rivers are larger and form deltas that shape a considerable part of the shelf, often having their distal, still channelized delta front at the shelf edge. In some cases, deltas are built close to the heads of canyons and a large volume of the river-borne sediments is directly fed to the deep sea through delta front terminal distributary channels. Where rivers are small, the outer shelf lacks recent river borne sediment and presents a relict morphology consisting of submerged coastal systems formed during previous sea-level lowstands. The tectonics of the study area mainly consist of structures that have a NNE-SSW trend similar to the extensional faults responsible for the Siculo-Calabrian Rift Zone in the nearby emerged areas. Our study extends the area affected by the regional deformation belt into the NE Sicily offshore.
Gamberi, Fabiano; Rovere, Marzia; Mercorella, Alessandra; Leidi, Elisa; Dalla Valle, Giacomo
In the Central Mediterranean region the foreland domains are represented by two continental blocks, the Apulian Block to the north and the Pelagian Block to the south, respectively belonging to the Adria and to the Africa plates. They are separated since Permo-Triassic times by the oceanic crust of the Ionian Sea. The Apenninic-Maghrebian orogen is located between two oceanic crusts: the old Ionian crust, at present time subducting beneath the Calabrian Arc, and the new crust of the opening Tyrrhenian Sea. The orogenic belt is represented by a multilayer allochthonous edifice, composed of the Calabride Chain (CC) tectonically overlying the Apenninic-Maghrebian Chain (AMC), which in turn overthrust onto the Upper Miocene and Pliocene top-levels of a deep seated thrust system, originating by the deformation of the innermost carbonates of the Pelagian/Apulian blocks (External Thrust System: ETS). The AMC tectonic units derive from the orogenic transport during Oligo-Miocene times of sedimentary sequences deposited in palaeogeographical domains located between the Europe and the Afro-Adriatic plates. These units are composed of Meso-Cenozoic shallow-water carbonate successions detached from a continental type crust sector, the Panormide/Apenninic Block, recognizable by means of seismic lines shot in the Tyrrhenian offshore of Southern Apennines and Northern Sicily. The Meso-Cenozoic basinal units, that compose the AMC, can be distinguished into two main groups of sequences, originally located on oceanic crusts separated by the Panormide/Apenninic Block: the external ones (Ionides) related to an original basin belonging to branches of the Ionian Palaeobasin involved in the orogenesis, and the internal ones ascribed to the Alpine Tethys (Sicilide Units). The terrigenous deposits of the basinal sequences belonging to the Ionides are represented by Tertiary foreland/foredeep deposits, whose relationships with the substratum are occasionally preserved, although large detachments occurred with further forward transport, which generated repeated slices with an apparent increase to the original thickness. . The Alpine Tethydes are composed of sedimentary sequences, which were deposited in the Alpine Tethys, and originally were located between the European and the Panormide/Apenninic Block. They are represented by allochthonous far travelled tectonic units, resting on both the Panormide/Apenninic Platforms and the Ionides. The Calabride Chain originated by the delamination of the European margin. This roof thrust system includes nappes of Hercynian basement with remains of the original Meso-Cenozoic covers deformed during the Paleogene and sutured by the Late Oligocene-Early Burdigalian Capo d'Orlando Flysch. The geological, geophysical data and the volcanological characters permit to restore the palaeogeography and the geodynamic evolution, and allow to recognize three orogenic stages: the Eo-Alpine, originated during Cretaceous-Eocene times, evident in the western Calabria, in the Tyrrhenian basin and the Alpine Corsica; the Balearic stage (Late Oligocene-Early Miocene), in which the Corsica-Sardinia block rotated and collided with the Adria-Africa margins with thrusting of the Alpine Tethydes over Panormide/Apenninic platforms; and the Tyrrhenian stage (Middle Miocene to Present), when the onset of the Tyrrhenian back-arc basin occurred and after the closure of the interposed Palaeoionian branches the Ionides were tectonically transported onto the foreland blocks. The CROP crustal sections allow to distinguish thickness and distribution of the crusts in this area of the Mediterranean Sea, and their clear influence on geodynamic evolution of the Tyrrhenian stage. They confirm that both the foreland blocks extend below the orogenic belt, reaching the Tyrrhenian margins, with a gradual thinning and a transition to a Palaeo-Ionian slab, probably not active at present time, from which the Ionides detached and overrode the ETS. The seismogeological data indicate the presence of the Panormide/Apenninic blocks, that took part in the closu
Lentini, F.; Carbone, S.; Barreca, G.
Five years ago we started a coring campaign with the purpose to identify evidence for tsunami inundations along the coastal areas of eastern Sicily, that were affected in historical times by devastating tsunamis, generated both by local earthquakes, such as the 1169, 1693 and 1908 events, and by distant seismic sources, such as those belonging to the Aegean subduction zone (e.g. the A.D. 365 Crete earthquake). Following a multi-theme approach, we used the available historical information to address geomorphological study of the coastal landscape: aerial-photographs analysis, satellite images interpretation and field surveys allowed us to select areas likely invaded by tsunami waves in the past, representing potential trap-site for high energy deposits sedimentation and preservation. Given the variability in the nature of tsunami deposit characteristics, they are not uniquely identifiable, and other kinds of high energy deposits may share some of their features. Despite the abundant literature regarding diagnostic criteria for tsunami deposits, their distinction from storm and hurricane deposits remains a debated issue. We present the geological evidence of a tsunami inundation that left continuous onshore sandy deposit inside the Pantano Morghella along the south-eastern Sicilian coast. Pantano Morghella an almost flat area, about 1.3 km long and 0.8 km wide, surrounded by Upper Cretaceous lavas and volcanoclastic deposits, Late Cretaceous limestone calciruditi, calcarenites and marls. To the east Quaternary deposits, beach sands and 3 m high, partially cemented, dunal system (Holocene and Late Pleistocene) separate the Pantano from the sea forming the intertidal pond with a little channel from which sea water can rush into. The site was partially used as salt-pans in the recent past. In this site, we dug 33 cores down to a maximum depth of 5.80 m, from 200 m up to 1200 m from the coastline. The sedimentological core analysis reveals a fine stratigraphic sequence mainly composed by clay and silty clay, interrupt by a yellow sandy layer (about 8-10 cm thick) at about one meter of depth. Paleontological analyses show that the sandy samples have different macro and microfauna composition with respect to those samples collected above and below characterized by a lagoonal assemblage. The sandy layer, mainly composed by well-rounded yellowish carbonatic clasts, is made of several reworked foraminifera (both planktonic and benthonic), few well preserved littoral benthic foraminifera, marine macro fossil fragments and few lagoonal specimens. The deposit shows similarity with the local beach sand and it also presents a landward thinning. X-Ray analysis performed on some selected cores shows that the sandy layer is characterized by a fining upward granulometry and a sharp basal contact, possibly erosional. Summarizing, we investigated spatial distribution and lithofacies of this peculiar deposit and observed the following properties as typical of high energy deposition event: (1) the deposit covers the surface almost continuously on gentle topography and extend inland for about 1200 meters; (2) its thickness varies across local surface undulation; (3) the foraminiferal assemblage contains several reworked marine planktonic and benthonic specimens with some lagoonal species; (4) the deposit is characterized by erosive basal contact. Moreover, its composition consisting of a single structureless bed of normally graded sand, its thickness decreasing with distance from the sea and its landward limit represent attributes that strongly suggest a tsunami origin. Radiocarbon dating, performed on three samples collected just above, within and below the sandy anomalous layer, gives ages close in time, confirming a sudden deposition due to a high energy event occurred in the interval 270-650 A.D. Comparing this age with the historical tsunami catalogue, we can hypothesize that the sandy layer represents the geological record of the 365 A.D. Crete tsunami.
Gerardi, Flavia; Serafina Barbano, Maria; de Martini, Paolo Marco; Pirrotta, Claudia; Smedile, Alessandra; Pinzi, Stefania; Del Carlo, Paola
Mount Etna is a composite stratovolcano located along the Ionian coast of eastern Sicily. The frequent flank eruptions occurrence (at an interval of years, mostly concentrated along the NE, S and W rift zones) lead to a high volcanic hazard that, linked with intense urbanization, poses a high volcanic risk. A long-term volcanic hazard assessment, mainly based on the past behaviour of the Etna volcano, is the basic tool for the evaluation of this risk. Then, a reliable forecast where the next eruption will occur is needed. A computer-assisted analysis and probabilistic evaluations will provide the relative map, thus allowing identification of the areas prone to the highest hazard. Based on these grounds, the use of a code such BET_EF (Bayesian Event Tree_Eruption Forecasting) showed that a suitable analysis can be explored (Selva et al., 2012). Following an analysis we are performing, a total of 6886 point-vents referring to the last 4.0 ka of Etna flank activity, and spread over an area of 744 km2 (divided into N=2976 squared cell, with side of 500 m), allowed us to estimate a pdf by applying a Gaussian kernel. The probability values represent a complete set of outcomes mutually exclusive and the relative sum is normalized to one over the investigated area; then, the basic assumptions of a Dirichlet distribution (the prior distribution set in the BET_EF code (Marzocchi et al., 2004, 2008)) still hold. One fundamental parameter is the the equivalent number of data, that depicts our confidence on the best guess probability. The BET_EF code also works with a likelihood function. This is modelled by a Multinomial distribution, with parameters representing the number of vents in each cell and the total number of past data (i.e. the 6886 point-vents). Given the grid of N cells, the final posterior distribution will be evaluated by multiplying the a priori Dirichlet probability distribution with the past data in each cell through the likelihood. The probability hazard map shows a tendency to concentrate along the NE and S rifts, as well as Valle del Bove, increasing the difference in probability between these areas and the rest of the volcano edifice. It is worthy notice that a higher significance is still evident along the W rift, even if not comparable with the ones of the above mentioned areas. References Marzocchi W., Sandri L., Gasparini P., Newhall C. and Boschi E.; 2004: Quantifying probabilities of volcanic events: The example of volcanic hazard at Mount Vesuvius, J. Geophys. Res., 109, B11201, doi:10.1029/2004JB00315U. Marzocchi W., Sandri, L. and Selva, J.; 2008: BET_EF: a probabilistic tool for long- and short-term eruption forecasting, Bull. Volcanol., 70, 623 - 632, doi: 10.1007/s00445-007-0157-y. Selva J., Orsi G., Di Vito M.A., Marzocchi W. And Sandri L.; 2012: Probability hazard mapfor future vent opening atthe Campi Flegrei caldera, Italy, Bull. Volcanol., 74, 497 - 510, doi: 10.1007/s00445-011-0528-2.
Brancato, Alfonso; Tusa, Giuseppina; Coltelli, Mauro; Proietti, Cristina
The Marsala area (western Sicily) is characterized by the presence of a Lower Pleistocene (Calabrian) calcarenite succession (Marsala Calcarenite Fm). It can be divided into three lithofacies that show the regressive evolution of the depositional system: a) coarse to fine yellow bio- and lithoclastic calcarenites, b) sands, and c) gray sandy clays. At least 80 m-thick, this succession gently dips (5-10°) towards the south and the south-west. Locally, the Marsala Calcarenite may be covered by Middle and Upper Pleistocene marine terraced deposits. The town of Marsala presents several historical quarries for the extraction of this building material. Many of them were excavated underground, at depth ranging from a few meters to about 25 m, and are arranged in one or two levels, following the galleries and pillars excavation technique. With time, the underground quarries have been progressively abandoned due to the high costs of extraction, as well as to the dangers and difficulties encountered in working underground. Since the 1960's the quarries, as a matter of fact, have been affected by several instability processes for the decay of the physical and mechanical properties of the calcarenite rock mass and the interaction with the groundwater. Such instability processes are represented by collapses and deformations of vaults and pillars. These phenomena often propagate upward reaching the topographic surface and forming sinkholes which may likely affect and severely damage the built-up areas above. In particular, two case studies of sinkholes related to different underground quarries have been already described by the Authors in a previous contribution at EGU 2012, also integrated by a two-dimensional numerical study. The aim of the present work is to develop a three-dimensional numerical analysis aimed at describing the most significant processes and factors responsible of the instability processes, as well as to investigate the three-dimensional features of the same processes, based on rock laboratory testing data and a detailed reconstruction of the underground cave geometry. At this goal, we took advantage of detailed topographic surveys of the underground quarry, carried out before (year 2000) and after occurrence of one the sinkholes, that opened in July 2011 at the eastern sector of the town of Marsala, causing significant damage to a school. In the implementation of the 3D-model, the geomechanical survey of the calcarenite rock mass was also taken into account, as a required input layer depicting the main discontinuity systems, and their main features (pervasiveness, joint opening and spacing, etc.). Relevant differences between the results from 2-D and 3-D analyses are pointed out in the paper, highlighting the need to perform 3D-modeling in order to define the real instability conditions of the rock mass, and to evaluate the possibility of sinkhole occurrence at the surface.
Bonamini, Marco; Di Maggio, Cipriano; Lollino, Piernicola; Madonia, Giuliana; Parise, Mario; Vattano, Marco
An integrated approach, based on the use of trace fossils combined with analysis of physical and biogenic structures, identification\\u000a of key surfaces, and reconstruction of stratigraphic architecture, proved to be of critical value in defining the depositional\\u000a environments, elucidating the dynamics of progradation, and characterizing the various systems tracts of Upper Pliocene progradational\\u000a wedges (Capodarso area, Sicily) generated by cool-water
Francesco Massari; Assunta D’Alessandro
The aim of the present paper is the identification of natural or anthropic buried cavities under the church of St. Sebastiano in Catania (Sicily). To this purpose Ground Penetrating Radar (G.P.R.) surveys were performed on the pavement of the church and three in situ drillings were carried out outside the church. Through the G.P.R. investigation, the existence of hidden structures
Donatella Barilaro; Caterina Branca; Stefano Gresta; Sebastiano Imposa; Antonio Leone; Domenico Majolino
The MIX and Compleat ELEFAN methods were used to analyse length-frequency distributions of females of the deep- water shrimp Aristeus antennatus in order to estimate growth, mortality and yield-per-recruit. Length data were gathered in four seasonal experimental trawl surveys made in the Strait of Sicily (Mediterranean Sea). Up to four annual cohorts were distinguishable. Modal lengths were integrated and the
Sergio Ragonese; Marco L. Bianchini
Summary A set of phenocryst\\/matrix partition coefficients was obtained for up to 29 trace elements (ICP-MS analyses) in hawaiite to trachyte lavas from the Ellittico volcanic sequence (Mt. Etna system, Sicily). Partition coefficients were determined for plagioclase, clinopyroxene, olivine, kaersutite and Ti-magnetite. These phases, along with apatite (not analysed in this work), constitute the common fractionating solid assemblage of alkaline
M. D'Orazio; P. Armienti; S. Cerretini
This paper explores the relationships between the spatial patterns of the distribution of the young hakes of the year (YOY) and the oceanographical features in two areas of the Central Mediterranean (the Ligurian Sea and the Strait of Sicily), characterised by the occurrence of straits and channels. Comparative and correlative approaches were used to investigate coupling between biological and physical patterns. Density indices of the YOY were derived from annual trawl surveys from 1994 to 2004 in spring and autumn. Mean patterns of the YOY distributions were compared with the mesoscale oceanographical features reported in literature. No evident trends in recruitment strength were found in either areas. Inter-annual variability in YOY abundance in the Ligurian Sea was higher than in the Strait of Sicily. The location of nursery grounds in the study areas coincides with zones of relatively higher production, where upwelling and other enrichment processes regularly occur. The presence of predictable eddies and the frontal systems play a major role in the localization of nursery areas in the Strait of Sicily, maintaining their stable position throughout the years. The strongest transport of southern waters from the Tyrrhenian to the Ligurian Sea, due to the East Corsica Current, which is negatively correlated to winter North Atlantic Oscillation, is associated with the highest abundance of hake recruits in the nurseries of the Northern Ligurian Sea.
Abella, A.; Fiorentino, F.; Mannini, A.; Orsi Relini, L.
Submarine slides occur at all sediment bearing margins worldwide (Camerlenghi et al., 2009; Masson et al., 2006). Although numerous studies have dealt with mapping and monitoring of submarine landslide as well as investigations of trigger mechanisms and sediment failure processes, many open questions persist why a given slope fails whereas adjacent remains stable. Besides large slide events, smaller scaled mid-size slides became recently of particular importance because especially these local slides enable investigation of physical and kinematical processes during failure and to test a wide range of different trigger mechanisms. Hence, during the research expedition MSM15/3 we drilled two distinct landslides in the Gela Basin offshore south of Sicily (Italy) utilizing the MARUM sea floor drill rig (MeBo). These so-called ‘Twin Slides’ have previously been identified in water depth between 200 - 800m on the basis of side-scan sonar, Chirp seismics, swath bathymetry and shallow core data. Besides, these landslides are described as multiple failures likely controlled by specific stratigraphic surfaces acting as glide planes (Minisini et al., 2007; Minisini and Trincardi, 2009). Nevertheless, failure planes are located in depth inaccessible by conventional coring and we therefore lack groundtruthing of the geophysical data. Therefore, MeBo was deployed to drill e.g. critical subsurface intervals. A systematic MeBo drilling transect from the undisturbed slope apron to the depositional area of these landslide masses recovers up to 55 meter long cores, including the failure planes and stacked mass transport deposits in the proximal and distal areas, respectively. Sedimentological, geochemical, geophysical and geotechnical analysis of these core materials will enable (1) an age dating and estimation of the recurrence rate of mid-sized slide events and (2) a sediment physical characterization to gain a deeper insight into kinematics and physical processes during failure as well as to test a number of hypothesis regarding the trigger mechanisms, such as the weakness of clayey deposits, the liquefaction potential of the interbedded non-cohesive sand and/or ash layers, and the building up of high pore pressures due to high accumulation rates. References Camerlenghi, A., Urgeles, R., Fantoni, L., 2009. A database on submarine landslides of the Mediterranean Sea. In: Submarine Mass Movements and Their Consequences IV, edited by Mosher, DC. Et al., 4th International Symposium on Submarine mass movements and their consequences, Advances in Natural and Technological Hazards Research. Masson, D.G., Harbitz, C.B., Wynn, R.B., Pedersen, G., Løvholt, F., 2006. Submarine landslides: processes, triggers and hazard prediction. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 364, 2009-2039. Minisini, D., Trincardi, F., Asioli, A., Canu, M., Foglini, F., (2007). Morphologic variability of exposed mass-transport deposits on the eastern slope of the Gela Basin (Sicily channel). Basin Research, 19, 217-240 Minisini, D., Trincardi, F., (2009). Frequent failure of the continental slope: The Gela Basin (Sicily Channel), Journal of Geophysical Research, Earth Surfac, 114, F03014, 17 PP
Huhn, K.; Strasser, M.; Freudenthal, T.; Foglini, F.; Trincardi, F.; Minisini, D.; Msm15/3 Working Group
The eastern coast of Sicily is one of the littorals most prone to tsunami hazard in the Mediterranean Sea. The potential tsunamigenic sources are many, all connected to the complex geological pattern of the area, and they span different scales. On the local scale one can find the Hyblaean-Malta Escarpment (HME), characterized by mass failures that have been hypothesized as possible causes of local tsunami generation (see e.g. the deep-sea slide off Augusta that was speculatively associated to the 1693 earthquake). On the medium range, the faults along the HME, the Ionian Sea, the Messina Straits, as a part of the wider Calabrian Arc system, provided several relevant earthquakes in the past, some of which producing large tsunamis, such as the 1693 and the 1908 events. In the far field, the western Hellenic Arc, characterized by the largest earthquakes in the whole Mediterranean Sea, has the potential of big trans-Mediterranean tsunamis capable of severe effects also on the coasts of Sicily. In the framework of the EU-FP7 project ASTARTE, the area embracing the cities of Siracusa and Augusta, located in the southern part of the Ionian coast of Sicily, has been chosen as a test site for the evaluation of the tsunami hazard and risk by means of various techniques. In this work we adopt the worst-case credible scenario approach, which means that after taking into account the possible sources in different zones we select the largest events on the basis of historical and geo- and seismo-tectonical considerations and we compute the corresponding tsunami. The numerical calculations are carried out by means of in-house developed models: UBO-BLOCK to simulate the dynamics of the tsunamigenic slides, a code implementing the Okada equations to compute the co-seismic displacements of the sea floor, UBO-TSUFD to calculate the tsunami propagation over a domain covered by one or more regularly spaced grids with different resolution (the finer grids being nested within the coarser ones). For each scenario, this procedure provides traditionally the fields of maximum values of relevant parameters such as the highest sea level, the maximum water particles speed, the maximum run-up and inundation distance, etc as well as synthetic tide gauges in specified locations. In addition, the aggregate fields can be built by picking up the extreme values of the worst-case scenarios in each point of the domain. One of such aggregate field is the field of the largest inundation depth at the coast, also providing the maximum flooding area which is a tool of great relevance for local authorities to implement mitigation actions such as evacuation programs and long-term development plans of the coastal zone.
Tinti, Stefano; Armigliato, Alberto; Pagnoni, Gianluca; Zaniboni, Filippo
The magnitude, locus and characteristics of sediment export from catchments to neighbouring basins plays a significant role in controlling depositional stratigraphy. Fundamentally, the boundary conditions for sediment release from catchments are set by tectonics and climate, modulated by lithologic, hydrologic and geomorphic controls operating over the relevant time or length scale. A predictive understanding of sediment export to basins therefore requires (i) the integration of data illustrating the characteristics of sediment delivery within catchments and (ii) detailed constraints on how this supply signal evolves down-system, for a wide range of controlling variables. Here we address this challenge. Firstly, we present a detailed data study linking hillslope sediment supply to trunk stream grain size evolution for three catchments with drainage areas > 30 km2 in northern Sicily where tectonic uplift rates are > 1 mm/yr and where lithologies are well-mapped, using both sieved weight fraction and Wolman point count methodologies. We find that sediment input from coarse debris flows, rather than landslides, plays a dominant role in setting channel grain size and that coarse-fraction sediment export from catchments is intimately linked to channel-hillslope geomorphic coupling. Secondly, we present detailed data on grain size export from the outlets of more than 40 tectonically perturbed catchments across Sicily, Calabria and Abruzzo, where we have excellent constraints on tectonic uplift rates, lithology and catchment hydraulic geometry. We demonstrate that for catchments in topographic steady-state, grain size release is strongly controlled by rock type, but is insensitive to drainage area and local uplift rates that are < 1 mm/yr. In contrast, for catchments responding transiently to tectonics, the calibre of sediment release is strongly controlled by the degree of tectonic perturbation. The southern Italian data-sets allow us to provide first order estimates of the volume and grain size distribution of sediment exported to the straits of Messina as a whole, and we use terrace data to show there has been little change to this sediment release signal in the last 200 kyr. Together, these results allow us to evaluate the relative importance of upstream source controls in setting the characteristics of sediment release from tectonically perturbed catchments to basins and provide new data to test the outputs of sediment routing system models.
Whittaker, A.; Erhardt, S.; Norori-McCormac, A.; Knight, F.
Throughout the world there are hundreds of historic monuments and structures considered to be invaluable and irreplaceable. They are symbols of cultural identity and a means of educating people about history. Preservation of historic monuments and structures is therefore an important part of safeguarding these cultural heritage sites so that they retain their value for future generations. This report discusses a procedure for the investigation of seismic hazards in existing buildings and possible steps that can be taken to avoid damage caused by these hazards. The Augusta Airship Hangar located in Sicily, will be used as a case study however the topics addressed in this paper can be applied to other structures of historic value around the world. First state-of-the-art scanning procedures were used to create scale digital models that were imported into a structural analysis program. Within this program dynamic analyses were performed on the model based on actual ground motions taken close to the site. This data was used to determine the period and mode shapes of the structure. Then a nonlinear analysis, including a static pushover analysis, was implemented on a two-dimensional model of the structural frame. From this analysis the failure mechanisms of the structure were revealed with relation to an allowable roof displacement. The structural integrity of the structure was evaluated based on pre-defined performance goals. Finally multiple suggestions were made how the Augusta Airship Hangar might be repaired and strengthened so that this structure will not be destroyed should an earthquake occur. The results of our study show that historic structures, despite their age, can still be strong and ductile. Also there are a multitude of effective preservation and retrofit techniques that can be used to strengthen these historic structures, should an earthquake occur. Through this study, the Augusta Airship Hangar has proven to be not only a historic symbol for Sicily but also can be used as an example for the rehabilitation of other historic structures. The techniques and processes discussed in this paper can be applied to other historic reinforced concrete structures and can be expanded upon in future investigations.
Cronin, Kelly; Reiner, Tom; Whyte, Catherine
Throughout the world there are hundreds of historic monuments and structures considered to be invaluable and irreplaceable. They are symbols of cultural identity and a means of educating people about history. Preservation of historic monuments and structures is therefore an important part of safeguarding these cultural heritage sites so that they retain their value for future generations.This report discusses a procedure for the investigation of seismic hazards in existing buildings and possible steps that can be taken to avoid damage caused by these hazards. The Augusta Airship Hangar located in Sicily, will be used as a case study however the topics addressed in this paper can be applied to other structures of historic value around the world.First state-of-the-art scanning procedures were used to create scale digital models that were imported into a structural analysis program. Within this program dynamic analyses were performed on the model based on actual ground motions taken close to the site. This data was used to determine the period and mode shapes of the structure. Then a nonlinear analysis, including a static pushover analysis, was implemented on a two-dimensional model of the structural frame. From this analysis the failure mechanisms of the structure were revealed with relation to an allowable roof displacement. The structural integrity of the structure was evaluated based on pre-defined performance goals. Finally multiple suggestions were made how the Augusta Airship Hangar might be repaired and strengthened so that this structure will not be destroyed should an earthquake occur.The results of our study show that historic structures, despite their age, can still be strong and ductile. Also there are a multitude of effective preservation and retrofit techniques that can be used to strengthen these historic structures, should an earthquake occur. Through this study, the Augusta Airship Hangar has proven to be not only a historic symbol for Sicily but also can be used as an example for the rehabilitation of other historic structures. The techniques and processes discussed in this paper can be applied to other historic reinforced concrete structures and can be expanded upon in future investigations.
Cronin, Kelly; Whyte, Catherine [University of California at Berkeley, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, 760 Davis Hall (United States); Reiner, Tom [Graduate Engineer, Buro Happold Consulting Engineers, Inc., 9601 Jefferson Blvd., Suite B, Culver City, CA 90232 (United States)
In the hilly areas of Mediterranean environment the high intensity of autumnal rains determines high level of soil erosion losses in agricultural field reducing the soil fertility in the long run. In Sicily region this phenomenon have been emphasized by the crop management and by the orography of the territory. The experimental farm of UNICT for the collection of surface runoff is located in the c.da Manca di Geracello, Enna (550 m a.s.l, 37° 21'N, 14°16'E). The establishment consists of 12 plots. In the last sixteen years (1996-2011) the study of the impact assessment of various herbaceous cropping systems, both in terms of crop rotation (one crop, alternating different crops), crop habit (annual or perennials), types of soil tillage (traditional, minimum tillage, no tillage) on the dynamics of soil organic matter was carried out. The soil organic matter content, according to the depth of measurement (0-30 and 31-60 cm), the portion on the plot where the sample was taken (high, medium, low), and the season (winter and summer), was found significantly different according to the different cropping systems. The variation of organic matter in time was depending upon the soil tillage (plowing or not and sod seeding), the habitus of crop (annual or perennial). In the case of perennial the organic matter increased from 1.2 to 2.2%. The sod seeding allowed to take the organic matter around 1.8-2.0%
Cosentino, Salvatore; Copani, Venera; Testa, Giorgio; Scordia, Danilo
Slab-crusted flows on Mount Etna, Sicily are defined here as those whose crust has ridden on the flow core without significant disruption or deformation and have a high length to width ratio. They typically erupt from ephemeral boccas as late-stage products on dominantly aa flow fields, such as that of the 1983 eruption on Mount Etna. Slab-crusted flows tend to inflate mainly as they approach and after they reach the maximum length of slab-crust formation, the flow interior acting as a preferential pathway for injecting lava under a stable crust. Coalescence of vesicles under successive crusts causes separation between core and crust giving a new cooling surface within the flow, on which ropy surfaces (and occasionally aa textures) of limited areal extent may develop. Slab-crusted flows tend to form at ephemeral boccas together with other surface textural types including toes, ropy pahoehoe sheets and aa flows. This suggests that, on Etna, slab-crusted flows form from lava of the same rheological properties as both aa and pahoehoe textured flows. They do not represent a transition between aa and pahoehoe as argued for toothpaste flows in Hawaii. We conclude that slab-crusted flows on Etna owe their morphology to a relatively high critical ratio of effusion rate to advance rate, related to vent cross-sectional area and the slope over which the flow forms.
Guest, John E.; Stofan, Ellen R.
The Baroque monuments of several cities in eastern Sicily, built of local calcarenitic stone, are often subjected to conservation treatments, since they undergo many forms of alteration and degradation which can cause significant damage. However, a recent study of these building materials (Barone et al. in Environ. Geol. 54:1501, 2008) has demonstrated that some protective products, once applied, cause irreversible chromatic alterations. The façades of the monuments of the historic city centre of Modica are typically creamy yellow in colour, sometimes varying slightly due to the use of various pigments, such as clayey and gypseous earths (La Russa et al. in Appl. Phys. A 92:185, 2008). However, in some cases, these nuances are lost due to the application of protective products. This work provides a petrographic and colorimetric characterisation of the calcarenitic stone used to create the façades of the churches of S. Pietro, S. Maria del Soccorso and S. Maria dell’Annunziata in Modica, also by comparisons with locally quarried samples. In addition, it aims to identify protective substances which may have been used during previous restoration work. Analytical techniques included polarising optical microscopy, spectrophotometric colorimetric tests, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC-MS).
Belfiore, Cristina M.; La Russa, Mauro F.; Pezzino, Antonino; Campani, Elisa; Casoli, Antonella
Aspergillus strains belonging to section Nigri isolated during a two year survey in eight Sicilian vineyards located on the slopes of Mount Etna (Sicily, Italy) were analysed analyzed in order to characterize species responsible for ochratoxin A (OTA) contamination of grapes. The polyphasic approach permitted analysis of biodiversity of Aspergillus isolates in relation to their morphology, ochratoxigenicity and genetic variability. We assessed OTA production by A. carbonarius, A. niger, A. tubingensis and A. japonicus using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. A. carbonarius isolates were the strongest OTA producers. A subset of 66 representative strains was selected for further DNA-based characterization. PCR assays using species-specific primers discriminated between A. niger, A. carbonarius and A. japonicus on the basis of the target sequences for each species. The PCR-based methods matched morphological characterization in identifying all the black aspergilli (BA) isolates tested, whereas RFLP analysis with RsaI of isolates positive to PCRs with A. niger specific primers identified three A. tubingensis isolates. The identification of thirteen isolates was further confirmed by ITS analysis. By this method, each of the isolates was identified and assigned to an Aspergillus species. The fAFLP analysis of 40 isolates highlighted the power of this technique to discriminate different species and single strains, to verify the presence of mixed populations in the same vineyard, through homogeneous species clusters. No correlation was observed between the clusters and OTA production level or origin. PMID:18687497
Oliveri, C; Torta, L; Catara, V
Hybridization between interfertile, sympatric or parapatric, plant species can be reduced significantly by conspecific pollen advantage (CPA), whereby conspecific pollen has an advantage over heterospecific pollen in terms of ovule fertilization. We examined CPA in two interfertile species of Senecio, S. aethnensis, and S. chrysanthemifolius (Asteraceae), which form a hybrid zone on Mt. Etna, Sicily. Individuals of both species were pollinated with pollen mixtures containing 0, 25, 50, 75, or 100% heterospecific pollen, and offspring were genotyped to determine if they were products of conspecific or heterospecific pollen fertilizing the ovules. The mean proportion of hybrid offspring produced on S. aethnensis plants was not significantly different to that expected based on the proportion of heterospecific pollen applied to the flower head. However, S. chrysanthemifolius mother plants showed moderate CPA, with the proportion of hybrid offspring significantly less than expected. Seed set or seed germination was not reduced, hence the CPA found for S. chrysanthemifolius acts before ovule fertilization. The consequences of asymmetry in CPA on the reproductive isolation of S. aethnensis are briefly discussed, along with other mechanisms that may play a role in the maintenance of the hybrid zone on Mt. Etna. PMID:21652452
Chapman, Mark A; Forbes, David G; Abbott, Richard J
The role of insects in pollination and consequently in fruit set and quality was assessed in two commercial orchards of the cactus pear, Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill., in Agrigento Province, Sicily. In 1997, insects visiting flowers were sampled during May-June (the first bloom) and July (the second bloom, induced by the "scozzolatura" practise). More than 50 insect species belonging to 10 orders were collected in May-June, while only five species of Hymenoptera Apoidea were collected in July. The quality of fruits arising from the second bloom showed that Hymenoptera alone were able to guarantee effective pollination. To verify the role of insects in pollination in 1996 (during only the second bloom), and in 1997 and 2009 (during both blooms), 60 single flowers were marked during each bloom; 30 of them covered with paper sleeves (which prevented natural pollination), while the others were not covered. After withering, fruits produced by marked flowers were analyzed in laboratory: in all years and blooms, the total number of seeds, the number of developed seeds, and the weight and the percentage of pulp were significantly lower for covered flowers than for non-covered flowers. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that native insects effectively carry out the pollination of cactus pear flowers.
Lo Verde, Gabriella; La Mantia, Tommaso
Stratigraphic and morphostructural analyses have been carried out in the Mt. Etna volcanic region (eastern Sicily) to investigate in detail the deformation events that have affected the sedimentary successions forming the substratum of the volcano. In the foredeep, Quaternary submarine sedimentation ended 600 ka ago when the whole area emerged in response to homogeneous regional uplift. The irregular distribution of a stratigraphic marker, recognized through the analysis of more than 250 borehole logs, suggests that local dynamics also affected the area. We identify both compressional tectonic dynamics and volcano-related tectonic activity, and discriminate among their associated deformations. In particular, we quantify the vertical deformation component of the compressional structures (thrusts and related folds) and recognize for the first time a vertical component of deformation whose pattern clearly indicates a doming process acting at Mt. Etna. The comparison between long-term and short-term rates suggests that the doming has acted consistently over space and time through the last 600 ka and provides clues to the source of uplift. This component, defined by a specific Quaternary sedimentary horizon, has been compared with vertical deformation obtained by analytical inversion of morphological substratum data, and localizes the source at a depth of ˜16 km, at the mantle-crust transition. This uplift may be the consequence of hydration occurring in the altered ocean-like crust.
De Guidi, Giorgio; Imposa, Sebastiano; Scudero, Salvatore; Palano, Mimmo
A high-purity germanium detector has been used to measure the abundance of radium (Ra), thorium (Th) and potassium (K) in building materials used in Sicilian dwellings. The measurements were performed to evaluate which material was suitable for the construction of an enclosure, which would have a low background emission. The materials examined in this work showed concentrations of 226Ra, 232Th and 40K dramatically variable depending on the lithologies, particularly in the case of blocks, sands and aggregates commonly used in building materials in Sicily. The results are discussed and a criterion is indicated to reduce the radiation dose to humans. Since radon inlet is a major health problem, all the radiometric data and the geochemical features have been used to determine the radon exhalation, which arises from the disintegration of 226Ra in soils and walls of houses. From our experimental data it can be seen out that one of the geochemical parameters, Total Alkali (TA), may be an appropriate index to select materials of low radiological risk. PMID:11393768
Rizzo, S; Brai, M; Basile, S; Bellia, S; Hauser, S
The rollback of a segmented slab of oceanic lithosphere is typically accompanied by vertical lithospheric tear fault(s) along the lateral slab edge(s) and by strike slip movement in the upper plate, defined as a STEP fault (Subduction Tear Edge Propagator). The Neogene evolution of the Central Mediterranean is dominated by the interaction between the slow Africa-Eurasia convergence and the SE-ward rollback of the Ionian slab, that leads to the back-arc opening of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Here, we present post-stack time migrated and pre-stack depth migrated Archimede (1997) multichannel seismic lines, that were acquired offshore eastern Sicily, at the foot of the Malta escarpment. First, we identify the recent deformation along the lateral ramp of the Calabrian accretionary wedge. Towards the east, the Calabrian wedge is formed by the accretion of the post-evaporitic sediments, above a decollement at the base of the Messinian evaporites. At the latitude of Syracuse, 50 km east of the Malta escarpment, a major N150°E trending crustal scale and vertical fault slices through the entire accretionary wedge. This fault cuts by several kilometers, through the pre-evaporitic Messinian sediments and into the basement. The vertical offset along this vertical fault decreases from north to south, and the fault is no longer observed on the seismic lines, 50 km SE of the Alfeo seamount. A previously published Moho depth isocontour map, offshore Sicily and the recent GPS data, combined with the presence of strike slip movements NE onshore Sicily, allow us to identify this 200 km long crustal-scale fault as the surface expression of a STEP fault. The presence of syntectonic Pleistocene sediments on top this crustal-scale fault suggests a recent lithospheric vertical movement of the STEP fault, in response to the rollback of the Ionian slab and to the SE-ward advance of the Calabria-Peloritan block.
Gallais, Flora; Graindorge, David; Gutscher, Marc-André; Klaeschen, Dirk
Numerous shallow water basaltic eruptions have produced abundant floating scoria up to several meters in diameter, yet little is known about the conditions that give rise to this unusual style of volcanism. On October 17, 1891, a submarine eruption began 4 kilometers northwest of the island of Pantelleria, Sicily. The eruptive vent was located at a depth of 250 meters along the NW-SE trending Sicily Channel Rift Zone. Evidence for the eruption was provided by the occurrence of hot, scoriaceous lava "balloons" floating on the sea surface along a narrow line about 850-1000 meters long trending along the rift. These extremely vesicular fragments were spherical to ellipsoidal in shape and ranged from <50 to 250 cm in diameter. Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) and existing bathymetric maps have been used to conduct the first detailed investigation of a vent site associated with this unique style of volcanism. In 2011 the ROV Hercules, deployed from the E/V Nautilus, explored the 1891 Foerstner vent using high definition video cameras and produced a high resolution bathymetric map of the area using a BlueView multibeam imaging sonar. Light backscattering and oxidation-reduction potential sensors (MAPRs) were added to Hercules to detect discharge from active venting. ROV video footage has been used in conjunction with the high resolution bathymetric data to construct a geologic map of the vent area based on a variety of facies descriptors, such as abundance of scoria bombs, occurrence of pillow or scoria flow lobes, extent of sediment cover, and presence of spatter-like deposits. Initial results of the mapping have shown that there are two main vents that erupted within the observed area of floating scoria and most likely erupted at the same time as evidenced by similar bulk chemical compositions of recovered samples. Scoria bomb beds and some scoria flow lobes largely cover the suspected main vent, located at a depth of 250 meters. Distinct pillow flow lobes cover the second, previously unknown vent located north of Foerstner volcano at a depth of around 350 meters. Given the close proximity of these two vents, the differences in deposit types may be due to changing eruption style as a function of water depth. The abundant pillow flow lobes observed at the northern vent are most likely the result of more effusive eruptions occurring in deeper water (350 m) whereas the dominantly fragmental nature of material in the main southern vent indicates more vigorous explosive activity at shallower levels (250 m). Based on the nature of deposits found at the vent areas, the basaltic balloons of the 1891 Foerstner eruption are suspected to be a result of both coarse, localized fire fountaining activity and detachment from gas-charged flow lobes. The larger and shallower southern vent area is likely to have been the main source of the basaltic balloons observed on the surface during the 1891 eruption. A review of other historic eruptions that have produced basaltic balloons suggests that this style of activity is likely to be restricted to a rather narrow range of water depths and thus recognition of the distinct deposits produced by this type of activity in ancient deposits could help place important paleodepth constraints on volcaniclastic sequences.
Kelly, J. T.; Carey, S.; Bell, K. L.; Rosi, M.; Marani, M.; Roman, C.; Pistolesi, M.; Baker, E. T.
After detailed field (stratigraphic and structural) and laboratory analyses of intact and deformed rocky outcrops, we studied the multi-scale properties of strike-slip faults nucleated and developed in Pleistocene carbonate grainstones of Favignana Island (Sicily, Italy). This skeletal carbonate rocks ranging in thickness between 5 and 20 meters make up the whole eastern side of the Island, where they unconformably lie on silicoclastic deposits of the Upper Pliocene. The studied structures are very similar to those one affecting carbonate grainstones of San vito Lo Capo Peninsula (Sicily, Italy) and already documented in a recent paper. There strain localization into narrow bands encompass first compaction, shear, pressure solution formation, their subsequent shearing, and finally cataclasis. The transitions from one deformation process to another, which were likely controlled by changes in the material properties, are recorded by different ratios and dissimilar distributions of the fault dimensional attributes. In Favignana Island, the results of our study allow us to: (i) indentify two conjugate sets of faults trending NW and NNE, characterized by right-lateral and left-lateral kinematics, respectively; (ii) document the progression of the deformation from single compactive shear bands, with an offset ranging between mm's to cm's, to zones of compactive shear bands, characterized by a larger amount of offset with discontinuous cataclasis and slip surfaces, and finally to well developed faults, with an inner cataclastic core surrounded by wider damage zones made up of compactive shear bands, joints, and possible dilational bands; (iii) decipher that linkage processes, responsible for fault development, took place by mechanical interaction of adjacent individual structures at any deformation stage (single bands, zone of shear bands or well developed faults) with formation of characteristic ramp and eye structures. Based on their internal architecture and petrophysical properties, the studied strike-slip faults behave as combined barrier-conduit hydraulic structures to fluid flow. The single compactive shear bands, the shear band zones, and the cataclastic cores of the faults have a lower porosity relative to the surrounding carbonate host rocks, and therefore form seals for cross-fault fluid flow. On the contrary, the discrete and undulated slip surfaces present either within or at the edges of the fault cores enhance the along-fault fluid flow. Finally, the detailed analyses of macro- and mesostructural features exposed in Favignana Island show that the overall deformation pattern in the area may be interpreted in terms of strike-slip tectonics driven by a current stress field geometry characterized by a NW oriented maximum compression. The stress field acting in the area appears to be directly controlled by the convergence between the African and European plates. The present-day Africa motion along NNW-SSE- to NW-SE-directed vectors is substantiated by geological, seismological, VLBI (very long baseline interferometry) and global positioning system data.
Cilona, Antonino; Agosta, Fabrizio; Giunta, Giuseppe; Renda, Pietro; Tondi, Emanuele
Fleas (Insecta: Siphonaptera) are obligate bloodsucking insects, which parasitize birds and mammals, and are distributed throughout the world. Several species have been implicated in pathogen transmission. This study aimed to monitor red foxes and the fleas isolated from them in the Palermo and Ragusa provinces of Sicily, Italy, as these organisms are potential reservoirs and vectors of pathogens. Thirteen foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and 110 fleas were analysed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to detect DNA of the pathogens Ehrlichia canis, Babesia microti, Rickettsia spp., Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Anaplasma platys, Anaplasma marginale and Anaplasma ovis. In the foxes, A. ovis was detected in only one animal, whereas the prevalence of the E. canis pathogen was 31%. B. microti and Rickettsia spp. were not detected. Of all of the collected fleas, 75 belonged to the species Xenopsylla cheopis, 32 belonged to Ctenocephalides canis, two belonged to Ctenocephalides felis and one belonged to Cediopsylla inaequalis. In the fleas, the following pathogens were found: A. ovis (prevalence 25%), A. marginale (1%), A. phagocytophilum (1%), Rickettsia felis (2%) and E. canis (3%). X. cheopis was the flea species most frequently infected with Anaplasma, in particular A. ovis (33%), A. marginale (1%) and A. phagocytophilum (1%). Both C. felis exemplars were positive for R. felis. E. canis was found in the lone C. inaequalis and also in 3% of the X. cheopis specimens. No fleas were positive for B. microti or A. platys. As foxes often live in proximity to domestic areas, they may constitute potential reservoirs for human and animal parasites. Further studies should be performed on fleas to determine their vectorial capacity. PMID:24589112
Torina, A; Blanda, V; Antoci, F; Scimeca, S; D'Agostino, R; Scariano, E; Piazza, A; Galluzzo, P; Giudice, E; Caracappa, S
The study provides a comparative analysis of Advanced Differential Interferometric SAR (A-DInSAR) methods and processing approaches. State-of-the-art A-DInSAR techniques, such as Persistent Scatterers Interferometry (PSI) or the Small BASeline (SBAS) approach are powerful geodetic tools with a large potential for an operational, cost-effective mapping of surface deformations up to an accuracy of 1 mm/y on a regional scale. Both approaches focus on different characteristics of the scatterers within a resolution cell. While PSI extracts the phase change by analyzing stable, dominant scatterers, the SBAS technique is sensitive to stable, but distributed scatterers. In order to assess the practical implications of the two approaches we processed a 8-year spanning time-series of ENVISAT ASAR data for the heterogeneous, rural environment in south-eastern Sicily, Italy and its hinterland. Different natural and anthropogenic induced deformation phenomena are present within the study area. In addition to the PSI and SBAS approach, a combined method, called Multi-Temporal Interferometry (MTI), was applied using the StaMPS software. The density of retrieved points was confronted to the different land cover classes. In addition, deviations between the different methods are presented. The results reveal the complimentary character of both approaches for the study site and suggest that the MTI approach is favorable for wide area analysis. Validation with GPS measurements from the INGV network was undertaken and the integration in the framework of the SISTEM approach, where different measurements are combined, allowed for the derivation of three-dimensional surface deformation.
Vollrath, Andreas; Zucca, Francesco; Stramondo, Salvatore; Guglielmino, Francesco; Bonforte, Alessandro
Since ˜200 Ma, the Hyblean Mountains (southeastern Sicily) have been the site of recurrent, mainly submarine, mafic volcanism. In the upper Pliocene, large volumes of tholeiitic products were erupted in a shallow marine environment, leading to the growth of volcanic islands. The deposits of this tholeiitic episode can be grouped into two main facies associations: (1) pillow lavas and hyaloclastite tuffs erupted and deposited entirely under water, and (2) submarine pillow breccias, fed from subaerial lava flows entering the ocean and subaerial lavas, which are distinguished into a coastal lava platform facies and an inland facies. Lava flows into the ocean led to the growth of lava deltas consisting of a basal flow foot breccia and an overlying sequence of p?hoehoe flow units, the latter rarely exceeding 0.5 m in thickness. In outcrop, this facies association shows evidence for significant instability of the lava deltas during growth, indicating very similar processes to those observed during the current eruption of K?lauea volcano, Hawaii. Away from the coast of the growing island, the inland facies is characterized by thicker (up to several meters) p?hoehoe flow units showing evidence for sheet flow inflation and limited outcrops of scoria and/or bomb deposits. Evidence for lava transport through tubes exists in the form of tumuli and multiple vesicle layers; drained tubes are absent. All tholeiitic products were emitted in a single, instantaneous, voluminous event (?120 km3), consistent with very high effusion rates similar to those of flood basalts or the 1783 Skaftár Fires (Iceland) eruption.
TEDA is a real-time algorithm for the detection of potentially dangerous long period waves like tsunamis (Bressan and Tinti, 2011) and it is formed by two simultaneous algorithms built to work at a station level, i.e. on sea level data from a single station: the tsunami detection is designed to identify impulsive long period waves as tsunamis and it triggers a detection when the detided sea level slope exceeds a dynamic threshold that varies according with the previous background sea level slope, while the secure detection triggers an alert when a filtered sea-level signal passes an amplitude threshold. To make TEDA operational in a tide gauge station, both the thresholds of the detection conditions and the temporal parameters in the definitions of TEDA functions should be carefully determined to improve the algorithm efficiency, especially for coastal tide gauge stations that are usually characterized by a local background spectrum and a site dependent tsunami response. This is accomplished by a performance evaluation study, called calibration, which consists in the analysis of the performance of TEDA tested a posteriori with different settings on available data, both on background condition and in case of tsunami event. The study of the background signal and in particular of the potential dangerous events that can affect the site is very important, especially in case of no tsunami records available, where synthetic tsunami signals produced by numerical simulations of known and possible tsunamigenic sources should be used. The calibration of TEDA in a specific site allows not only to optimize, but also to evaluate its efficiency in different possible situations. In this work we present the results of TEDA calibration for two Italian sites, Catania and Tremestieri, both on the eastern coast of Sicily, where coastal tide gauges are installed, with synthetic tsunami signals from tsunami scenarios, including seismic and landslide sources (Tonini et al, 2011).
Bressan, L.; Tinti, S.; Zaniboni, F.; Pagnoni, G.
The Gela Nappe of south central Sicily provides an example of a curved segment of an orogenic front that can be examined both onshore and offshore for deformational style and amount of shortening. Synorogenic sediments allow the deformation to be dated. Two distinct structural styles are observed in the Gela Nappe: The central salient part of the nappe (Caltanissetta basin) consists of a single thrust sheet containing a train of continuously tightening folds and the reentrant margins of the nappe (Sciacca and Monte Judica) consist of a stack of several thrust sheets. These different structural styles correspond to the pretectonic Mesozoic stratigraphy of the foreland plate. Carbonate platforms exist on the Adventure bank and Hyblean Plateau ahead of Sciacca and Monte Judica, respectively, while the Caltanissetta basin region appears to have accumulated basinal clay facies. Where the resistant carbonate stratigraphy provides a buttress to the propagation of the thrust front, deformation is taken up by imbrication on-steep ramps through the carbonates generating a relatively thick orogenic wedge. In the basinal setting, where no strong rheology exists, the low angle of friction on the clay detachment levels requires the growing thrust wedge to be much thinner with a very low foreland dip. Hence the thrust front propagates much farther forward into the basin than it does in the adjacent platformal areas, producing a nonlinear thrust front. In the basinal region, accretion of foreland material to the nappe by imbrication was only prominent during the Messinian when subaerial exposure prevented low-friction transport of the nappe across the highest levels of the stratigraphy. A steady thickening of the nappe by internal folding suggests an increase in friction along the basal detachment, possibly due to progressive compaction of the clays.
Lickorish, W. Henry; Grasso, Mario; Butler, Robert W. H.; Argnani, Andrea; Maniscalco, Rosanna
Measuring underground water temperatures in a network of wells, together with many other geochemical and geophysical data, is a useful tool in medium-long term surveillance of active volcanic areas. The study case here presented deals with Volcano Island (Eolian Islands, Sicily, Italy). About 20 years of observations are presented; they have been acquired either during spot campaigns, every 1-3 months, either by continuous monitoring (sampling period of 2 hours). Although the interested active volcanic area has an extension of few square kilometers, data analysis pointed out a surprising variability in space and time of the information acquired, and in particular: a) Monthly temperature variations show a frequency related to the hydrological cycle, except some wells located in a piezometric high (Camping Sicilia well) or in distal positions respect to the La Fossa Crater (EAS and Discarica wells). b) Some wells subjected to continuous monitoring, affected (Le Calette) or not (Camping Sicilia) by seasonal variations, show high frequency (from few hours to few days) pulsation of several Celsius degrees. The above mentioned variations are sometimes related to seismic events (Gulf of Patti earthquakes, April 2002). c) Water table elevations from sea level, measured at the same time of temperature, highlight the presence of some wells (EAS, Casamento) where the piezometric surface is normally below the sea, despite they are very near to the coast line. The elements above discussed point out the presence of a complex multi-layered aquifer, with very different interactions between fresh, sea and volcanic waters, that are reflected in space and time variations of measured B.H.T. values. The implementation of an accurate hydrogeological model is then to be considered as preventive and fundamental in order to correctly design a surveillance activity based on underground fluids monitoring in this area.
Madonia, P.; Capasso, G.; Favara, R.
In a recent epidemiological study, researchers investigated mortality from malignant pleural neoplasms in Italy, and they detected some geographic clusters of cases of this disease. We found a town located in a volcanic area of eastern Sicily to be of special interest. The residents, some of whom were diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, had never had any relevant exposure to asbestos during their professional lives. The results of an environmental survey suggested that a possible cause of asbestos exposure was the stone quarries near the town. The products of the quarries contain fibrous amphiboles, which are used widely in the local building industry. These fibrous amphiboles were identified as intermediate phases between tremolite and actinolite. Samples were collected from buildings in the town, and concentrations of amphibole fibers were evaluated. Fibrous phases were detected in 71% of the samples, and fiber concentrations ranged from a few thousand to more than 4 x 10(4) fibers/mg of material. In addition, we conducted a study on the mineral fiber lung burden in a pleural mesothelioma case. Many mineral fibers that were classified as the same tremolite-actinolite fibrous amphibole found in the quarries and in the building materials were detected in the lung tissue. The results suggest that the inhabitants of the town we studied had been exposed for several decades to asbestos fibers that were present in the material extracted from the local stone quarries. The material was subsequently used in the building industry, and this has caused an increased risk of pleural mesothelioma in the area. PMID:11128876
Paoletti, L; Batisti, D; Bruno, C; Di Paola, M; Gianfagna, A; Mastrantonio, M; Nesti, M; Comba, P
Soil erosion by water is a serious problem in southern Italy, particularly in Sicily which is one of the Italian administrative regions prone to desertification. Soil erosion not only affects soil quality, in terms of agricultural productivity, but also reduces the availability of water in reservoirs. This study was conducted in the Comunelli catchment in south-central Sicily, to predict potential annual soil loss using the revised universal soil loss equation (RUSLE) and to test the reliability of this methodology to predict reservoirs siltation. The RUSLE factors were calculated for the catchment using survey data and rain gauge measurement data. The R-factor was calculated from daily, monthly and annual precipitation data. The K-factor was calculated from soil samples collected in May and November 2004. The LS topographic factor was calculated from a 20 m digital elevation model. The C- and P-factors, in absence of detailed data, were set to 1. The results were compared with those obtained from another soil loss estimation method based on 137Cs and with the soil loss estimated from the sediment volume stored in the Comunelli reservoir between 1968 and 2004.
Onori, Filippo; de Bonis, Piero; Grauso, Sergio
The emerged and submerged coastal tracts of selected areas in NW Sicily (San Vito Lo Capo Promontory and Marettimo Island in the Egadi Archipelago) have been studied by means of an interdisciplinary approach (geomorphological and neotectonic surveys, palaeontological, depositional and petrographical observations) with the aim to characterize the coastal evolution of the sector over a wide time frame (Late Pleistocene
S. Maria di Galeria; S. Donato
Analysis of a herpetofaunal community from an altered marshy area in Sicily; with special remarks on habitat use (niche breadth and overlap), relative abundance of lizards and snakes, and the correlation between predator abundance and tail loss in lizards
A field survey was conducted in a highly degraded barren environment in Sicily in order to investigate herpetofaunal community composition and structure, habitat use (niche breadth and overlap) and relative abundance of a snake predator and two species of lizard prey. The site was chosen because it has a simple community structure and thus there is potentially less ecological complexity
L. Luiselli; F. M. Angelici; M. Di Vittorio; A. Spinnato; E. Politano
In the last 1000 years southeastern Sicily was struck by large seismic events (1169, 1542, 1693, 1757, 1846 and 1990). Following the 1990 earthquake (Ml=5.4), the monitoring of seismic activity of the iblean foreland has been improved by nine 3-C digital seismic stations run by INGV (Sezione di Catania). As inferred from the records of the years 1994-2002, the seismic activity was characterized by events of small magnitudes which did not exceed M=4.2. From the collected seismic database, 70 events with at least 7 impulsive P-wave first motions, were selected. Routine earthquake locations were obtained by using the program Hypoellipse (Lahr, 1989) in an six layers, one-dimensional velocity structure. The depth distribution shows that the majority of the selected events are shallower than 25 km. To estimate the fault parameters of these events a non linear inversion method, which uses both polarity and S polarization data sets (Zollo and Bernard, 1991), has been used. The azimuth, the polarization and the incidence angles of P- and S-waves have been determined applying a Covariance Matrix Decomposition (Montalbetti and Kanasewich, 1970). The addition of a few S polarizations to a set of P polarities greatly improved the resolution of the fault parameters, reducing also the number of multiple solutions. In agreement with the focal mechanism obtained for the 1990 earthquake, compressional axes (P) are mostly oriented NW-SE. Moreover, the analysis of shear-wave splitting shows the polarization of the fast S-wave along the same direction (NW-SE). Finally, earthquakes have been analyzed in order to determine the stress tensor directions by using Gephart and Forsyth algorithm. References Lahr, J.C. (1989). Hypoellipse/version 2.0: A computer program for determining local earthquake hypocentral parameters, magnitude and first motion pattern. U.S. Geol. Surv., Open-File Rep. 89/116, 81 pp. Montalbetti, J. F., and E. R. Kanasevich (1970). Enhancement of telesismic body phase with a polarization filter. Geophys. J. R. Astron. Soc., 21, 119-129. Zollo, A. and P. Bernard (1991). Fault mechanism for near source data: joint inversion of P polarities and S polarizations. Geophys. J. Int., 104, 441-452.
Musumeci, C.; Scarfi, L.; Patane, D.; Gresta, S.
Rare gas content measurements in groundwater of Sciacca Thermal Basin (STB), western Sicily (Italy), showed an excess of helium respect to a typical water in equilibrium with atmosphere (ASW). The isotopic composition of such helium is 2.9 Ra (where Ra is the 3He/4He ratio in atmosphere), displaying an excess of 3He which cannot be explained by cosmogenic production/accumulation but is attributed to the addition of mantle-derived He. Taking into account that helium isotopes are not much sensitive to degassing processes from water , the measured isotopic composition can be considered representative of the area. The isotopic signature of the dissolved heavier noble gases (i.e. Ne, Ar) constrains their atmospheric origin, but their elemental abundances are lower than expected for an ASW. This is interpreted in terms of elemental fractionation during degassing processes. We re-calculated the residual fraction (F) of noble gases in groundwater and the pristine amount of dissolved atmospheric noble gases on the basis of the classical liquid-gas phase portioning model. Such data allowed us to compute the correct amount of pristine 4He dissolved into the thermal water. Then, once known the He flux, we estimated the age of STB groundwaters as a function of the physical parameters of the aquifer. Tritium measurements carried out in these waters give us values below 1TU highlighting the "old" nature of waters. Hence here we used radiogenic helium as tracer of groundwater age and check the result with the groundwater age computed by using a new dating method based on heat balance equation. On the basis of the calculated total amount of helium dissolved into the groundwaters and its isotopic ratio we compute the amounts of radiogenic dissolved helium. Thus known the 4He flux we dated the STB groundwater as function of the physical parameters of the aquifer. It is well known that the validity of estimated groundwater residence time depends on the accurate evaluation of 4He accumulation rates and some hydrological parameters such as porosity and thickness of aquifers. Thus, in order to better constrain the water age, we used an other dating approach based on heat balance equation. Firstly, we analysed the complete sequence of water transport through the deep thermal aquifer system, from its recharge to the discharge. The ratio between the internal energy of a defined volume of water and the net heat conducted out allows to estimate the residence time of the water in each elementary volume. The ages of the STB groundwaters arising from the two independent approach are comparable and the resident time results older than tens of thousands of years.
Caracausi, A.; Nuccio, P. M.; Favara, R.; Rizzo, A.
The Peloritani Mountains in northeastern Sicily make part of the Appennine-Maghrebian Chain, which forms the highly deformed southern margin of the European Continent. In this zone the NW-SE-striking `Aeolian-Tindari-Giardini' System (ATG) separates two areas of seismicity. To the west of the ATG fault system, seismic activity below a depth of 40 km is essentially absent. To the east of this fault system, we note a significant presence of intermediate depth and deep events, which mark the subduction zone in the Calabrian Arc. Between 1994 and 2003 300 microearthquakes could be located with fair accuracy near the ATG fault system. Their depths range from less than 5 to 40 km, with greater depths occurring to the east of the ATG. We examined the resolution capability of the standard location by applying a grid search location for typical events. The distribution of the residuals shows trends recognizable in the standard locations that are in part an artefact of a non-ideal conditions of the standard locations, such as the station configuration, the use of an unsuitable velocity model and inconsistencies of arrival time pickings. By applying relative location techniques (the double-difference method and a master-event technique) we were able to reduce the scatter of hypocentres significantly. We focused in particular on earthquake families with similar waveforms and estimated the geometrical extent of hypocentre clusters. Compared to the standard location the dispersion of hypocentres decreased by an amount of over 90 per cent and the volume occupied by the foci contracted to ~1 per cent. The significance of these geometries was tested with Monte Carlo experiments and by interchanging the master events. The cluster geometries are consistent with the dislocation patterns as inferred from fault-plane solutions but do not show a simple relation to the ATG. The role of fluid flow of plutonic origin may be invoked as a possible trigger mechanism. This hypothesis is supported by the presence of geothermal anomalies in the vicinity as well as by an upward migration trend in foci.
Scarfî, L.; Langer, H.; Scaltrito, A.
The detection of the arrival time of seismic waves or picking is of great importance in many seismology applications. Traditionally, picking has been carried out by human operators. This process is not systematic and relies completely on the expertise and judgment of the analysts. The limitations of manual picking and the increasing amount of data daily stored in the seismic networks worldwide distributed and in active seismic experiments lead to the development of automatic picking algorithms. Current conventional algorithms work with single signals, such as the "short-term average over long-term average" (STA/LTA) algorithm, autoregressive methods or the recently developed "Adaptive Multiband Picking Algorithm" (AMPA). This work proposes a correlation-based picking algorithm, whose main advantage is the fact of using the information of a set of signals, improving the signal to noise ratio and therefore the picking accuracy. The main advantage of this approach is that the algorithm does not require to set up sophisticated parameters, in contrast to other automatic algorithms. The accuracy of the conventional STA/LTA algorithm, the recently developed AMPA algorithm, an autoregressive method, and a preliminary version of the cross correlation-based picking algorithm were assessed using a huge data set composed by active seismic signals from experiments in Tenerife Island (January 2007, Spain). The experiment consisted of the deployment of a dense seismic network on Tenerife Island (125 seismometers in total) and the shooting of air-guns around the island with the Spanish oceanographic vessel Hespérides (6459 air shots in total). Only 110937 signals (13.74% of the total) had the signal to noise ratio enough to be manually picked. Results showed that the use of the cross correlation-based picking algorithm significantly increases the number of signals that can be considered in the tomography. A new active seismic experiment will cover Sicily and Aeolian Islands (TOMO-ETNA MED-SUV.ISES) under the European MED-SUV project. The Spanish oceanographic vessel Sarmiento de Gamboa will shot about 2600 and 4000 air-guns in the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas, respectively. The shots will be recorded in 150 seismic stations. Thus, close to 1 million P-waves arrivals will be generated. Since the sources and receivers locations are known and considering that the vessel will travel a small distance between two consecutive shots, a cross correlation-based picking algorithm will be used to obtain the arrival time.
Diaz, Alejandro; Álvarez, Isaac; De la Torre, Ángel; García, Luz; Benítez, Ma Carmen; Cortés, Guillermo
Eastern Sicily is among the most exposed regions in Italy and in the whole Mediterranean to tsunami hazard and risk. The historical tsunamis recorded here were generally associated to moderate-to-large magnitude earthquakes. The largest tsunami documented in the area occurred on January 11th, 1693. It followed the highest-magnitude earthquake (7.4) of the Italian seismic history. The tsunami, whose first significant motion was a retreat along the entire eastern Sicily coastline, produced the most devastating effects at Augusta (15 meters run-up) and Catania, being relevant at Siracusa and Messina too. A lively debate exists on whether the earthquake was the only source of the tsunami, or other causes (such as submarine landslides, possibly triggered by the earthquake) contributed to the tsunami generation. In the framework of the EC funded project TRANSFER, we investigate both hypotheses, starting from suitable onshore and offshore faults as well as from offshore landslide bodies, and hence simulating numerically the ensuing tsunami and comparing the results with the available historical information. We base on the results obtained during recent offshore surveys, in particular the multichannel seismic survey MESC2001, carried out in year 2001 on board the R/V Urania of the Italian National Council of Researches (CNR), which mapped both active normal faults and a number of possible landslide bodies along the Hyblaean-Malta escarpment, the most prominent tectonic structure found just few kilometres offshore eastern Sicily. From the modelling point of view, the initial condition for the earthquake- generated tsunamis coincides with the vertical coseismic deformation of the seafloor. Instead, the landslide motion is simulated through the Lagrangian block model UBO-BLOCK2, developed at the University of Bologna. Finally, the finite-element code UBO-TSUFE, implemented by the same research team, is used to simulate the tsunami generation and propagation. The main conclusions are: 1) if the earthquake is postulated to be the only responsible for the tsunami, then the historical information can be reproduced only by assuming an offshore tectonic source; 2) taking into account the largest of the mapped landslides, we are able to reproduce quite satisfactorily both the first polarity and the size distribution of the tsunami; 3) we cannot rule out the idea that there was a concurrent contribution of the earthquake and of the landslide in generating the tsunami.
Armigliato, A.; Tinti, S.; Zaniboni, F.; Pagnoni, G.; Argnani, A.
A detailed field mapping, coupled with structural analyses and morphological investigation, has been carried out along the northern and western borders of the Hyblean Plateau (SE Sicily), in order to define the nature and the kinematics of a major Quaternary fault belt. This, here designed as the Scicli Line Fault Belt, is composed of two N50 oriented extensional basins that, linked by a regional N10 trending transfer zone, originated during the Early Pleistocene and experienced, since the Late Quaternary, a positive tectonic inversion. In both the two stages of deformation, the Scicli Line Fault Belt has been characterised by displacement-rate comparable with the relative velocities measured between the distinct plates composing the central Mediterranean region. In the period going from 1.5-1.2 to 0.85 Ma, the fault belt accommodated the entire divergence between Adria and Nubia. At present, the Scicli Line Fault Belt absorbs most of the Nubia-Eurasia convergence, while the western divergent margin of the Adria microplate has jumped to the eastern and the southern margins of the Hyblean Plateau, along the Late Quaternary Siculo-Calabrian Rift Zone. The off-shore prolongation of the two tectonic boundaries of the Hyblean Plateau has been recognised in the Sicily Channel, where they are both interrupted by a WNW-ESE oriented dextral fault. According to our reconstruction, the Hyblean Plateau represents an isolated lithospheric block, whose evolution can be related to the propagation of the western divergent margin of the Adria microplate, accompanied with the southward migration of the triple junction between Eurasia, Nubia and Adria. In this new large-scale kinematic picture, the GPS velocity measured in the Hyblean region, at the permanent site of NOTO, is actually representative of the local kinematics, rather than of the entire African promontory of southern Italy. This implies a correction of previous regional kinematic models based on combination of GPS vectors. In particular, our data constrain a new interpretation both for the kinematics along the E-W oriented Nubia-Eurasia margin, dominated by prevalent dextral deformation rather than reverse motions, and for the intraplate deformation in the Sicily Channel, within the Africa promontory, which would be dominated by a roughly N110° oriented extension. This conclusion has implication also on the mechanism and the origin of the Pantelleria-Linosa-Malta Rift that is here interpreted as a transtensive feature developed along a major transform fault, rather than the result of passive rifting induced by the Nubia-Eurasia collision, as it is currently interpreted.
Catalano, S.; De Guidi, G.; Romagnoli, G.; Torrisi, S.; Tortorici, G.; Tortorici, L.
The essential oils of the flowers of Magydaris tomentosa (Desf.) DC. (Apiaceae) collected in Sicily (MSi) and Algeria (MAl), respectively, were obtained by hydrodistillation, and their compositions were analysed. The analyses allowed the identification and quantification of 23 components in MSi and 60 compounds in MAl, respectively, showing a very different profile in the composition of the two populations. The main components of MSi were cembrene (28.2%), ?-springene (17.5%) and ?-springene (14.8%), also present in MAl but in lesser amount (0.4%, 1.8% and 0.9%, respectively), whereas the principal constituents of MAl were (E)-nerolidol (35.4%), ?-costol (13.3%) and ?-costol (6.8%). Both MSi and MAl exhibited a significant antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus epidermidis (minimum inhibitory concentration = 25 and 12.5 ?g/mL, respectively). The chemotaxonomy markers of the species were identified. PMID:24871127
Khaoukha, Guesmia; Ben Jemia, Mariem; Amira, Smain; Laouer, Hocine; Bruno, Maurizio; Scandolera, Elia; Senatore, Felice
In this paper, volcanic-rich ceramic remains from the archaeological sites of Francavilla, Naxos and Taormina (Province of Messina, North-eastern Sicily) were studied by using inclusions as main provenance marker. Technological features, such as temper choice, vitrification degree and firing temperatures, were investigated by polarizing microscopy, X-ray diffractometry (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Information on the production centres was obtained through the identification of the source area of raw materials used as temper. Indeed, petrochemical analysis of the volcanic inclusions within the examined ceramics displayed strong affinities with structures/textures and compositions of the locally outcropping mugearitic products, probably ascribed to the eruptive activity of an eccentric vent of Mt. Etna (Mt. Mojo). A local production for the studied pottery samples has been therefore advanced, assuming that the used volcanic temper was easily available from the alluvial deposits along the Alcantara River stream, which is connected to the lava flow of Mt. Mojo.
Belfiore, Cristina Maria, E-mail: email@example.com [Universita di Catania, Dipartimento di Scienze Geologiche, Corso Italia 57, I-95129, Catania (Italy); Di Bella, Marcella; Triscari, Maurizio [Universita di Messina, Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, C.da Papardo, Salita Sperone 31, I-98166, Sant'Agata, Messina (Italy); Viccaro, Marco [Universita di Catania, Dipartimento di Scienze Geologiche, Corso Italia 57, I-95129, Catania (Italy)
Kinematics of mountain belts is often very difficult to decipher. Main problems consist in the linkage between different stages of deformation which define the chain building, their significance in the context of lithospheric evolution dominates by plate collision and the interaction with previous structures recorded in the rocks. Also, the overprinting of structures developing later with respect to the chain building may further make complicate the way to unravel the tectonic evolution of the wedge. Folding and faulting are the dominant modes for strain partitioning during chain building. The micro-to-macroscopic related structures represent shortening accommodation in the shallow crustal levels during plate collision. The structures defined by both modes are often geometrically and kinematically linked. Folding and faulting may also be representative of distinct episodes of tectonism. Meso-scale structural observations provide a powerful tool to unravel the evolution of map- and regional-scale structures. Several studies are known worldwide, regarding the deformative history during a single contractional episode. Also in the Mediterranean region, several outcrop- and map-scale examples are consistent with a progressive deformation model, where folding and thrusting are interpreted as kinematically linked. The connection between thrusting-and-folding evolution and the wedge failure towards the extensional collapse in collisional settings is poorly argued. Different opinions are known about this concept: i) one view is that extension post-date thrusting and wedge growth and is due to thermal processes in the inner zones of the chain built; and ii) the other view is that extension develops during the chain building processes and is related to the wedge taper evolution. In Sicily, located in the Central Mediterranean, lack a kinematic model relative to the chain building, including folding-and-thrusting and extension. Our aim is to provide constraints to help unravel the structural evolution of the Sicily chain using overprinting mesoscopic fabrics and their relationships to larger structures. The geometric differences existing between some types of structures within the belt and their overprinting relationships allow delineating the timing of deformations during chain building and post-collision tectonic history. The overall structural setting of the mountain chain reflects therefore the deformation and the progressive thrusting migration forelandwards, with extensional faulting overprinting and inverting formed thrusts. Most of the data available for this work come from detailed analysis in a few key areas, ranging along the Northern Sicily, where minor structures are overprinted to form a single sequence. Our study of outcrops throughout the region has recognised that the progression of deformation is represented by four regionally-significant structural stages (layer-parallel shortening, folding-and-thrusting, extension and renewed thrusting). The first stage of deformation includes several sub-stages (layer-parallel shortening, bed-parallel simple shear and fold nucleation). Deformation continued in a second stage, where thrusting was coupled by fold amplification and tightening. Kinematic evolution is provided by a third stage, where dominantly negative inversion of previous weakened zones and mechanical discontinuities occurred, coupled by normal faults activation. Out-of-sequence thrusting follows the chain thinning phase, as the late orogenic deformation phase of the contractional tectonics which affected Sicily. Each stage is defined as a discrete phase of deformation, characterised by the development of a characteristic set of structures, such as cleavage, folds, faults and veins. Each deformative step may be sequentially framed in a kinematic history, where a continuous shortening process, halted by an extension episode due to chain overthickening, in a tectonic setting dominated by collisional tectonics.
Nigro, Fabrizio; Renda, Pietro; Favara, Rocco
Management of catches, effort and exploitation pattern are considered the most effective measures to control fishing mortality and ultimately ensure productivity and sustainability of fisheries. Despite the growing concerns about the spatial dimension of fisheries, the distribution of resources and fishing effort in space is seldom considered in assessment and management processes. Here we propose SMART (Spatial MAnagement of demersal Resources for Trawl fisheries), a tool for assessing bio-economic feedback in different management scenarios. SMART combines information from different tasks gathered within the European Data Collection Framework on fisheries and is composed of: 1) spatial models of fishing effort, environmental characteristics and distribution of demersal resources; 2) an Artificial Neural Network which captures the relationships among these aspects in a spatially explicit way and uses them to predict resources abundances; 3) a deterministic module which analyzes the size structure of catches and the associated revenues, according to different spatially-based management scenarios. SMART is applied to demersal fishery in the Strait of Sicily, one of the most productive fisheries of the Mediterranean Sea. Three of the main target species are used as proxies for the whole range exploited by trawlers. After training, SMART is used to evaluate different management scenarios, including spatial closures, using a simulation approach that mimics the recent exploitation patterns. Results evidence good model performance, with a noteworthy coherence and reliability of outputs for the different components. Among others, the main finding is that a partial improvement in resource conditions can be achieved by means of nursery closures, even if the overall fishing effort in the area remains stable. Accordingly, a series of strategically designed areas of trawling closures could significantly improve the resource conditions of demersal fisheries in the Strait of Sicily, also supporting sustainable economic returns for fishermen if not applied simultaneously for different species. PMID:24465971
Russo, Tommaso; Parisi, Antonio; Garofalo, Germana; Gristina, Michele; Cataudella, Stefano; Fiorentino, Fabio
The European Anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus, Linnaeus, 1758) is one of the most important resources of the Mediterranean Sea. Despite its abundance and relevance, the anchovy population off the Mediterranean coasts exhibits a patchy distribution. Moreover, its biology and the influence of environment on its variability is poorly known. We here use data from ichthyoplankton-surveys carried out during the peak spawning season in order to analyze abundance and age of anchovy larvae in the Strait of Sicily, with respect to sea surface dynamic and hydrographic parameter patterns. The Strait of Sicily dynamics is characterized by upwelling regions, fronts, vortices, and filaments, with a consequent complexity in the spatial distribution of oceanographic parameters and anchovy larvae. To investigate the role of mesoscale features and oceanographic environment on the latter, anchovy larvae observations were paired to remote sensing data (such as sea surface temperature, chlorophyll, primary production, surface wind speed as well as light attenuation, absorption, and particle backscattering coefficients) and Lagrangian and Eulerian numerical simulations results for ocean currents and larval transport. The subsequent analysis shows and quantifies how the Atlantic Ionian Stream (AIS, a meandering current of Atlantic origin) path and variability, as well as the upwelling-induced south Sicilian coastal current, have consequences for anchovy spawning and larvae distribution. These currents transport anchovy larvae towards the Sicilian coast's south-eastern tip, where larvae are then retained in a frontal structure. However, significant cross-shore transport events due to relatively cold filament-like baroclinic instabilities generated by wind-induced coastal upwelling were also observed. Finally, the larval age distribution qualitatively agrees well with this transport pattern.
Falcini, Federico; Palatella, Luigi; Cuttitta, Angela; Bignami, Francesco; Patti, Bernardo; Santoleri, Rosalia; Fiorentino, Fabio
Middle Miocene out-of-sequence thrusting and successive exhumation in the Peloritani Mountains, Sicily: Late stage evolution of an orogen unraveled by apatite fission track and (U-Th)\\/He thermochronometry
Apatite fission track (AFT) and (U-Th)\\/He (AHe) thermochronometry are applied to constraint the thermal history of the basement rock forming the Peloritani Mountains in northeast Sicily, Italy. AFT ages range between 29.0 ± 5.5 Ma and 5.5 ± 0.9 Ma while AHe ages vary from 19.4 Ma to 3.3 Ma. Most AFT ages are younger than the overlying terrigenous sequence
Valerio Olivetti; Maria Laura Balestrieri; Claudio Faccenna; Finlay M. Stuart; Gianluca Vignaroli
A geomorphologic and sedimentologic approach, combined with GIS spatial analysis, was used to investigate a 19 - km long coast sector in Southern Sicily, Italy, affected by important erosion processes. The methodology that we applied allowed the creation of a database involving a range of coastal characteristics helpful to reconstruct coastal processes and general sediment circulations patterns. The littoral zone studied belongs to the Trapani Province, South East of Sicily, Italy, and is situated between Punta Granitola and Porto Palo of Menfi. Coastal orientation varies from W/SW-E/NE in the western sector, between Punta Granitola and Triscina, to W-E in the central sector between Triscina and Belice River and to W/NW-E/SE between Belice River and Portopalo. In the investigated area houses, roads and other human structures, which have appeared in the last 30 - 40 years, are exceedingly close to shore line. More over at the same time harbours and artificial barrier were constructed. All these human structures have probably halted the littoral transport. The first goal of this work was the general knowledge of morphological characteristics of shore line and of the broad sediment circulation patterns. To this end the landform characteristic were obtained thought several field observations and the analysis of recent aerial photographs and topographic maps of different years. The ESRI® ArcMap 9.2. software was used for geo-referencing and for the elaboration of the topographic maps and of the aerial photographs. The ESRI® ArcMap 9.2. was later used for integration, digitalization and finally for the analysis of data. All data were presented as Universal Transverse Mercatore Coordinates, with the European 1950 datum (zone 33N). Moreover we performed a preliminary sedimentological study of this coast line. On this base we have identified 7 km of unimodal sand beach, situated between Punta Granitola and Triscina, where we have carried out a more detailed morphological and sedimentological study. In this area 68 transepts orthogonal to the coast line were collected with a total laser station Geodimeter System 600. The 68 transepts were repeated for four seasons. Moreover about 1000 sand samples were collected in the same four seasons. On 711 of these samples we performed the granulometric and compositional analysis. The elaboration of the granulometric data, using the Folk and Ward statistic parameters, was used to study and analyze the local drift. In this sector, that is prevalently oriented W/NW-E/SE and that is partially sheltered by a fear in west, the drift is prevalently from east to west as confirmed by the interpretation of the statistic parameters.
Ferruzza, G.; Fallo, L.; Giaramita, L.; Vaccaro, F.
The coastal sector of Sant'Agata di Militello (north-eastern Sicily) is characterized by a flight of raised Middle-Upper Pleistocene marine terraces occurring at different heights with respect to present sea level. In particular, the geomorphological survey and the analysis of stereo-pairs of aerial photographs allowed to recognize at least five main orders of well preserved Quaternary surfaces and relative deposits mostly located at the hanging wall and at the footwall of the Pleistocene northwest-dipping Capo d'Orlando normal fault, which controlled the geomorphological evolution of the coastal area. The marine terraces show an overall good morphological continuity and are formed by marine platforms overlain by littoral deposits made up of yellow littoral sand and gravels in a sandy matrix. The continental sedimentary cover of the 3rd order terrace contains mammal-bearing deposits that were previously dated 200 ± 40 ka BP by isoleucine epimerization method, allowing to relate them to MIS 7.1 high-stand. In order to better define the whole terrace chronology, deposit samples were analyzed by Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) methodology, a conventional SAR protocol used with sand-sized quartz. New datings, together with the detailed morphostructural analysis, allow to relate the 2nd and 4th order terraces to MIS 5.5 and 8.5, respectively, and to reconstruct the tectonic evolution of this coastal area, constraining the activity of the Capo d'Orlando fault.
Giunta, Giuseppe; Gueli, Anna M.; Monaco, Carmelo; Orioli, Silvia; Ristuccia, Gloria M.; Stella, Giuseppe; Troja, Sebastiano O.
Background Mount Etna, located in the eastern part of Sicily (Italy), is the highest and most active volcano in Europe. During the sustained eruption that occurred in October-November 2002 huge amounts of volcanic ash fell on a densely populated area south-east of Mount Etna in Catania province. The volcanic ash fall caused extensive damage to infrastructure utilities and distress in the exposed population. This retrospective study evaluates whether or not there was an association between ash fall and acute health effects in exposed local communities. Methods We collected the number and type of visits to the emergency department (ED) for diseases that could be related to volcanic ash exposure in public hospitals of the Province of Catania between October 20 and November 7, 2002. We compared the magnitude of differences in ED visits between the ash exposure period in 2002 and the same period of the previous year 2001. Results We observed a significant increase of ED visits for acute respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, and ocular disturbances during the ash exposure time period. Conclusions There was a positive association between exposure to volcanic ash from the 2002 eruption of Mount Etna and acute health effects in the Catania residents. This study documents the need for public health preparedness and response initiatives to protect nearby populations from exposure to ash fall from future eruptions of Mount Etna.
The Pizzo Lupo section (Sicanian Mts, central Sicily) is an Upper Triassic-Lower Jurassic condensed deep-water succession, where the relationships among synsedimentary tectonic, soft-sediment deformations, volcanism and lithological changes reflect the evolution of a rift-basin. The morphostructural setting of the studied basin appears as a gently dipping slope where a fault-delimited area (graben to halfgraben) was developed. The instability of the sea floor, related to the seismic shocks, was the cause of the gravity-driven deformational sedimentary structures (slumping, breccia channelized bodies). The partly stratified basaltic rocks, with disorganized and chaotic stratification, suggest the occurrence of a volcanic complex located in neighbouring areas. A regional comparison with the tectono-sedimentary evolution of the pelagic drowning platform succession (i.e. Trapanese domain Auct.), outcropping in adjacent areas, suggests that these different domains were close to each other during the studied period forming a stepped margin platform-to-basin system. The environmental changes, synsedimentary tectonic activity and gravity-driven phenomena were the result of repeated events occurred during a long time interval, spanning from Late Triassic to Early Jurassic.
Basilone, Luca; Lena, Gabriele; Gasparo-Morticelli, Maurizio
Thermal Infrared Multispectral Scanner (TIMS) data were acquired over Mount Etna, Sicily, on 29 July 1986. The volcanic activity at that time was characterized by the steady effusion of gas from the Bocca Nuova (BN), Chasm, and Southeast craters. The Northeast crater, quiet at the time of the TIMS overflight, was the site of Strombolian eruptive activity between 31 July and 24 Sep. 1986. In aerial photographs of the Etna summit region acquired during the TIMS overflight, the SO2-rich plume is visible due to the scattering of sunlight by the entrained aerosols. In the TIMS imagery, the plume is revealed by the strong absorption of SO2 between 8 and 9 microns. This absorption feature falls within the first three channels of TIMS, with the strongest absorption falling within Channel 2. Following decorrelation processing, the plume is visible in color-composites of TIMS channels 2, 3, and 5. To estimate the concentration of SO2 within the plume, the LOWTRAN 7 radiative transfer code was used to model the radiance spectra measured by TIMS.
Realmuto, Vincent J.
Two species of Philometra Costa, 1845 (Nematoda: Philometridae), were, for the first time, recorded from fishes of the family Sparidae (porgies) from the Tyrrhenian Sea off Sicily, Italy: Philometra obladae sp. n. from the body cavity of the saddled seabream Oblada melanura (Linnaeus) and Philometra filiformis (Stossich, Boll Soc Adriat Sci Nat 17:121-136, 1896) from the gonads of the common pandora Pagellus erythrinus (Linnaeus). The new species (a single gravid female available) is characterised mainly by a large body (335 mm long, 3.4 mm wide), minute cephalic papillae (14 in number) arranged in two circles, a relatively short (1.29 mm) oesophagus with a distinct anterior inflation, a rounded caudal end without any projections and the length of larvae (549-600 mum) from the uterus. A key to species of Philometra with females located in the body cavity of marine and brackish-water fishes is given. Some new data on the female morphology of a little-known gonad-infecting species P. filiformis are provided; new observations revealed, for the first time in this species, the presence of lateral cephalic papillae and the absence of previously reported black intestinal corpuscles in the larvae. PMID:18762982
Moravec, F; Gaglio, G; Panebianco, A; Giannetto, S
Introduction. The objective of this chapter is to study the health impact of the exposure to fibres with fluoro-edenitic composition on the residents in Biancavilla (Sicily, Italy), in terms of mortality and hospitalization. The diseases which international scientific literature indicates as associated with asbestos exposure were taken into consideration: mesothelioma of pleura, peritoneum, pericardium and tunica vaginalis testis, malignant neoplasm of larynx, malignant neoplasm of trachea, bronchus and lung, malignant neoplasm of ovary, pneumoconiosis; moreover, in order to describe the health profile of the study population, large groups of diseases were taken into consideration. Material and methods. Current data (available in the Data Bases of the Unit of Statistics of ISS) regarding mortality and hospitalization were analyzed. Standardized Mortality Ratios, Standardized Hospitalization Ratios and Age-standardized Death Rates were calculated. The demographic background of the population residing in Biancavilla was also outlined. Conclusions. Our findings support the etiologic role of fibres with fluoro-edenitic composition in the occurrence of the above mentioned diseases, already observed in other studies. PMID:24968910
Conti, Susanna; Minelli, Giada; Manno, Valerio; Iavarone, Ivano; Comba, Pietro; Scondotto, Salvatore; Cernigliaro, Achille
A geologic and geodetic integrated analysis of the northern margin of the Hyblean Plateau (SE Sicily) has been carried out in order to test the relation of the active deformation, recorded by GPS data, and the long-term tectonic evolution, recorded by structural and morphological data, with potential seismogenic sources of the region, where high level (MCS I0 = X - XI) historical seismicity occurred. To date, seismotectonic models have alternatively related the main seismogenic sources to the incipient rifting that reactivated the Malta Escarpment in the Ionian off-shore or to the still active NW-SE trending Nubia-Eurasia convergence, that remobilized the northern tectonic boundary of the Hyblean Plateau. In this region, the new data reveal that the active deformation can be framed in the flexural tectonics developed during the late stages of the Nubia-Eurasia plate convergence. Geodetic and geological data provide a coherent kinematic picture that is compatible with the occurrence of a blind ramp thrust along the NW margin of the Hyblean Plateau. This study demonstrates that the onshore seismicity of the Hyblean region can be confidently referred to active compressional dynamics. Additionally, our data candidate the inferred blind thrust, located to the south of the Scordia-Lentini graben, as a major potential seismogenic source that might be considered in interpreting the historical seismicity of the region.
Bonforte, Alessandro; Catalano, Stefano; Maniscalco, Rosanna; Pavano, Francesco; Romagnoli, Gino; Sturiale, Giovanni; Tortorici, Giuseppe
On 11 August 2008 a paroxysmal eruption occurred at Santa Barbara mud volcano (MV), located close to Caltanissetta, one of the most densely populated cities of Sicily (Italy). An associated minor event took place on August 2009. Both the events caused severe damage to civil infrastructures located within a range of about 2 km from the eruptive vent. Geomorphological, geochemical, and seismological investigations were carried out for framing the events in the appropriate geodynamic context. Geomorphological surveys recognized, in the immediate surrounding of the main emission point, two different families of processes and landforms: (i) ground deformations and (ii) changes in morphology and number of the fluid emitting vents. These processes were associated to a wider network of fractures, seemingly generated by the shock wave produced by the gas blast that occurred at the main paroxysm. Geochemical characterization allowed an estimation of the source of the fluids, or at least their last standing, at about 3 km depth. Finally, the close time relationships observed between anomalous increments of seismic activity and the two main paroxysmal events accounted for a possible common trigger for both the phenomena, even with different timing due to the very different initial conditions and characteristics of the two processes, i.e. seismogenesis and gas overloading.
Madonia, P.; Grassa, F.; Cangemi, M.; Musumeci, C.
Late Triassic basaltic rocks crop out in the Lercara area in Western Sicily. Major and trace element composition, as well as Sr-Nd isotopic ratios (87Sr/86Sri = 0.7074 - 0.7076; ?Ndi = from - 0.69 to - 1.09) of the Lercara rocks shows many similarities with Large Ion Lithophile Elements (LILE)- and Light Rare Earth Elements (LREE)-rich tholeiitic basalts of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP), that erupted during the Mesozoic fragmentation of the Pangea supercontinent and subsequent opening of the Central Atlantic Ocean. The geochemical features of the Lercara igneous rocks, together with the spatial distribution of the ~ 200 Ma old CAMP rocks are unlikely to be associated with the arrival of a thermal anomaly in the form of a mantle plume and are more compatible with adiabatic melting of passively upwelling sub-lithospheric mantle. The original melts variably interacted with lower crustal rocks before reaching the surface. AFC modeling suggests two distinct differentiation paths including either simple mixing or assimilation-fractional crystallization processes involving lower crustal rocks. These interactions with continental crust indicate that an ocean basement most probably had not yet formed.
Cirrincione, R.; Fiannacca, P.; Lustrino, M.; Romano, V.; Tranchina, A.
Coastal tide gauges play a very important role in a tsunami warning system, since sea-level data are needed for a correct evaluation of the tsunami threat, and the tsunami arrival has to be recognized as early as possible. Real-time tsunami detection algorithms serve this purpose. For an efficient detection, they have to be calibrated and adapted to the specific local characteristics of the site where they are installed, which is easily done when the station has recorded a sufficiently large number of tsunamis. In this case the recorded database can be used to select the best set of parameters enhancing the discrimination power of the algorithm and minimizing the detection time. This chance is however rare, since most of the coastal tide-gauge stations, either historical or of new installation, have recorded only a few tsunamis in their lifetimes, if any. In this case calibration must be carried out by using synthetic tsunami signals, which poses the problem of how to generate them and how to use them. This paper investigates this issue and proposes a calibration approach by using as an example a specific case, which is the calibration of a real-time detection algorithm called TEDA (Tsunami Early Detection Algorithm) for two stations (namely Tremestieri and Catania) in eastern Sicily, Italy, which were recently installed in the frame of the Italian project TSUNET, aiming at improving the tsunami monitoring capacity in a region that is one of the most hazardous tsunami areas of Italy and of the Mediterranean.
Bressan, L.; Zaniboni, F.; Tinti, S.
In Italy, severe meteorologically induced geo-hydrological events are characterized by a complex combination of landslides and floods, and may cause casualties and damage to urban areas and the utility network. On 1 October 2009, a high intensity rainstorm in the Messina area, Sicily, triggered more than 500 shallow landslides in an area of about 60 km2, mostly in the soils mantling the metamorphic and crystalline bedrock of the Peloritan Arc. The high intensity rainfall further resulted in massive erosion and deposition of debris along the ephemeral drainage channels, widespread inundation, and local modification of the coastline. Damage was particularly severe in the several small villages present in the area, including Giampilieri, Scaletta Zanclea, Guidomandri, Pèzzolo, Altolìa, and Itàla. Damage to the transportation network was also severe and widespread. The several rainfall-induced landslides and the inundations have resulted in 31 deaths, 6 missing persons, numerous injured persons, and more than 2500 evacuated and homeless people. In the aftermath of the event, we: (i) completed a preliminary field survey in the area most affected by landslides and inundations, documenting the ground effects of the intense rainfall, (ii) acquired satellite imagery, including very-high-resolution optical images taken by QuickBird and high-resolution radar images taken by COSMO-SkyMed, and (iii) acquired stereoscopic aerial photography, including pre-event aerial photographs taken in 1954, 1995, and 2005, and post event, very-large scale images taken by helicopter immediately after the event. In this work, we present preliminary results of the exploitation of multiple remote-sensing technologies and information for the identification, mapping and classification of the rainfall induced landslides, and of the eroded and the inundated areas. Emphasis is given to the critical analysis of the capacity and limits of the available airborne and satellite remote sensing technologies for the rapid mapping of geo-hydrological events, and the associated damage.
Ardizzone, Francesca; Cardinali, Mauro; Fiorucci, Federica; Iovine, Giulio; Mondini, Alessandro; Reichenbach, Paola; Rossi, Mauro; Teresa, Oreste; Fausto, Guzzetti
The Africa-Eurasia convergence in Sicily and southern Calabria is currently expressed by two different tectonic and geodynamic domains: the western region, governed by a roughly N-S compression generated by a continental collision; the eastern one, controlled by a NW-SE extension related to the south-east-directed expansion of the Calabro-Peloritan Arc. The different deformation pattern of these two domains is accommodated by a right-lateral shear zone (Aeolian-Tindari-Letojanni fault system) which, from the Ionian Sea, north of Mt. Etna, extends across the Peloritani chain to the Aeolian Islands. In this work, we study the evidence of active tectonics characterizing this shear zone, through the analysis of seismic and geodetic data acquired by the INGV networks in the last 15 years. The study is completed by structural and morphological surveys carried out between Capo Tindari and the watershed of the chain. The results allowed defining a clear structural picture depicting the tectonic interferences between the two different geodynamic domains. The results indicate that, besides the regional ~ N130°E horizontal extensional stress field, another one, NE-SW-oriented, is active in the investigated area. Both tension axes are mutually independent and have been active up to the present at different times. The coexistence of these different active horizontal extensions is the result of complex interactions between several induced stresses: 1) the regional extension (NW-SE) related to the slab rollback and back-arc extension; 2) the strong uplift of the chain; 3) the accommodation between compressional and extensional tectonic regimes along the Aeolian-Tindari-Letojanni faults, through a SSE-NNW right-lateral transtensional displacement. In these conditions, the greater and recurring uplift activity is not able to induce a radial extensional dynamics, but, under the "directing" action of the shear system, it can only act on the regional extension (NW-SE) and produce the second system of extension (NE-SW).
De Guidi, G.; Lanzafame, G.; Palano, M.; Puglisi, G.; Scaltrito, A.; Scarfì, L.
The authors have found that image data acquired with NASA's airborne Thermal Infrared Multispectral Scanner (TIMS) can be used to make estimates of the SO[sub 2] content of volcanic plumes. TIMS image data are most applicable to the study of partially transparent SO[sub 2] plumes, such as those released during quiescent periods or nonexplosive eruptions. The estimation procedure is based on the LOWTRAN 7 radiative transfer code, which the authors use to model the radiance perceived by TIMS as it views the ground through an SO[sub 2] plume. The input to the procedure includes the altitudes of the aircraft and ground, the altitude and thickness of the SO[sub 2] plume, the emissivity of the ground, and altitude profiles of the atmospheric pressure, temperature, and relative humidity. They use the TIMS data to estimate both ground temperatures beneath a plume and SO[sub 2] concentrations within a plume. Applying this procedure to TIMS data acquired over Mount Etna, Sicily, on July 29, 1986, the authors estimate that the SO[sub 2] flux from the volcano was approximately 6700 t d[sup [minus]1]. The use of TIMS to study SO[sub 2] plumes represents a bridge between highly localized methods, such as correlation spectroscopy or direct sampling, and small-scale mapping techniques involving satellite instruments such as the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer or Microwave Limb Sounder. The authors require further airborne experiments to refine their estimation procedure. This refinement is a necessary preparation for the scheduled 1998 launch of the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflectance Radiometer, which will allow large-scale multispectral thermal infrared image data to be collected over virtually any volcano on Earth at least once every 16 days.
Realmuto, V.J.; Abrams, M.J.; Buongiorno, M.F.; Pieri, D.C. (California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA (United States))
In July 2012, following the cessation of the 2011 - 2012 sequence of fire fountaining events from the flanks of the South East crater, magmatic activity began in the Bocca Nuova summit crater of Mount Etna (Sicily). The activity was characterised by mild Strombolian explosions and gentle lava effusion, and began constructing a small scoria cone within the crater. Here, we present analysis of a sequence of terrestrial laser scans, time-lapse camera and satellite data that captured scoria cone growth and lava flow development between 17 - 21 July, 2012. Activity over the observation period comprised Strombolian explosions at a recurrence interval of ~1 - 10 seconds, and a short lava flow (approximately 20 m wide and 120 m long) emanating from the vent region. On 17, 19 and 21 July, a Riegl LPM-321 terrestrial laser scanner (TLS) was deployed on the western rim of the Bocca Nuova, ~350m from the active vent and used to capture a single scan on each day to cover the cone, lava flow and crater wall. High-resolution digital elevation models (DEMs) derived from these scans were used to calculate volumetric change and growth rate of the cone. A maximum elevation gain of ~15 m and an increase in volume of ~84000 m3 (equivalent to 0.24 m3s-1) was observed over the four-day period. The lava flow was also repeatedly scanned at 10-minute intervals over a 90-minute period on 21 July. By combining these TLS data with concurrently collected thermal and visual imagery, a detailed time-series analysis of flow velocities and decimetric topographic changes will be used to assess lava flux and estimate rheological properties.
Slatcher, N.; James, M. R.; Calvari, S.; Ganci, G.; Browning, J.
We have found that image data acquired with NASA's airborne Thermal Infrared Multispectral Scanner (TIMS) can be used to make estimates of the SO2 content of volcanic plumes. TIMS image data are most applicable to the study of partially transparent SO2 plumes, such as those released during quiescent periods or nonexplosive eruptions. The estimation procedure is based on the LOWTRAN 7 radiative transfer code, which we use to model the radiance perceived by TIMS as it views the ground through an SO2 plume. The input to the procedure includes the altitudes of the aircraft and ground, the altitude and thickness of the SO2 plume, the emissivity of the ground, and altitude profiles of the atmospheric pressure, temperature, and relative humidity. We use the TIMS data to estimate both ground temperatures beneath a plume and SO2 concentrations within a plume. Applying our procedure to TIMS data acquired over Mount Etna, Sicily, on July 29, 1986, we estimate that the SO2 flux from the volcano was approximately 6700 t d(exp -1). The use of TIMS to study SO2 plumes represents a bridge between highly localized methods, such as correlation spectroscopy or direct sampling, and small-scale mapping techniques involving satellite instruments such as the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer or Microwave Limb Sounder. We require further airborne experiments to refine our estimation procedure. This refinement is a necessary preparation for the schedueled 1998 launch of the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflectance Radiometer, which will allow large-scale multispectral thermal infrared image data to be collected over virtually any volcano on Earth at least once every 16 days.
Realmuto, Vincent J.; Abrams, Michael J.; Buongiorno, M. Fabrizia; Pieri, David C.
The response of benthic foraminiferal assemblages to trace element pollution in the marine sediments of the Gulf of Milazzo (north-eastern Sicily) was investigated. Since the 1960s, this coastal area has been a preferred site for the development of two small marinas and a commercial harbour as well as for heavy industry. Forty samples collected in the uppermost 3-4 cm of an undisturbed layer of sediment in the littoral environment were used for this benthic foraminiferal analysis. The enrichment factors (EFs) of selected trace elements (As, Co, Cr, Cu, Mn, Ni, Pb and Zn) were also calculated. Changes both in benthic foraminiferal assemblages and in some trace elements concentrations have provided evidence that the gulf's littoral zone can be subdivided into three sectors characterised by environmental changes in the marine ecosystem. In the sector unpolluted, close to the Milazzo Cape, foraminiferal assemblages exhibit high values of species richness and foraminiferal density while trace element concentrations and their EFs are very low. Here, the highest densities of Miliolids and epiphytic species are present. On the contrary, in the sector polluted, from the marinas to the crude oil refinery, foraminiferal density and species diversity are low, and assemblages are dominated, albeit with very low densities, by species that tolerate stressed environmental conditions, such as LOFAs, agglutinants and Ammonia spp. Here, the highest trace elements concentrations of Pb, Zn and Cu and related EFs were detected. Eastwards, in the sector moderately polluted, foraminiferal populations are quite poor. They are characterised by low values of species richness and foraminiferal densities, nevertheless trace element concentrations become lower than in the other sectors and their EFs are often below 1. Deformed foraminifera, with percentages up to 7.14 %, were found in all three of the sectors. Differences in benthic foraminiferal assemblages, coupled with results from statistical analysis, indicate that anthropogenic trace element pollution could be considered as one of the most important causes of the modifications of foraminiferal assemblages in the study area. PMID:23828269
Cosentino, Claudia; Pepe, Fabrizio; Scopelliti, Giovanna; Calabrò, Monica; Caruso, Antonio
An observational study was designed to assess the bioaccumulation of polychlorodibenzodioxins (PCDD) and polychlorodibenzofurans (PCDF), dioxin-like polychlorobiphenyls (DL-PCB), and 13 selected polybromodiphenylethers (PBDE) in autochthonous pigs reared in the Nebrodi Park of Sicily (Italy). Perirenal fat and liver samples were drawn from animals representative of three different outdoor farming systems and from wild pigs and then analyzed for the chemicals mentioned previously. The highest concentrations of PCDD + PCDF and DL-PCB were detected in the fat (0.45 and 0.35 pg World Health Organization toxicity equivalents [WHO-TE] per g of fat base [FB], respectively) and livers (12.7 and 3.28 pg WHO-TE per g FB) of the wild group, whereas the free-ranging group showed the lowest levels (0.05 and 0.03 pg WHO-TE per g FB in fat and 0.78 and 0.27 pg WHO-TE per g FB in livers). The sum of PBDE congeners was highest in wild pigs (0.52 ng/g FB in fat and 5.64 ng/g FB in livers) and lowest in the farmed group (0.14 ng/g FB in fat and 0.28 ng/g FB in livers). The contamination levels in fat and livers of outdoor pigs had mean concentration values lower than those levels reported for intensively indoor-farmed animals. In wild pigs, bioaccumulation was associated with their free grazing in areas characterized by bush fires. The results of this study aid to emphasize the quality of the environment as a factor to guarantee food safety in typical processed pig meat products, specifically from outdoor and extensive Nebrodi farming systems. PMID:21333146
Brambilla, Gianfranco; De Filippis, Stefania Paola; Iamiceli, Anna Laura; Iacovella, Nicola; Abate, Vittorio; Aronica, Vincenzo; Di Marco, Vincenzo; di Domenico, Alessandro
Background The area of Milazzo-Valle del Mela (Sicily, Italy) is considered at high risk of environmental crisis by regional authorities. Objective To measure oxidative-stress, DNA repair and detoxification genes in school children living near the industrial area and in age-matched controls. Methods The parent study was a biomonitoring investigation evaluating heavy metal urine levels in 226 children aged 12–14 years, living in the high risk area, and in 29 age-matched controls living 45 km far from the industrial site. In the present study 67 exposed adolescents and 29 controls were included. Samples were analyzed for urinary 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8OHdG) levels, and gene expression of OGG1 (DNA repair gene), NQO1, ST13, and MT1A (detoxifying genes). Results Urinary cadmium was higher (p = 0.0004) in exposed [geometric mean, 0.46 µg/L; 25th–75th percentile: 0.3–0.56] than in control adolescents [geometric mean, 0.26 µg/L; 25th–75th percentile: 0.2–0.3]. Chromium was also significantly elevated in exposed [geometric mean, 1.52 µg/L; 25th–75th percentile: 1.19–1.93] compared with controls [geometric mean, 1.25 µg/L; 25th–75th percentile: 1.05–1.48; p = 0.02]. Urinary 8-OHdG concentration was greater in exposed than in controls (71.49 vs 61.87 µg/L, p = 0.02), and it was correlated with cadmium levels (r = 0.46, p < 0.0001), and with the combined exposure index (r = 0.43, p < 0.0001). Moreover, cadmium levels showed a robust correlation with OGG1 and MT1A gene expression levels (r = 0.44, p < 0.0001; r = 0.39, p < 0.0001, respectively). Finally, OGG1 and MT1A were over-expressed in adolescents from Milazzo-Valle del Mela area compared with controls (p = 0.0004; p < 0.0001, respectively). Conclusions Continuous exposure at relatively low concentrations of heavy metals is associated with increased oxidative DNA damage and impaired expression of DNA repair and detoxification genes in adolescents.
Pizzino, Gabriele; Bitto, Alessandra; Interdonato, Monica; Galfo, Federica; Irrera, Natasha; Mecchio, Anna; Pallio, Giovanni; Ramistella, Vincenzo; Luca, Filippo De; Minutoli, Letteria; Squadrito, Francesco; Altavilla, Domenica
Understanding and predicting vegetation change along ecosystem boundaries is among paramount challenges in ecohydrology. In this study, Cellular-Automaton Tree Grass Shrub Simulator (CATGraSS) is implemented in a small upland catchment in Sicily, IT, where north-facing slopes are characterized by quercus (trees), and south-facing slopes exhibit plant coexistence, composed of Opuntia ficus-indaca (shrub) and grasses, to examine the control of solar radiation on plant development and predict potential trajectories of vegetation change under the stress of global warming. CATGraSS is driven by stochastic rainfall and variable solar radiation on topography, represented by a fine-scale gridded domain where vegetation type at each cell is represented individually. In the model, each cell can hold a single plant type or remain empty. Plant competition is modeled explicitly by keeping track of mortality and establishment of plants, both calculated probabilistically based on soil moisture stress. Spatially explicit treatment of solar radiation, and a lower limit to soil moisture storage imposed by bedrock depth lead to spatial organization in evapotranspiration, soil moisture, runoff, and plant type. CATGraSS is first calibrated at the field site driven by stochastic climate that represent the current climate at the study site. Calibrated model results are examined against Google-Earth images. Implications of future climate change are examined using the advanced weather generator (AWE-GEN). AWE-GEN characterizes the statistical characteristics of selected climate variables and their change over time based on a multi-model ensemble of outputs from General Circulation Models (GCMs). Stochastic downscaling is carried out using simulations of twelve GCMs adopted in the IPCC 4AR, A1B emission scenario for the future scenarios 2046-2065 and 2081-2100. Future vegetation changed is predicted to bring a dramatic reorganization of the plant composition based mainly on the topography, characterized by loss of quercus and expansion of grass. Rapid vegetation change could lead to soil erosion, prone soils and changes in the biogeochemical processes in such steep mountainous terrains in the region.
Noto, L. V.; Caracciolo, D.; Fatichi, S.; Istanbulluoglu, E.
Since the latest Oligocene-earliest Miocene the building of the Sicilian fold and thrust belt has been accompanied by development of a "peripheral" foreland basin system which migrated toward the foreland. In north-western Sicily, the sedimentary record of the foreland basin system migration is represented by a stratigraphic succession made up of several lithostratigraphic units, bounded by regional unconformity surfaces, deposited recording at least four main sedimentary phases, each characterized by the development of different types of syntectonic basins. In particular, during the Late Miocene (Late Tortonian to Early Messinian) a wide wedge-top depozone developed in the innermost sectors of the Sicilian foreland basin system, above the moving thrust sheets. There, wide to quite narrow "syn-kinematic" sedimentary basins developed in response to the tectonic deformation of the deeper carbonate units (Cu). These basins were filled by a thick wedge of silico- and carbonate-clastic deposits pertaining to the Terravecchia Formation (Upper Tortonian-Lower Messinian) which unconformably overlaid the already deformed substrate. Among these basins, the "Camporeale wedge-top Basin" (NW Sicily) was located between an uplifting subaerial chain (northward) acting as source area for coarse clastics and a major depositional area (foredeep depozone) mainly characterized by fine-grained marine sedimentation. Integrated stratigraphic and sedimentologic analyses performed on the Terravecchia Fm. in the Camporeale Basin allowed us to identify a coarsening to fining upward "outer wedge-top sequence" characterized by three main facies associations (i) sandy-to-gravelly unconfined braidplain, (ii) sandywave and storm-dominated delta front, (iii) clayey offshore, settled in several adjacent sedimentary environments. Sedimentation has been driven by several interplaying control factors among which the tectonics played a predominant role. Moreover, the structural analysis performed on the Camporeale Basin fill allows us to recognize major E-W, NE-SW, N-S-, NW-SE-trending structures (faults and folds) interpreted as the superficial expression of deep-seated thrusts with both S-ward and predominantly N-ward vergence, developed under a roughly N170°-oriented stress field. The comparison of the Camporeale Basin with other coeval basins of Sicily allows us to image the Late Miocene Sicilian foreland basin system, as being characterized by a wide continental to shallow-marine wedge-top depozone characterized, in turn, by an inner and outer sector passing basinward, through a foredeep transition zone, into a foredeep depozone characterized by open marine deposition.
Landslides detection and mapping are fundamental requirements for every hazard and risk evaluation. Due to their inevitable shortcomings, geomorphological field surveys and airphoto interpretation do not document all the gravitational events. Indeed some unstable slopes are inaccessible to field surveyors, while some landslides are too slow to be detected with the naked eye or interpretation of aerial photographs. In this work, we integrate geomorphological surveys with ground motion data derived by employing COSMO-SkyMed satellite imagery and the Intermittent Small BAseline Subset (ISBAS; Sowter et al., 2013), a new Advanced Differential Interferometry Synthetic Aperture Radar (ADInSAR) technique which has been developed recently at the Nottingham University in the UK. The main advantage of ISBAS with respect to other InSAR and SBAS techniques, is the possibility to detect good radar reflectors even in non-urbanized terrain, where ground targets usually look intermittently coherent, meaning they have high coherence only in some interferograms but not in others. ISBAS has proven capable of increasing results over natural, woodland and agricultural terrains and, as a result, it makes it possible to improve the detection of landslide boundaries and the assessment of the state of activity where other InSAR approaches fail. We used COSMO-SkyMed StripMap data covering the period between November 2008 and October 2011, with 3m ground range resolution, 40° look angle and minimum revisiting time of 8 days. The data consist of 38 ascending images (track 133, frame 380) with ground track angle at scene centre of 169.5° from the north-south direction. These have been obtained thanks to an agreement between the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea and the University of Naples 'Federico II'. We tested ISBAS in north-western Sicily (southern Italy), over a 1,530 km2 area where 1,473 landslides have been identified based on optical imagery and field surveys by the local Hydro-geomorphological Setting Plan published in 2006. The geological and tectonic setting of the area, related to the Apenninic-Maghrebian Chain orogeny, makes most of the instability phenomena of complex or flow type with an extremely slow to very slow velocity, namely very suitable for an interferometric analysis. We show the results for Piana degli Albanesi, a thrust faults-bounded basin located in the northern Mt. Kumeta massif, filled in with Lower Miocene marls and pelitic deposits. Here landslide risk affects housing and public infrastructure (e.g. the SP34, the SP38 and SP102 highways), and the unstable slopes extend up to a gravity masonry dam, such as to require continuous rebuilding of infrastructures in the portions with the higher displacement rates. The ISBAS results for ascending geometry entail an unprecedented 685,518 points in a 90 km2 extended processing area, and their Line Of Sight velocities range between -6.4 mm/yr (away from the sensor) and +6.6mm/yr (towards the sensor). ISBAS results detect a total of 89 mapped landslides, of which 23 are previously not recorded. The analysis of ISBAS COSMO-SKyMed time-series allows us to compare the deformation trends to rainfall events, and to evaluate the correlation between heavy or prolonged rainfall and accelerations in the ground motion histories of the identified landslides. Sowter A., Bateson L., Strange P., Ambrose K., Syafiudin M.F., 2013. DInSAR estimation of land motion using intermittent coherence with application to the South Derbyshire and Leicestershire coalfields. Remote Sensing Letters, v.4 : 979-987.
Novellino, Alessandro; Cigna, Francesca; Jordan, Colm; Sowter, Andrew; Calcaterra, Domenico
(CIRCEE-HR - Calabrian arc Ionian sea Research and Catastrophic historical EarthquakE s in southern italy - a High Resolution seismic survey) We report on a recent marine geophysical and geological survey conducted onboard the R/V Le Suroit from 2-24 October in the Ionian Sea, offshore Eastern Sicily. The primary aim of the CIRCEE-HR cruise proposal was to conduct a neo-tectonic study of the Calabrian subduction zone offshore Southern Italy, a region struck repeatedly by the most destructive earthquakes in European history. The CIRCEE-HR survey targeted the region struck by the 1693 Catania earthquake (60,000 killed) and the 1908 Messina earthquakes, which produced intensity X-XI shaking and tsunamis. The 1908 (normal faulting mechanism) earthquake triggered a turbidite flow that ruptured submarine cables. The source of some strong historical earthquakes (1169, 1542, 1693) remains unknown. Several crustal scale structures have been proposed as being seismogenic: the Malta escarpment, a lithospheric tear fault (STEP), the subduction fault plane and other related faults. The main objectives of the cruise were therefore to seek evidence of active faults associated with these structures, and to characterize the degree of activity of the Calabria accretionary wedge (sedimentary deformation, dewatering processes) in order to better assess its seismogenic potential. Another major objective is to try to determine the typical recurrence interval for large earthquakes in the region (by coring and dating of turbidites triggered by great earthquakes). The Augias mega-turbidite dated either 3.5 ka (Cita et al., 1996) or 365 AD (Polonia et al., 2013) covers the entire floor of the Ionian abyssal plain with a thickness of 10-15m representing a volume of > 100km3. This layer serves as a stratigraphic marker to identify recent deformation in the abyssal domain. The methods applied were 72-channel high-resolution seismic profiles and sub-bottom profiling (chirp) (with 1200km of profiles planned) as well as some targeted bathymetric swathmapping surveys (in areas <3000m depth, not previously well mapped), and gravity coring of the turbidite deposits (28 coring sites planned). Map of the Ionian Sea - E Sicily margin, with planned seismic profiles shown as red lines and planned sediment coring sites as red triangles
Gutscher, M.; Babonneau, N.; Cattaneo, A.; Gallais, F.; Graindorge, D.; San Pedro, L.
The wedge-top depozone belongs to the innermost portion of a Foreland Basin System (FBS) (DeCelles and Giles, 1996) and includes all sediments, typically coarse-grained proximal facies, that bury the active frontal part of a fold and thrust belt. The Terravecchia Formation (Flores, 1959; Schmidt Di Friedberg, 1962, 1964-1965; Catalano, 1979) is a composite lithostratigraphic unit widespread in Sicily (southern Italy) which has been recently considered (Gugliotta, 2010) as a part of the stratigraphic record of the Late Miocene (late Tortonian to early Messinian) Sicilian wedge-top depozone and represent the main object of this paper. Two end-member wedge-top "sequences" the (i) the inner wedge-top sequence (IWS) and (ii) the outer wedge-top sequence (OWS), respectively, were recognized in the Terravecchia Formation outcropping in different sectors of NW Sicily and here described and compared on the base of both their depositional and deformative pattern. The differences existing between the IWS and OWS clearly reflect the tectono-depositional evolution of sedimentary basins located at different position across the wedge-top depozone. The more coarse grained and IWS was deposited filling narrow and often oversupplied basins located in the inner sectors of the wedge-top depozone. In these basins the sedimentary evolution has been strongly controlled by a syn-sedimentary transpressional tectonics which produced, since the late Tortonian, the development of "local scale" intraformational angular unconformities. Contemporaneously, the more fine-grained OWS was deposited filling relatively wide and mainly shallow-water marine basins, probably open to major marine areas, located in a less external position of the wedge-top depozone. In these external areas during the late Tortonian-early Messinian the transpressional tectonics was active but still confined to the deeper structural layers producing long wavelength deformation and "basin-scale" unconformities. Integrating all data an alternative tectono-depositional model of the Sicilian Late Miocene Foreland Basin System has been outlined. The model here presented substantially differs from those previously known from other authors and shows a complex wedge-top depozone articulated in a "inner" and "outer" sector whose evolution has been driven by the progressive activation of deep-seated structures.
Previous studies have demonstrated that the salinity in the Levantine basin depends on the intensity of the Atlantic water (AW) inflow. Moreover, its spreading eastward (to the Levantine basin) or northward (to the Ionian Sea) is determined by the Ionian circulation pattern, i.e. by the Adriatic-Ionian Bimodal Oscillating System (BiOS) mechanism. The aim of this paper is to relate salinity variations in the Levantine basin to the salt content variability in the core of the Levantine Intermediate Water (LIW) passing through the Sicily Channel (SC) and its possible impact on the Western Mediterranean Transition - WMT (i.e. the sudden salinity and temperature increase in the deep layer of the Algero-Provençal subbasin occurring since 2004). From the historical data set MEDAR/MEDATLAS in the Levantine and northern Ionian, we present evidence of decadal occurrences of extreme salinities associated with the varying influx of AW over the last 60 yr. Furthermore, we show that the salinity variations in the two subbasins are out of phase. High-salinity episodes in the Levantine are a pre-conditioning for the potential occurrence of the events like the Eastern Mediterranean Transient (EMT). Cross-correlation between the salinity time series in the Levantine basin and in the SC suggests that the travel time of the LIW is between 10 and 13 yr. Comparing the timing of the salinity increase associated with the WMT and the salinity in the LIW core in the SC, we estimate that the total time interval needed for the signal propagating from the Levantine to reach the deep mixed layers of the Algero-Provençal subbasin is about 25 yr. We also showed that the extra salt input from the eastern Mediterranean contribute up to about 60% to the salt content increase in the bottom layer of the western Mediterranean.
Ga?i?, M.; Schroeder, K.; Civitarese, G.; Cosoli, S.; Vetrano, A.; Eusebi Borzelli, G. L.
We present a first detailed tsunami risk assessment for the city of Messina where one of the most destructive tsunami inundations of the last centuries occurred in 1908. In the tsunami hazard evaluation, probabilities are calculated through a new general modular Bayesian tool for Probability Tsunami Hazard Assessment. The estimation of losses of persons and buildings takes into account data collected directly or supplied by: (i) the Italian National Institute of Statistics that provides information on the population, on buildings and on many relevant social aspects; (ii) the Italian National Territory Agency that provides updated economic values of the buildings on the basis of their typology (residential, commercial, industrial) and location (streets); and (iii) the Train and Port Authorities. For human beings, a factor of time exposition is introduced and calculated in terms of hours per day in different places (private and public) and in terms of seasons, considering that some factors like the number of tourists can vary by one order of magnitude from January to August. Since the tsunami risk is a function of the run-up levels along the coast, a variable tsunami risk zone is defined as the area along the Messina coast where tsunami inundations may occur.
Grezio, A.; Gasparini, P.; Marzocchi, W.; Patera, A.; Tinti, S.
Two autochthonous clams, Venerupis aurea laeta and Cerastoderma edule/glaucum, collected for a period of 1 year, from May 2007 to January 2008, were studied in the Cape Peloro lagoon. On the samples, it was evaluated the presence of pathogenic microorganisms and proteins, lipids and yield edible part were determined. It was evaluated the concentration of mineral elements (Cd, Cu, Mn, Se, Pb, Zn) and organic contaminants (?DDT and PCBs). Salmonella is never present in any sample. Total and faecal coliform values have always been under law limits for alive bivalves mussels production and sale. Zn, Cu, Cd and Pb levels were found in clams where they are slightly lower too. Both species do not show significant changes for Mn and Se. DDT and PCBs traces were discovered in Ganzirri Lake' samples, but in all observed cases, they were below law limits. As a result of all these observations, it is clear that, in recent years, the bivalve's use of Ganzirri Lake does not denote toxicological risk to human health. PMID:20033279
Di Bella, Giuseppa; Cavallaro, Novella; Lo Turco, Vincenzo; Furci, Patrizia; Rando, Rossana; La Pera, Lara; Dugo, Giacomo
Besides remnants of Hercynian deformations in the Peloritani nappe and of pre-Oligocene Alpine structures in the Troiani nappe, most compressive structures observed in the Sicilian accretionary wedge result from the late Cenozoic (Tortonian to Present) continental subduction of the Apulia (Iblei) block, and are thus synchronous with distensive structures related to the opening of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Syntectonic deposits fill southward-migrating foredeeps in a sequential fashion, and the dating of these deposits helps to constrain the timing of deformation. Similarly, Plio-Quaternary sediments, eroded from the accreted units, rest on top of the allochthon in either compressive piggy-back depressions or extensional basins. The age and configuration of these overlap deposits constrain our reconstructions of the subsurface geometry of the underlying peri-Tyrrhenian detachment faults or S-verging thrust-faults. Post-depositional erosion, normal faulting and syntectonic filling of basins contribute to maintaining the critical taper of the prism, whose geometry is continuously altered owing to frontal accretion, underplating and isostatic uplift. ?? 1990.
Roure, F.; Howell, D. G.; Muller, C.; Moretti, I.
Two new species of tardigrades are described from Sicilian moss samples: Macrobiotus insuetus sp. nov. and Diphascon (Diphascon) procerum sp. nov. Macrobiotus insuetus sp. nov. is a species of the harmsworthi-group characterized by both posterior and anterior claws of the hind legs, which are different in shape from those of the first three leg pairs. The IV claws have extended basal tract where the branches are joined and the secondary branch breaks at near right angle to the primary branch and is clearly shorter than the main branch and the secondary branch of claws I-III. The eggs are not areolated and have conical processes with a reticular ornamentation. Diphascon (D.) procerum sp. nov. has a delicate cuticular ornamentation of very small tubercles, almost dots; two macroplacoids and septulum are present; thin accessory points are present on the main branches of the slender claws; lunules are absent but the base of the external claws of the hind legs are enlarged and slightly indented; a cuticular bar is present near the internal claw of the first three leg pairs and two cuticular bars are present on the hind legs between the base of the claws and near the base of the anterior claw. PMID:24869688
Pilato, Giovanni; Sabella, Giorgio; Lisi, Oscar
Eight Y-chromosomal short tandem repeats (STRs)-DYS19, DYS389-I, DYS389-II, DYS390, DYS391, DYS392, DYS393 and DYS385-were typed in a population sample (n=255) of unrelated Sicilian males from nine different towns on the main island and from the island of Pantelleria. PMID:15990263
Robino, C; Inturri, S; Gino, S; Torre, C; Di Gaetano, C; Crobu, F; Romano, V; Matullo, G; Piazza, A
Background and purpose Congenital talipes equinovarus (clubfoot) can present in 2 forms: “syndromic”, in which other malformations exist, and the more common “idiopathic” form, where there are no other associated malformations. We analyzed the epidemiology of congenital talipes equinovarus in the Sicilian population, looking for potential etiological factors. Patients and methods Among the 801,324 live births recorded between January 1991 and December 2004, 827 cases were registered (560 males; M/F sex ratio: 2.1). Control infants were randomly selected from a historical cohort of live births without any major congenital malformations. Results A positive family history of clubfoot, gender, and maternal smoking were found to be risk factors for clubfoot. Patients with clubfoot were born most frequently during the period January–March. No association was found between clubfoot and reproductive history, peri-conceptional maternal drug exposure, maternal education, or ethnicity. Interpretation Our findings emphasize the importance of birth defects surveillance programs and their usefulness in investigating potential risk factors.
There are numerous problems yet to be solved in waste management and although efforts towards waste recovery and recycling have been made, landfills are still the most common method used in the EU and many other industrialised countries. Thermal disposal, particularly incineration, is a tested and viable alternative. In 2004, only 11% of the annual waste production of Italy was
Antonio Messineo; Domenico Panno
Phytoplankton abundance and composition in the hypertrophic man-made Lake Arancio was analyzed, based on a programme of weekly sampling from May 1990 to November 1991 and supported by measurements of limnological parameters. The highest value of phytoplankton biomass (78 mg l-1) was observed in October 1990, during a bloom of the desmid Closterium limneticum var. fallax, while the lowest (0.15
Rossella Barone; Luigi Naselli Flores
This contribution deals with the traditional use of plants of the Sicilian flora. Special attention is given to the species used in popular medicine. Moreover, the importance of ethnobotanics in scientific research and its role in toxicology are shown.
Data on the accumulation of metals in wild edible and inedible macrofungi of the Boletaceae family are discussed here and compared with data reported in literature from northern Italy and other European countries, as well as from China, Brazil, and Africa. The results show a significant difference in the values detected in Sicilian fungi compared to those reported in the literature. PMID:24830175
Venturella, Giuseppe; Gargano, Maria Letizia; Compagno, Riccardo; Saitta, Alessandro; Alaimo, Maria Grazia
The Wadati-Benioff zone under Calabria and the Tyrrhenian Sea is located in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, a region characterized by complex tectonics. The presence of deep earthquakes under the Tyrrhenian Sea to a depth of 500 km, depicting an Ionian slab dipping about 70° towards the NW (Selvaggi and Chiarabba, 95), related with an active volcanic arc (the
F. Gallais; M.-A. Gutscher; D. Graindorge; A. Polonia
The most important magnetic mineral in the fine-grained marls of the Early Pliocene Trubi formation near Eraclea Minoa is magnetite. Some geothite is also present. The magnetite is of high purity and of primary origin. Hysteresis and low-temperature measurements show that most magnetite grains are single-domain. The presence of superparamagnetic grains is suspected. Multi-domain grains are rare. It is shown that AF demagnetization does not yield correct NRM directions.
Van Velzen, A.J.; Zijderveld, J.D.A. (Univ. of Utrecht (Netherlands))
The impact of landslides are an issue for many urban cities and their cultural heritage, especially where both natural factors and human actions are join. Indeed in these cases, both the geological-geomorphological area predisposition and the continuous human actions increase the possibility occurrence of a landslide. In order to study these landslides and their natural hazard, a multi-disciplinary approach is necessary. Agrigento (37°19'18''N; 13°35'22''E), founded around 580 b.C. along the Sicilian southern coast, is an example of a possible impacts of landslides on cultural heritage. This work discusses the geological, geomorphological and hydrological data results, performed in order to study and the monitoring the landslide on the north side of the Agrigento hill (335 m a.s.l.), on which is localized the antique cathedral (sixteenth century) and the old city. The hill geology is a typical regressive Plio-Pleistocene succession and their lithology are clays (Monte Narbone formation) , calcarenites , sands and silts of the Agrigento formation. The landslide phenomena, current since 1315, involves a calcarenitic pack (Pleistocene), weakly cemented, highly porous, fractured and fissured (E-W). This phenomena from 1924, at different times, have produced various types of instability such as: falls, flows and complex movements. From 7 March 2005 have been reactivated fractures of the calcarenitic pack, already highlighted by studies in 1966. These fractures have triggered slope movements damaging the cathedral and the various historic buildings. In order to reduce the risk and thus safeguard the monuments and the activity in this area, carried out the several studies. Since 2005, the landslide is the subject both geological-geomorphological studies and a continuous monitoring, which have used different techniques of different disciplines: interferometric analysis, interpretation of aerial and satellite imagery, geophysical investigations, stratigraphic survey, etc. The results of this studies carried out the landslide kinematics and the lithology involved, in this way it was possible to suggest targeted intervention. Keywords: rotational landslide, rockfall, hazard, architectural heritage.
Liguori, Vincenzo; Manno, Giorgio
In the westernmost Ionian Sea lies a steep, tectonically active marine basin influenced by turbidity currents generated by terrigenous river input from the adjacent mountains and strong tidal currents propagating through the Strait of Messina. Like many young marine rifts, the basin is lined by steep streams draining the uplifting coasts and supplying sediment across narrow shelves. However, unlike many rifts, this basin is semi-enclosed. The present study explores the seabed morphology and sediment structures in this complex environmental setting, based on multibeam sonar, chirp profiler and seismic reflection data collected in 2006. Offshore channels include many that can be directly linked to onshore streams, suggesting that hyperpycnal flows are important for their formation. Near the Strait of Messina in depths shallower than 400 m, the channels are subdued, plausibly explained as an effect of strong tidal currents. The Messina Channel is characterised by abundant mass-wasting features along its outer bends, particularly on the Calabrian side. Coincidence of the channel course with faults suggests that the channel is structurally controlled in places. The chirp profiles generally show only shallow penetration, the evidence for coarse texture being consistent with the steep gradient of the basin that inhibits deposition from turbidity currents. By contrast, some locally discontinuous mounds exhibiting layered sub-bottom reflectors in the chirp profiles are interpreted as modern levee deposits formed from channelised turbidity current overspill. Overall, this semi-enclosed basin shows little evidence of substantial accumulations associated with modern turbidity current activity, any contemporaneous sediment supply evidently bypassing the area to be deposited in the Ionian Trench; as a consequence, this trench should be an archive of local slope failure and flood events.
Goswami, Rajasmita; Mitchell, Neil C.; Argnani, Andrea; Brocklehurst, Simon H.
Evaluating the recurrence of sediment failure on continental margins is important to better understand the evolution of margins and to assess the geologic risk of slope failure and, possibly, tsunami hazard. This paper proposes an integrated morphological and stratigraphic reconstruction of slope failures to evaluate their timing, frequency, and responsible mechanisms. Data from seismic stratigraphy, sediment cores, and seafloor geomorphology
D. Minisini; F. Trincardi
Since advection and diffusion are the main physical processes that influence the cleaning capacity of coastal transitional waters, the 3-D spatial distribution of the water renewal times was used to delineate a physically-based zonation scheme. The temporal and spatial variations of the hydrodynamics are assessed using a validated three dimensional hydrodynamic finite element model. The developed methodology was applied to the Cape Peloro system, a coastal protected area located in the Messina Strait (Italy) consisting of two connected small brackish basins: the shallow Lake Ganzirri and the deep meromictic Lake Faro. The hydrodynamics of the two coastal lakes shows strong seasonal and spatial variation. The 3-D distribution of the water renewal times suggests a horizontal partition of the Lake Ganzirri into two sub-basins and a vertical zonation of the Lake Faro, with the mixolimnion extending till 10 m depth and the presence of a persistent bottom stagnant layer. The derived physically-based zonation scheme helps in explaining the highly heterogeneous spatial distribution of many biogeochemical variables in the Cape Peloro coastal system.
Ferrarin, Christian; Bergamasco, Alessandro; Umgiesser, Georg; Cucco, Andrea
Magma ascent velocity, v (dH/dt; H = depth, t = time),can be determined from ascent rate (dP/dt), and rate of cooling (dT/dt): v= 1/(rgpg) (dP/dT)(dT/dt) where r is magma density, P is pressure, T is temperature and g is the acceleration of gravity. This equation for v provides a key to investigating the relationships between initial ascent rate of magma and the depths of magma dehydration, and v can be calculated using pressure and temperature (P - PH2O - T) estimates from mineral-liquid thermobarometry, and cooling rates inferred from Crystal Size Distribution (CSD) theory. For recent Mt. Etna lava flows, both dP/dT and dT/dt have been well characterized based, respectively, on clinopyroxene thermobarometry, and clinopyroxene CSDs (the latter yields dT/dt = 2x10-6 °C/s). Deep-level (>20 km) magma ascent rates range from practically 0 (where clinopyroxene P - T estimates form a cluster, and so dP/dT ? 0), to about 10 m/hr for flows that yield very steep P - T trajectories. Many lava flows at Mt. Etna yield P - T paths that follow a hydrous (about 3% water) clinopyroxene saturation surface, which closely approximates water contents obtained from melt inclusions. Independent assessments of deep level water content yield ascent rates of ~1 m/hr, in agreement with the slowest rates derived for magma effusion or vapor-driven ascent (~0.001 to >0.2 m/s, or 3.6 to 720 m/hr). Changes in P - T slopes, as obtained by pyroxene thermobarometry, indicate an upward acceleration of magma, which may be due to the onset of deep-level magma dehydration linked to the non-ideal behavior of water and CO2 mixtures that induce a deep-level maximum of water loss at P ? 0.4 MPa at T ? 1200 ° C for a CO2 content >1000ppm. Melt inclusion data on CO2 and H2O contents are successfully reproduced and interpreted in a context of magma dehydration induced by a CO2 flux possibly deriving by decarbonation reaction of the carbonate fraction of the Capo D'Orlando flysch.
Armienti, P.; Perinelli, C.; Putirka, K.
In Italy, about 7 % of the resident population is represented by immigrants originating from geographic regions at high endemicity for hepatitis B virus infection. This study aims to assess the prevalence of occult HBV infection (OBI) including the identification of HBV-genotypes in a population of immigrants serologically negative for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg). Between May 2006 and May 2010, 339 immigrants were tested for markers of HBV, hepatitis C virus (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections. HBV-DNA was tested by using nested-PCR assays on three different genetic region. HBV-DNA was detected in plasma samples of 11/339 (3.2 %) patients. Most of them had no serological markers of HBV infection, 3/58 (5.2 %) were anti-HBc-alone, and 4/13 (30.8 %) were anti-HIV positive. HIV positivity was the only factor independently associated with the higher probability of observing OBI (OR = 16.5, p < 0.001). No HCV co-infected patients were found. Genotype D was detected in 9/11 (81.8 %) OBI cases, while the remaining two (18.2 %) were classified as genotype E. Although OBI was found at lower rate than expected among immigrants from highly endemic countries, anti-HBc alone positivity was confirmed as a sentinel marker of occult HBV infection. Nevertheless, a marked heterogeneity of HBV markers was found among HBV-DNA positive subjects. Our finding evidenced the predominance of HBV-genotype D viral strains among OBI cases, also in those from geographical areas where overt HBV infections are mainly sustained by viral genotypes other than D. PMID:22875279
Tramuto, Fabio; Maida, Carmelo M; Colomba, Giuseppina M E; Di Carlo, Paola; Mazzola, Giovanni; Li Vecchi, Valentina; Affronti, Mario; Montalto, Giuseppe; Vitale, Francesco
A geophysical survey was performed at the Roman Amphitheatre of Catania with the aim to study the lithological features of the foundation subsoil of the Amphitheatre and to identify possible underground voids, buried crypts and other heterogeneities. The survey consisted of a number of georadar prospections and of three mechanical drillings. In addition it was experimented a non-invasive technique (passive
S. Castellaro; S. Imposa; F. Barone; F. Chiavetta; S. Gresta; F. Mulargia
The seismic analysis of the volcanic tremors preceding and accompanying the Etnean eruption of March–August, 1983 has shown a significant variation in the spectral content before the beginning of the eruption, the tremor peaks at 1.4 and 1.6 Hz — which might be associated with the feeding pipes of the NE crater (Schicket al., 1982a) — being the dominant feature
M. Cosentino; S. Gresta; G. Lombardo; G. Patanè; M. Riuscetti; R. Schick; A. Viglianisi
In the young mountain chains underwent to emersion, the different crustal blocks which compose the belt may be subjected to differentiate tilting during uplift. The tilting process may be revealed both by the stratal pattern of the syn-uplifting deposits or deduced by the function altitude\\/area ratio. The prevailing of the uplift rate with respect to the tilting rate (and vice
Fabrizio Nigro; Pietro Renda; Rocco Favara
We report a case of Hymenolepis diminuta infection in a 2-year-old child living in a suburban area of Catania, Italy. This case was initially referred to us as Dipylidium caninum infection, which was not cured after being treated twice with mebendazole. However, by analyzing the clinical presentation and stool samples we arrived to the diagnosis of H. diminuta infection. The case presented with atypical allergic manifestations which had never been reported as clinical features of symptomatic H. diminuta infection; remittent fever with abdominal pain, diffuse cutaneous itching, transient thoracic rash, and arthromyalgias. The patient was treated with a 7-day cycle of oral niclosamide, which proved to be safe and effective. This case report emphasizes that a correct parasitological diagnosis requires adequate district laboratories and trained personnel. In addition, we recommend the importance of reporting all H. diminuta infection cases, in order to improve knowledge on epidemiology, clinical presentation, and treatment protocols. PMID:20585535
Patamia, Ildebrando; Cappello, Elisa; Castellano-Chiodo, Donato; Greco, Filippo; Nigro, Luciano; Cacopardo, Bruno
Background: Teaching the steps of evidence-based practice (EBP) has become standard curriculum for health professions at both student and professional levels. Determining the best methods for evaluating EBP learning is hampered by a dearth of valid and practical assessment tools and by the absence of guidelines for classifying the purpose of those that exist. Conceived and developed by delegates of
J. K. Tilson; S. L. Kaplan; J. L. Harris; A. Hutchinson; D. Ilic; R. Niederman; J. Potomkova; S. E. Zwolsman
Mt. Etna is one of the most active volcano in the world and the understanding of its eruptive dynamics is fundamental to reduce volcanic risk related to the frequent volcanic events. In this respect the complete evolution of Mt. Etna magmatismand the reconstruction of its mantle source was considered performing a detailed sampling from Tholeiitic to Recent Mongibello periods. Backward mass balance fractionation models, starting from real and primitive analyzed magmas, allowed to reconstruct the "primary" and un-fractionated melt compositions.The Tholeiitic suite did not necessitate a backward reconstruction for the presence of real primary un-fractionated compositions. The least differentiated products for each alkaline period were identified and about 17 to 19% of a solid assemblage made up of Ol (87 to 100%) and Cpx (up to 13%) was added to re-equilibrate the basalts with mantle olivine (Fo87). A further subtraction of an average 23.3% of a solid assemblage constituted by Ol (7-18%), Cpx (26-55%) and Plag (21-48%) is needed to get to the most differentiated erupted lavas. To reach the most evolved terms ishypothesized the involvement of 27% Ol, 14% Cpx, 29% Opx, 15% Plg and 15% Cr-sp for a total amount of 53.1% of Gabbroic material.On average an estimation of about 40% of material should be considered beneath the volcanic edifice taking into account the entire volume of the products emitted by the volcano. Thus if according to  the whole volcano edifice amounts to about 370 km3, about 150 km3 of magma should be left behind from the magma on its way from the mantle to the surface. Although Etnean alkaline lavas appear enriched in K, Rb, Th and U and depleted in Ti, Y and Yb with respect to the Iblean magmas, their overall composition appear quite similar.Thus partial melting models were developed for each Etnean magmatic period, based on a mantle composition similar to that of the nearbyIblean lithosphere. Results indicate twodifferent sources for Tholeiitic and Alkaline suites analogously to the modeling developed by. Tholeiitic magmas can be reproduced by about 17% of an amphibole-bearing peridotite source, while Alkaline magmas can be reproduced by melting of about 7% an amphibole-phlogopite-bearing peridotite source. Our result are in agreement with those recently advanced by  indicating a large similarity between Mt. Etna and Mt. Iblei mantle sources.  Neri and Rossi (1992) Quaderni di geofisica - Istituto nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia 20.  Beccaluva et al. (1998) J. Petrology 39, 1547-1576.  Correale et al. (2014) Lithos, 243-258.
Alesci, Giuseppe; Giacomoni, Pier Paolo; Coltorti, Massimo; Ferlito, Carmelo
The magmatic gas phase is a critical component in the triggering and driving of basaltic explosive eruptions. At Etna it is thought that a substantial gas phase exists prior to eruption, and this pre-eruptive gas may play a role in triggering lava fountaining. Any measurements of volatiles and degassing must therefore attempt to capture both the gases exsolved at magma reservoir pressures and emitted prior to or during eruption, as well as those volatiles that exsolve during eruption. To this end, we combine remotely-sensed observations of sulfur dioxide emissions and estimates of lava flux with a geochemical characterization of melt inclusions for some recent fountaining eruptions of Etna. Time series of gas and lava fluxes show that the gas-melt ratio of the erupted products varies throughout an eruption, with high gas-melt ratios at the onset of fountaining which then decline with time, which has implications for fountain triggering and understanding transitions between eruption styles. The analysis indicates that a large fraction of sulfur partitions into the vapour phase prior to eruption, supporting the conclusions of previous work. We use our results, and data from the literature, to construct an empirical model relating the proportion of 'excess' sulfur to the size of the eruption and we use this to estimate the SO2 emission that accompanied the 1669 eruption of Etna, showing it may had a highly significant regional environmental impact. We examine the major, trace and volatile geochemistry of olivine-hosted melt inclusions in tephra for additional insights into magma fractionation, mixing and degasing prior to eruption.
Salem, L. C.; Edmonds, M.; Carn, S. A.; Harris, A. J.; Salerno, G. G.; Corsaro, R.
The chemical composition of the essential oil obtained from the flowers of Otanthus maritimus L., a perennial plant growing wild in maritime sands in the Mediterranean region, was investigated by GC and GC-MS analyses. Totally 66 were identified. The oil was dominated by the high content of monoterpene compounds, especially oxygenated monoterpenes which accounted for 73.1%. The most abundant components were yomogi alcohol (20.8%), camphor (15.8%), artemisyl acetate (15.3%) and artemisia alcohol (13.7%). The oil was tested against two Gram (+) and six Gram (-) bacterial strains, both American Type Culture Collection standard strains and clinically isolated (CI), one potentially pathogenic yeast (Candida albicans CI) and two filamentous phytopathogenic fungi (Botrytis cinerea and Rhizoctonia solani). The results show that the oil from O. maritimus exerts strong antibacterial and antifungal activities. PMID:23126552
Basile, Adriana; Rigano, Daniela; Sorbo, Sergio; Conte, Barbara; Rosselli, Sergio; Bruno, Maurizio; Senatore, Felice
The structural pattern of the basement of the Mt. Etna volcano is studied by combining results from new gravity and deep dipole geoelectric field data. At first, the Bouguer map was separated into regional and residual contour maps by a 50 km cut-off wavelength. Then, by the geoelectric interpretation, N-S and E-W resistivity cross-sections were elaborated, which were used as guidelines for modelling gravity residuals. After observing a close correspondence between Bouguer anomalies and resistivity classes, by a trial-and-error adjustment to the relationship between resistivity and density, a 3-D block model of the basement was finally constructed, which consistently matched with both gravity and geoelectric information content. Two main conclusions emerged from the combined interpretation. The first is the presence of diffuse inhomogeneities in the upper portion of the basement, down to an average depth of 2 km below sea level, in contrast with the regularity of the explored underlying portion. The second is the absence of geophysical markers suggesting the existence of a large magmatic chamber, down to about 3 km below sea level.
Loddo, M.; Patella, D.; Quarto, R.; Ruina, G.; Tramacere, A.; Zito, G.
Carbon dioxide emissions from the soil have been investigated along lines of equally spaced sampling points perpendicular to the Pernicana fault on Mt Etna. Anomalous values of soil CO2 have been found not only along the fault plane, but also along directions parallel to it, both to the N and to the S of the main fault. The acquired data
Mariano Valenza; S GURRIERI
Ninety-four components of the essential oils from aerial parts and capitula of Tanacetum vulgare subsp. siculum (Guss.) Raimondo et Spadaro were detected. Alpha-Thujone, beta-thujone and 1,8-cineole were the main constituents of the oils. The analysis allows the assignment of this Tanacetum species to the thujone chemotype. PMID:19476007
Formisano, Carmen; Senatore, Felice; Bruno, Maurizio; Rosselli, Sergio; Bellone, Gabriella; Spadaro, Vivienne
A pilot GIS-based system has been implemented for the assessment and analysis of hazard related to active fault systems affecting the eastern and southern flanks of Mt. Etna. The system structure was developed in ArcGis® environment and consists of different thematic datasets that include spatially-referred arc-features and associated Database. Arc-type features, geo-referred into WGS84 Ellipsoid UTM zone 33 Projection, are represented by the four fault systems that develop in the analyzed region and other vector layers (i.e. the main lifelines) specifically added for the hazard evaluation. In any case, the backbone of the GIS-based system is constituted by the large amount of information which was stored and properly geocoded in a digital database. This consists of thirty alpha-numeric fields which include all fault parameters available from literature such us length, location, slip rate etc. Although the system has been constructed according to the most common procedures used by GIS developer, the architecture and content of the Database represent a powerful tool in modeling hazard at Mt. Etna. On the other hand, layering different geographic information and managing Database (topological querying) achieved information can easily and quickly be represented in a great diversity of hazard and vulnerability maps which can be produced following the implementation of specific predicting models.
Barreca, G.; Bonforte, A.; Neri, M.
Background An excess of mortality for malignant neoplasms of the pleura in Biancavilla, promoted an investigation for pleural mesothelioma, disclosing 17 cases. As the absence of known sources of asbestos exposure, a local stone quarry, located near the inhabited area, used for the extraction of building materials, was investigated. Amphibolic fibres were found in the quarry and identified as fluoro-edenite "new end-member of the edenite / fluoro-edenite series" and recognized as the fluoro-edenite holotype by International Mineralogical Association – Commission on New Minerals and Mineral Names. A pilot study was performed to verify the feasibility of using spontaneous sputum as an exposure indicator for these fibres, in a context in which the use of aerosol-induced sputum technique would not be easily accepted. Methods Hypothesizing a behaviour of the new fibre analogous to that of asbestos, the determination of the free fibres and the ferruginous bodies in spontaneous sputum was carried out. Phase Contrast Optical Microscope and an Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope fitted with X-ray energy dispersive analysis system (micro-analysis) were used to examine the samples. The criteria for inclusion in the study were: 1) subjects hospitalized for exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease symptoms, 2) age ? 45 years, 3) residence in Biancavilla for at least 30 years. Results The preliminary findings are related to 12 subjects (7 females and 5 males). Uncoated fibres (with length > 5 ?m, diameter < 3 ?m, aspect ratio 3.1) and ferruginous bodies were searched. Six out of twelve subjects (4 females, 2 males) had at least one of the three samples positive for the presence of fluoro-edenite, confirmed by micro-analysis. The fibre concentration found in the sputum ranged from 0.04 to 10 fibres/g; the length from 20 to 40 ?m, the diameter was < 0.5 ?m. No ferruginous bodies were found in any of the samples. The four women with a positive sample were housewives. Of the two men with a positive sample, one was a farmer and the other a mason. Therefore, it may be assumed that the exposure to fluoro-edenitic fibres was mainly environmental. Conclusion The occurrence of the pleural mesothelioma cases and the presence of fluoro-edenitic fibres in spontaneous sputum, evidence the need to study the biological activity of fluoro-edenitic fibres and the implementation of epidemiological monitoring systems.
Putzu, Maria Grazia; Bruno, Caterina; Zona, Amerigo; Massiccio, Marilena; Pasetto, Roberto; Piolatto, Pier Giorgio; Comba, Pietro
The present paper describes a multidisciplinary approach to the evaluation of a seismically triggered landslide that occurred in the Cerda area (Italy) on September 6, 2002, about 1 h after an earthquake took place in the south Tyrrhenian Sea. The study was focused on an analysis of the role of the seismic input in triggering the landslide, in view of
Valerio Agnesi; Marco Camarda; Christian Conoscenti; Cipriano Di Maggio; Iole Serena Diliberto; Paolo Madonia; Edoardo Rotigliano
Small angle neutron scattering measurements have been carried out in order to investigate, in microdestructive way, the mesoscopic structure of a variety of potteries of relevance to cultural heritage coming from different Sicilian (Southern Italy) archeological sites belonging to the 'Strait of Messina' area and dated back to 7th-3rd century B.C. Data have been compared with the mesoscopic parameters extracted for two series of clayey sediments typical of the Strait of Messina area and fired under controlled conditions. The observed agreement between the features of reference and archeological samples allowed us to estimate the maximum firing temperature of the latter. Information on the pore sizes was obtained by the use of the concept of fractal surface, and compared with porosimetry results.
Barone, G.; Mazzoleni, P. [Department of Geological Science, University of Catania, Corso Italia 55, 95129 Catania (Italy); Crupi, V.; Majolino, D.; Venuti, V. [Department of Physics, University of Messina, CNISM, UdR Messina, Contrada Papardo, Salita Sperone 31, 98166 Messina (Italy); Teixeira, J. [Laboratoire Leon Brillouin (CNRS/CEA), CEA Saclay, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex (France)
AIM: To assess retrospectively the epidemiological and clinical aspects of cystic echinococcosis (CE) and to evaluate follow-up and response to treatment in patients affected by CE. METHODS: From January 2000 to December 2010, all patients affected by CE at the Infectious Diseases Units of the University of Catania and of Basilotta Hospital in Nicosia-Enna, were enrolled as participants in the study. Epidemiological, clinical and laboratory data were collected for each patient. Diagnosis of CE was performed using clinical imaging and laboratory parameters. Response to treatment was categorized as follows: “cure” as the disappearance or complete calcification of cyst/s; “improvement” as a reduction in the diameter and/or number of existing cysts; and “impairment” as an increase in the diameter and/or number of existing cyst/s and the onset of relapses (i.e., the onset of new cyst/s and an increase in the diameter of previously existing cyst/s and/or complications. Immunoglobulin E (IgE) titers and eosinophil percentages were evaluated at diagnosis, at six months after the initiation of treatment and again in the case of relapse. Hyper-eosinophilia was defined as an eosinophil percentage of ? 6%. RESULTS: Thirty-two patients were diagnosed with CE in our Unit during the research period, with a male-female ratio of 2:1. At the time of diagnosis, 40% of patients presented a single CE cyst. Sixty percent showed multi-organ involvement. The liver-lung localization ratio was 2:1. Patients below the age of 50 at diagnosis were more likely to have multiple cysts (73.7% vs 35.5%, P < 0.05). Regarding treatment, 30 patients were treated medically and 16 surgically. Fourteen patients were treated both medically and surgically. Relapses were seen to be less frequent in patients treated with albendazole before and after surgery. Complete cure or an improvement was achieved in 23 patients. Impairment was observed in one patient. Two patients showed no improvement. Relapses were more frequent in those patients treated before 2005. At diagnosis, 71% of patients were positive for specific CE IgE, and 56.3% showed an eosinophil percentage of ? 6%. Patients who were diagnosed with hyper-eosinophilia developed complications more frequently than the other patients, but did not suffer relapses. CONCLUSION: On the basis of our results, we propose cystic echinococcosis screening for family members of patients, appropriate pre- and post-surgery treatment and the assessment of anti-echinococcus IgE titer or eosinophil percentage as a therapy response marker in settings with limited resources.
Cappello, Elisa; Cacopardo, Bruno; Caltabiano, Eleonora; Li Volsi, Sigismindo; Chiara, Rosa; Sapienza, Mauro; Nigro, Luciano
Detailed surveys of diffuse CO2 flux, soil temperature, thermal gradients, and sampling of high-T fumaroles were carried out in the Favare area and Lake Specchio di Venere on Pantelleria Island. Spatial patterns of diffuse CO2 emissions in the Favare area reflect structural discontinuities (faults, fractures or cracks in the soil) associated with the volcano-tectonic structures of the young Monastero Caldera (NNE–SSW to NE–SW trending). The estimated diffuse CO2 output from two adjacent sites in the Favare area (~ 93,000 m2) is 7.8 t d? 1 (equivalent to 2.62 kt a? 1), whereas that from the west shore of the lake (450 m2) is 0.041 t d? 1 (or 0.015 kt a? 1). The extrapolation of diffuse CO2 fluxes across the entire altered area of Favare suggests that CO2 emissions are ~ 19.3 t d? 1. The diffuse CO2 flux correlates with shallow soil temperatures, indicating a similar source for both the heat and volatiles from the underlying geothermal reservoir. Gas equilibria applied to fumarolic effluents define P–T conditions for this reservoir at 2–6 bar and 120–160 °C, in good agreement with measurements from exploratory wells in these areas (e.g., 135 °C at a depth of 290 m). Using the CO2 flux as a tracer for steam output, and consequently for heat flow, the calculated thermal energy for the shallow reservoir is 10–12 MW; this represents the minimum geothermal potential of the reservoir on Pantelleria island.
Granieri, Domenico; Chiodini, Giovanni; Avino, Rosario; Caliro, Stefano
A pilot GIS-based system has been implemented for the assessment and analysis of hazard related to active faults affecting the eastern and southern flanks of Mt. Etna. The system structure was developed in ArcGis® environment and consists of different thematic datasets that include spatially-referenced arc-features and associated database. Arc-type features, georeferenced into WGS84 Ellipsoid UTM zone 33 Projection, represent the five main fault systems that develop in the analysed region. The backbone of the GIS-based system is constituted by the large amount of information which was collected from the literature and then stored and properly geocoded in a digital database. This consists of thirty five alpha-numeric fields which include all fault parameters available from literature such us location, kinematics, landform, slip rate, etc. Although the system has been implemented according to the most common procedures used by GIS developer, the architecture and content of the database represent a pilot backbone for digital storing of fault parameters, providing a powerful tool in modelling hazard related to the active tectonics of Mt. Etna. The database collects, organises and shares all scientific currently available information about the active faults of the volcano. Furthermore, thanks to the strong effort spent on defining the fields of the database, the structure proposed in this paper is open to the collection of further data coming from future improvements in the knowledge of the fault systems. By layering additional user-specific geographic information and managing the proposed database (topological querying) a great diversity of hazard and vulnerability maps can be produced by the user. This is a proposal of a backbone for a comprehensive geographical database of fault systems, universally applicable to other sites.
Barreca, Giovanni; Bonforte, Alessandro; Neri, Marco
The concentrations and fluxes of major, minor and trace metals were determined in 53 samples of groundwaters from around Mt Etna, in order to evaluate the conditions and extent of alkali basalt weathering by waters enriched in magma-derived CO 2 and the contribution of aqueous transport to the overall metal discharge of the volcano. We show that gaseous input of magmatic volatile metals into the Etnean aquifer is small or negligible, being limited by cooling of the rising fluids. Basalt leaching by weakly acidic, CO 2-charged water is the overwhelming source of metals and appears to be more extensive in two sectors of the S-SW (Paternò) and E (Zafferana) volcano flanks, where out flowing groundwaters are the richest in metals and bicarbonate of magmatic origin. Thermodynamic modeling of the results allows to evaluate the relative mobility and chemical speciation of various elements during their partitioning between solid and liquid phases through the weathering process. The facts that rock-forming minerals and groundmass dissolve at different rates and secondary minerals are formed are taken into account. At Mt. Etna, poorly mobile elements (Al, Th, Fe) are preferentially retained in the solid residue of weathering, while alkalis, alkaline earth and oxo-anion-forming elements (As, Se, Sb, Mo) are more mobile and released to the aqueous system. Transition metals display an intermediate behavior and are strongly dependent on either the redox conditions (Mn, Cr, V) or solid surface-related processes (V, Zn, Cu). The fluxes of metals discharged by the volcanic aquifer of Etna range from 7.0 × 10 -3 t/a (Th) to 7.3 × 10 4 t/a (Na). They are comparable in magnitude to the summit crater plume emissions for a series of elements (Na, K, Ca, Mg, U, V, Li) with lithophile affinity, but are minor for volatile elements. Basalt weathering at Mt Etna also consumes about 2.1 × 10 5 t/a of magma-derived carbon dioxide, equivalent to ca. 7% of contemporaneous crater plume emissions. The considerable transport of some metals in Etna's aquifer reflects a particularly high chemical erosion rate, evaluated at 2.3?10 5 t/a, enhanced by the initial acidity of magmatic CO 2-rich groundwater.
Aiuppa, Alessandro; Allard, Patrick; D'Alessandro, Walter; Michel, Agnes; Parello, Francesco; Treuil, Michel; Valenza, Mariano
Southern Italy has been struck repeatedly by very strong historical earthquakes as in 1169, 1693, 1783, 1905, 1908, often associated with destructive tsunami. While certain events (like 1908 Messina or 1783 Calabria) are associated with known crustal normal faults, which produced observed surface ruptures, the source of the strongest earthquake in the Italian catalog, the Catania earthquake of 1693 is
F. Gallais; M. Gutscher; D. Graindorge; A. Polonia
We carried out a study of seismicity and ground deformation occurred on Mount Etna volcano after the end of 2002-2003 eruption and before the onset of 2004-2005 eruption, recorded by the permanent local seismic network run by Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - Sezione di Catania and by geodetic surveys carried out in July 2003 and July 2004 on the GPS network. We provide a description of seismicity rate and main seismic swarms which occurred during the investigated period. Mostly of the earthquakes are clustered in two main clusters located on the north-eastern (E-W aligned and above the sea level) and south-eastern (NW-SE aligned and from 3 to 8 Km below the sea level) sectors of the volcano. To better understand the kinematic processes of the volcano, 3D relocation were used to compute fault plane solutions and a selected dataset was inverted to determine stress and strain tensors. The focal solutions on the north-eastern sector show clear left-lateral kinematics along an E-W fault plane, in good agreement with the Pernicana fault kinematics. Focal solutions on the south-eastern sector show a main left-lateral kinematics along a NW-SE fault plane evidencing a roughly E-W oriented compression coupled with a N-S extension. Surface ground deformation affecting Mt Etna and measured by GPS surveys highlights a marked inflation during the same period, mainly visible on the western and upper sectors of the volcano; on the contrary, its eastern side shows an exceptionally strong seawards and downwards motion with displacements ranging from 5 up to 10 cm along the coastline. The 2D geodetic strain tensor distribution was calculated on a 1.5 km spaced grid, in order to detail the strain axes orientation above the entire GPS network. The results of the 2D geodetic strain calculation evidenced the very strong extension (mainly along an- ENE-WSW axis) of the summit area that was already considered as the cause of the 2004-2005 eruption; this main ENE-WSW extension continues throughout the eastern flank, but here coupled with a WNW-ESE contraction, meaning a right-lateral shear along a NW-SE oriented fault plane. The opposite deformation of the eastern sector of the volcano, as measured by seismicity and ground deformation has to be interpreted by considering the different depths of the two signals. Seismic activity along the NW-SE alignment is, in fact, located between 3 and 8 km b.s.l. and it is then affected by the very strong additional E-W compression induced by the inflating source located by inverting GPS data just westwards and at the same depth. Ground deformation measured by GPS at the surface, on the contrary, is mainly affected by the shallower dynamics of the eastern flank, fastly moving towards East that produces an opposite (extension) E-W strain. It is also meaningful, confirming the decoupling between the surface and deep strain, that all the seismicity of the south-eastern sector lies beneath the sliding plane already modeled by geodetic data for the same time interval and for the 2004-2006 period and also beneath the deeper one previously modeled during the 1993-1998 period when the eastern flank velocity was much slower.
Alparone, S.; Barberi, G.; Bonforte, A.; Maiolino, V.; Ursino, A.
An increasing body of evidence on the association between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and healthy status is being accumulated. Floral buds of Capparis spinosa L. are commonly used in the Mediterranean cuisine as flavoring for meat and other foods. The present study evaluated bioactive components and antioxidant activity of Sicilian capers stabilized in salt. Whereas alpha-tocopherol was absent, low levels of gamma-tocopherol and vitamin C were measured. With reference to one serving size (8.6 g of capers), rutin was 13.76 mg, isothiocyanates, recently acknowledged as anticarcinogen phytochemicals, were 42.14 micromol, total phenols were 4.19 mg of gallic acid equivalents (GAE), and the total antioxidant potential measured using the [2,2'-azinobis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid)] diammonium salt (ABTS) cation radical decolorization assay was 25.8 micromol of Trolox equivalents. The antioxidative activity of a caper hydrophilic extract was assessed in a number of assays. The extract at 3.5 and 7.0 microM GAE exhibited a dose-dependent peroxyl radical scavenging activity in a methyl linoleate methanol solution oxidized by azo initiator, and reduced hypervalent iron myoglobin species formed from met-Mb an H 2O 2, at 180 microM GAE. The hydrophilic extract, at 70-280 microM GAE, caused a dose-dependent inhibition of lipid autoxidation in heated red meat, incubated with simulated gastric fluid for 180 min. In the same model rutin tested at a concentration corresponding to its content in the extract was ineffective, and alpha-tocopherol at 25 microM was poorly effective. The hydrophilic extract (70 microM GAE) prevented the consumption of the co-incubated alpha-tocopherol, whereas lipid oxidation was inhibited for the experimental time, suggesting cooperative interactions between extract components and the vitamin. The findings encourage the use of caper with foods that contribute oxidizable lipids in view of the association between dietary oxidized lipids and risk of oxidative stress-based diseases. PMID:17887802
Tesoriere, L; Butera, D; Gentile, C; Livrea, M A
Rocks of trondhjemitic composition are widespread in the North-Eastern Peloritani Belt within the Aspromonte Unit, a Hercynian medium- to high-grade metamorphic complex intruded by late-Hercynian peraluminous granites and later affected by MP/LT Alpine metamorphism. Among these trondhjemitic bodies, the Pizzo Bottino trondhjemites form one of the largest, outcropping over about 6 km2 and up to 400 m thick. These rocks display concordant to discordant relationships with associated metamorphic rocks and are often cut by late-Hercynian leucogranitic dykes. The field, petrographic and geochemical features of these trondhjemites are consistent with an igneous origin. Petrographic and geochemical evidences suggest that the trondhjemitic character of the Pizzo Bottino rocks is due to an alkali metasomatism process involving cationic exchange of Na and Ca for K and consequent replacement of K-feldspar by oligoclase in the original granitoids. The major and trace element contents of the Pizzo Bottino trondhjemites are in fact comparable to those of the peraluminous late-Hercynian granitoids from the southern Calabrian-Peloritani Arc (CPA), when the elements directly involved in the alkali metasomatism process (Na, Ca, K, Sr, Ba, Rb) are not considered. The behaviour of REE elements, plus Th and U, also seems to be partially controlled by metasomatic processes, because their abundances vary with the K/Na ratio. Metasomatism seems to be the only viable mechanism involved in the genesis of the Pizzo Bottino trondhjemites. Other trondhjemite generation processes such as fractionation from basaltic parents and partial melting of metabasaltic or metasedimentary sources are ruled out on geological, petrographic and isotopic (Sr, Nd) grounds. Lastly, regional considerations place the metasomatic event during the late Hercynian, after the emplacement of the original granitoids and preceding the intrusion of the leucogranitic dykes, which are not affected by metasomatism.
Fiannacca, P.; Brotzu, P.; Cirrincione, R.; Mazzoleni, P.; Pezzino, A.
Summary Rocks of trondhjemitic composition are widespread in the North-Eastern Peloritani Belt within the Aspromonte Unit, a Hercynian medium- to high-grade metamorphic complex intruded by late-Hercynian peraluminous granites and later affected by MP\\/LT Alpine metamorphism. Among these trondhjemitic bodies, the Pizzo Bottino trondhjemites form one of the largest, outcropping over about 6?km2 and up to 400?m thick. These rocks display
P. Fiannacca; P. Brotzu; R. Cirrincione; P. Mazzoleni; A. Pezzino
Volcanic activity can inject large quantities of gases and aerosols into the atmosphere both during and between eruptions, creating a health risk for the local population. The paper describes how the volcanic gas concentration in the air can be computed by a flow model simulating the wind field over a digital terrain model of the volcano coupled with a Lagrangian
Maria Teresa Pareschi; Maria Ranci; Mariano Valenza; Giovanni Graziani
In arid and semiarid regions the reclamation and reuse of municipal wastewater can play a strategic role in alleviating water resources shortages. Public awareness is growing about the need to recycle and reuse water for increasing supply availability. Many wastewater reuse projects have been put in operation in European and Mediterranean countries adopting extensive treatment systems such as aquifer recharge,
S. Barbagallo; F. Brissaud; G. L. Cirelli; S. Consoli; P. Xu
A reverse line blot hybridisation (RLB) of 21 oligonucleotides with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplified regions of 16S rRNA (Ehrlichia/Anaplasma group) or 18S rRNA (Babesia/Theileria group) genes of haemoparasites detected Theileria annulata, T. buffeli/orientalis, Babesia bovis, B. bigemina, B. divergens, Ehrlichia bovis, Anaplasma marginale, A. centrale and unknown species within the Rickettsia tribe.A very high prevalence of mixed infections was detected, which indicated that animals infected with Babesia spp. were also infected with Theileria spp. and/or Anaplasma spp. The tick distribution appeared to be seasonal with Hyalomma marginatum as the most frequently observed tick and Boophilus annulatus and Ixodes ricinus as the least frequently observed ticks. Other species identified in the 818 ticks collected during the five sampling periods between April 1998 and November 1999 included H. lusitanicum, Rhipicephalus sanguineus group, R. bursa, Dermacentor marginatus, Haemaphysalis punctata, B. annulatus and I. ricinus. PMID:11511414
Georges, K; Loria, G R; Riili, S; Greco, A; Caracappa, S; Jongejan, F; Sparagano, O
The pattern of volcanic tremor accompanying the 1989 September eruption at the south-east summit crater of Mount Etna is studied. In specific, sixteen episodes of lava fountaining, which occurred in the first phase of the eruption, are analysed. Their periodic behaviour, also evidenced by autocorrelation, allows us to define the related tremor amplitude increases as intermittent volcanic tremor episodes. Focusing
E. Privitera; T Sgroi; S Gresta
An investigation was undertaken at St. Agata la Vetere church in Catania, dating back to 333 D.C, in order to obtain essential information for the planned restoration works. In fact, the 1693 earthquake totally destroyed both the church and the adjoining monastery, which when rebuilt changed their original appearance enormously. As a preliminary step, a mineralogic petrographic characterization of the
G. Barone; C. Branca; S. Gresta; S. Imposa; A. Leone; D. Majolino
Changes in Coulomb failure stress (?CFS) induced by dike propagation during two flank eruptions on Mt. Etna (1981 and 2001) are calculated for the most seismically active faults on the east slope of the volcano (the right-lateral Timpe fault system, oriented NNW-SSE, and the left-lateral Pernicana fault, oriented E-W). Calculations performed using Coulomb 2.5 software indicate that intrusion of a
Stefano Gresta; Francesca Ghisetti; Eugenio Privitera; Amalia Bonanno
Changes in Coulomb failure stress (DeltaCFS) induced by dike propagation during two flank eruptions on Mt. Etna (1981 and 2001) are calculated for the most seismically active faults on the east slope of the volcano (the right-lateral Timpe fault system, oriented NNW-SSE, and the left-lateral Pernicana fault, oriented E-W). Calculations performed using Coulomb 2.5 software indicate that intrusion of a
Stefano Gresta; Francesca Ghisetti; Eugenio Privitera; Amalia Bonanno
We analysed earthquakes at Mt. Etna for the period 1983–1991 using a method that weights uncertainties in hypocentral location. Three-dimensional distributions of ‘hypocentral probability’ and ‘energy density’ were studied, and two first-order volcano-tectonic structures identified. The first, on the northern and western sides, is roughly NE–SW oriented, and strongly marks the northernmost limit of earthquake occurrences in the volcano region;
Stefano Gresta; Laura Peruzza; Dario Slejko; Giovanni Distefano
The eruptive events of the July–August 2001 and October 2002–January 2003 at Mt. Etna provide new insights for reconstructing the complex geometry of the feeding system and their relationship to regional tectonics. The 2001 eruption took place mainly on the upper southern sector of the volcano. The eruption was preceded by a large earthquake swarm for a few days before
Carmelo Monaco; Stefano Catalano; Ornella Cocina; Giorgio De Guidi; Carmelo Ferlito; Stefano Gresta; Carla Musumeci; Luigi Tortorici
Three hundred samples of Mytilus galloprovincialis were collected from five stations (north, south, east, west and centre) of Lake Faro to evaluate the concentrations of organochlorine compounds and heavy metals. Quantitative determinations of organochlorine pesticides and PCBs were made by GC-ECD and confirmed with GC-MS. Concentrations of “essential” (Cu, Se and Zn) and “toxic” (As, Cd, Hg and Pb) metals
P Licata; D Trombetta; M Cristani; D Martino; F Naccari
The condition of landscapes and the ecological communities within them is strongly related to levels of human activity. As a consequence, determining status and trends in the pattern of human-dominated landscapes can be useful for understanding the overall conditions of geo-ecological resources. Ecological geological maps are recent tools providing useful informations about a-biotic and biotic features worldwide. These maps represents
Fabrizio Nigro; Giuseppe Arisco; Marcella Perricone; Pietro Renda; Rocco Favara
Occult hepatitis B virus (OBI) in HIV-infected groups is still debated, as well as the associated risk-factors and clinical significance. In this paper, we examined a total of 405 HBsAg-negative/HIV-infected patients enrolled from January 2007 to December 2009. Overall, the prevalence of OBI was 5.9% (95% confidence interval (CI95%): 3.8–8.7%); it was more frequently associated with “anti-HBc alone” serological marker (11.3%; adjusted odds ratio = 3.7, CI95%: 1.4–9.8), although it was also detected in the absence of any HBV serological marker (4.9%; CI95%: 2.3–9.1%). A low prevalence of anti-HCV-positive patients with OBI was found (3.1%; CI95%: 0.6–8.7%). HIV RNA plasma levels or other immunological/clinical characteristics were not significantly associated with OBI. All but one occult HBV infections were sustained by genotype D viral strains. OBI is relatively frequent in HIV-infected patients, although it does not seem to exert a relevant clinical impact. Viral genotypes in occult HBV infections reflect those circulating in the Mediterranean area.
Maida, Carmelo Massimo; Colomba, Giuseppina M. E.; Di Carlo, Paola
Occult hepatitis B virus (OBI) in HIV-infected groups is still debated, as well as the associated risk-factors and clinical significance. In this paper, we examined a total of 405 HBsAg-negative/HIV-infected patients enrolled from January 2007 to December 2009. Overall, the prevalence of OBI was 5.9% (95% confidence interval (CI(??%): 3.8-8.7%); it was more frequently associated with "anti-HBc alone" serological marker (11.3%; adjusted odds ratio = 3.7, CI(??%): 1.4-9.8), although it was also detected in the absence of any HBV serological marker (4.9%; CI(??%): 2.3-9.1%). A low prevalence of anti-HCV-positive patients with OBI was found (3.1%; CI(??%): 0.6-8.7%). HIV RNA plasma levels or other immunological/clinical characteristics were not significantly associated with OBI. All but one occult HBV infections were sustained by genotype D viral strains. OBI is relatively frequent in HIV-infected patients, although it does not seem to exert a relevant clinical impact. Viral genotypes in occult HBV infections reflect those circulating in the Mediterranean area. PMID:24063015
Tramuto, Fabio; Maida, Carmelo Massimo; Colomba, Giuseppina M E; Di Carlo, Paola; Vitale, Francesco
Eight samples of road dust were collected from three different localities (industrial, urban, peripheral) of the town of Gela (Italy) to characterize their chemical composition and to assess (a) the influence of the petrochemical plant and the urban traffic on the trace element content in different grain-size fractions of street dust and (b) the solid-phase speciation of the analysed metal
Emanuela Manno; Daniela Varrica; Gaetano Dongarrà
Repeating volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquakes, taking place at Mt. Etna during 1999-2009, were detected and analyzed to investigate their behavior. We found 735 families amounting to 2479 VT earthquakes, representing ~38% of all the analyzed VT earthquakes. Over 70% of the families comprise 2 or 3 VT earthquakes and only 20 families by more than 10 events. More than half of the families have a lifetime shorter than 0.5 day and only ~10% longer than 1 year. On the basis of these results, most of the detected families were considered 'burst-type', i.e., show swarm-like occurrence, and hence their origin cannot be explained by a temporally constant tectonic loading. Indeed, since the analyzed earthquakes take place in a volcanic area, the rocks are affected not only by tectonic stresses related to the fairly steady regional stress field but also by local stresses, caused by the volcano, such as magma batch intrusions/movements and gravitational loading. We focused on five groups of families characterized by the best repeatability over time, namely high number of events and long lifetime, located in the north-eastern, eastern and southern flanks of the volcano. Unlike the first four groups, which similarly to most of the detected families show swarm-like VT occurrences, group 'v', located in the north-eastern sector, exhibits a more 'tectonic' behavior with the events making up such a group spread over almost the entire analyzed period. It is clear how both occurrence and slip rates do not remain constant but vary over time, and such changes are time-related to the occurrence of the 2002-2003 eruption. We searched for waveform variations in VT earthquakes belonging to the group 'v' and found changes that took place mainly in the 2002-2003 period. These consisted in a decreasing similarity of the late seismogram windows, highlighted by cross correlation analysis, as well as in delays, increasing proportionally to lapse time, detected by coda wave interferometry. Such variations, mainly evident at the stations located in the north-eastern flank of volcano, were likely due to medium changes taking place in this region. In particular, medium velocity decreases were inferred to occur in 2002-2003, followed by successive increases. The velocity decrease was interpreted as being caused by the opening or enlargement of cracks, produced by intruding magma bodies, ground intense deformation and/or VT earthquake activity, accompanying the 2002-2003 Mt. Etna eruption. On the other hand, the subsequent velocity increases were interpreted as resulting from healing processes.
Cannata, Andrea; Alparone, Salvatore; Ursino, Andrea
Major and trace element concentrations were determined in two lichen species (Parmelia conspersa and Xanthoria calcicola) from the island of Vulcano and all around Mt. Etna. In both areas, the average concentrations of Al, Ca, Mg, Fe, Na, K, P and Ti are substantially greater than those of other elements. Several elements (Br, Pb, Sb, Au, Zn, Cu) resulted enriched with respect to the local substrates. The Br and Pb enrichment factors turned out to be the highest among those calculated in both areas. Data indicate that mixing between volcanic and automotive-produced particles clearly explains the range of Pb/Br shown by lichen samples. Sb is also enriched, revealing a geogenic origin at Vulcano and a prevailing anthropic origin at Mt. Etna. Distribution maps of the enrichment factors show a generalized enrichment of Au and Zn near Mt. Etna, whereas Cu appears to be enriched prevalently in the NE-SE area. The highest levels of Au and Cu at Vulcano occur E-SE from the craters, following the prevailing wind direction. PMID:15092945
Varrica, D; Aiuppa, A; Dongarrà, G
In this paper, in an attempt to reveal possible changes connected to natural or anthropogenic causes, the main results of hydrogeochemical monitoring carried out at Mount Etna are evaluated. We report on the salinity contents of the groundwaters that flow in fractured volcanics, which make up the flanks of the volcano. These waters, analyzed for major ion chemistry, were sampled regularly from 1994 to 2004. Basing on nonparametric Sen's slope estimator, time series of groundwater composition reveal that the salinity of most of the Etnean aquifers increased by 0.5% to 3.5% each year during this period. This change in the water chemistry is clearly referable to the overexploitation of the aquifers. This increasing trend needs to be inverted urgently; otherwise, it will cause a shortage of water in the near future, because the maximum admissible concentration of salinity for drinking water will be exceeded. PMID:20198508
D'Alessandro, Walter; Bellomo, Sergio; Bonfanti, Pietro; Brusca, Lorenzo; Longo, Manfredi
Wide variations were measured in the diffuse CO2 flux through the soils in three selected areas of Mt Etna between August 1989 and March 1993. Degassing of CO2 from the area of Zafferana Etnea-S. Venerina, on the eastern slope of the volcano, has been determined to be more strongly influenced by meteorological parameters than the other areas. The seasonal component
Salvatore Giammanco; Sergio Gurrieri; Mariano Valenza
At Pantelleria, peralkaline silicic magmas were erupted across a range of eruptive typologies and magnitudes: pyroclastic flows, Plinian to strombolian pumice fallout and lava flows. In this paper we focus on the intermediate cycle of eruptive activity which is bracketed by ignimbrite units slightly older than the two caldera collapses which marked the volcanological activity of the island. This age interval (180-85 ka) was punctuated by six ignimbrite-forming eruptions (silicic and variably peralkaline) for a cumulative erupted magma volume of approximately 6 km3 dense rock equivalent. Based on new 40Ar/39Ar (Na,K)-feldspar ages and petrographic data, we propose an updated volcanostratigraphic scheme for these welded and rheomorphic ignimbrites that can be summarised as follows: (i) the age of the old ('La Vecchia') caldera collapse is now tightly constrained between 140 and 146 ka and the caldera-forming eruption can be traced to a lithic-rich welded tuff breccia that outcrops in two opposite sectors of the island (south-west and north-east); (ii) four ignimbrite units previously considered unrelated are now merged in two distinct eruptive paroxysmal events at 107 and 85 ka. In particular, the 85 ka eruptive event is comparable in magnitude to the younger (caldera forming) Green Tuff Plinian eruption; (iii) the recurrence patterns of the 107 and 85 ka eruptions, compared to the Green Tuff, allow us to qualitatively assess that the climax in production of low-temperature silicic and peralkaline melt was focused in the age interval 85-45 ka.
Rotolo, Silvio G.; Scaillet, Stephane; La Felice, Sonia; Vita-Scaillet, Grazia
The Niscemi slide occurred on 12.10.1997 at the end of a dry season, and two days after very heavy rainfall (218 mm). This movement remobilised an ancient landslide, historically documented on 19.3.1791, with the same kinematic features but with less steps. The mass consists mainly of overconsolidated clays, sometimes overlapped with sands. Seismic reflection, partly carried out by AGIP, has allowed isopach recon- struction of the postorogenic-sedimentary cover (Gela nappe). This deep geological structure seems to control the slide shape with back-thrusts and discontinuities, usu- ally present in a geological medium, that behave as natural barriers against tectonic stresses. In geotechnics, we can say also that from a brittle stress-strain behaviour, it is possible to pass on to a ductile one, following phenomenons of hardening. The subse- quent formation of zones with different shape and thickness of materials in the plastic state is responsible for the upsetting of superficial masses, that does not lead to the usual wedge shaped slide as an accumulation zone. Finally, further superficial move- ments might be stimulated by exceptional rainy events, able to give an high hydrostatic pressure along main trenches and to modify the efficacy of mobilizing friction
Rizzo, V.; Toni, G.; Fragale, F.; Rijillo, R.
Three hundred samples of Mytilus galloprovincialis were collected from five stations (north, south, east, west and centre) of Lake Faro to evaluate the concentrations of organochlorine compounds and heavy metals. Quantitative determinations of organochlorine pesticides and PCBs were made by GC-ECD and confirmed with GC-MS. Concentrations of "essential" (Cu, Se and Zn) and "toxic" (As, Cd, Hg and Pb) metals were determined by an atomic absorption spectrophotometer. The results obtained show the low residue levels of p,p'-DDE in six samples of M. galloprovincialis from southern (7.00-11.00 ng/g w.w. and 148.3-275 ng/g l.w.) and western (7.60-15.37 ng/g w.w. and 126.7-256.2 ng/g l.w.) areas of Lake Faro. No appreciable residues of PCBs were found in any of the samples examined. Zn concentrations (range 11.0-18.5 microg/g w.w.) were higher than Cu (range 188.3-396.0 ng/g w.w.) and Se (range 93.5-288.9 ng/g w.w.) in all areas of origin. Cd (range 41.9-63.8 ng/g w.w.), Pb (range 64.8-93.0 ng/g w.w.) and Hg levels (range 5.7-13.1 ng/g w.w.) showed lower concentrations than permitted MRLs. The As levels were below detection limits for the all mussel samples. In conclusion, the absence of PCBs, the low levels of p,p'-DDE, the concentrations of Cd, Hg and Pb below permitted MRLs in M. galloprovincialis, used as a "biological indicator", show that Lake Faro is not at contamination risk from these contaminants and moreover is free from health problems for the consumer of mussel products. PMID:15120199
Licata, P; Trombetta, D; Cristani, M; Martino, D; Naccari, F
A combined geochronologic (KAr) and palaeomagnetic study has been conducted on five volcanic sections (70 flows) on the island of Vulcano. The sections span the interval from 15 ± 2 to 135 ± 4 ka, with large hiatuses. Rock magnetic investigations indicate that the natural remanent magnetisation (NRM) is carried by titanomagnetites in the four oldest sections, with a contribution
Carlo Laj; Asmae Raïs; Jérôme Surmont; Pierre-Yves Gillot; Hervé Guillou; Catherine Kissel; Elena Zanella
This paper summarises: the characteristics of eruptions that occurred between 1792/3 and 1923; the ways in which human responses evolved during the period and the lessons this history holds for the management of present-day volcanic and volcano-related disasters. People responded to eruptions at three levels: as members of a family and extended family; through the mutual support of a village or larger settlement and as citizens of the State. During the study period and with the exception of limited financial aid and preservation of law and order, the State was a minor player in responding to eruptions. Families and extended families provided shelter, accommodation and often alternative agricultural employment; whilst supportive villages communities displayed a well developed tendency to learn from experience (e.g. innovating techniques to bring land back into cultivation and avoiding the risks of phreatic activity as lava encountered water and saturated ground) and providing labour to enable household chattels and agricultural crops to be salvaged from land threatened with lava incursion. Eruptions were widely believed to be 'Acts of God', with divine punishment frequently being invoked as a primary cause of human suffering. Elaborate rituals of propitiation were performed to appease a supposed angry God, but this world-view did not produce a fatalistic attitude amongst the population preventing people from coping with disasters in a generally effective manner. Despite present day emergencies being handled by the State and its agencies, some features of nineteenth century responses remain in evidence, including salvaging all that may be easily removed from a building and/or agricultural holding, and explanations of disaster which are theistic in character. Lessons from eruptions that occurred between 1792/3 to 1923 are that the former should be encouraged, whilst the latter does not prevent people acting to preserve life and property or obeying the authorities. Earthquakes are one category of hazard that caused major damage during, or associated with, several historic eruptions especially those of 1865, 1883 and 1911. This study highlights the vulnerability of the Etna region to this hazard which remains largely un-ameliorated. Attempts to divert lava flows occurred during the 1832, 1879 and 1923 eruptions.
Chester, David K.; Duncan, Angus M.; Sangster, Heather
An unusually jagged dissolution surface, capped by a thick Fe-Mn crust is well exposed in small quarry-cuts of the Jurassic of Monte Kumeta. It was formed on a crinoidal limestone substrate of Pliensbachian age, and is covered by Upper Bajocian Ammonitico Rosso-type sediments, all cross-cut by several generations of neptunian dykes. This peculiar surface is more or less coeval with hardgrounds, Fe-Mn-capped dissolution surfaces and associated neptunian dykes described from other localities of the Western Tethys and currently subject to fierce debates as to their purely submarine (or perhaps partly subaerial) origin. The major goal of this paper is to add new arguments to this debate by revealing the finest details of field relationships at a site particularly adapted to the study of this phenomenon. Field observations are supported by petrography and, to a lesser extent, by geochemistry. Results are as follows: (i) vertical dissolution grooves, pointing to dissolution by gravitationally controlled waters, were detected on the sides of several micro-topographic highs; (ii) extensive intergranular dissolution (predating the formation of the Fe-Mn crust) was proved in the substrate both on the micro- and meso-scale; (iii) intense (micro)bio-erosion and local phosphate enrichment were detected immediately underneath the crust; (iv) a Toarcian fauna was identified from the hollows of the irregular surface; (v) synsedimentary faults and fractures clearly predating the major Fe-Mn-encrusted surface were observed, and (vi) a meso-scale synsedimentary growth structure, post dating the Fe-Mn crust, which controlled the Liassic depositional environment of Monte Kumeta is documented. Our conclusion is that the studied surface records at least three separate events of dissolution and precipitation/sedimentation each having either erased or overprinted the effects of the previous one and therefore not permitting the exact reconstruction of all the details of the complex story. To form the irregular surface, in addition to a transient phase of subaerial exposure, a complex history of bio-erosion and submarine dissolution by fluids of widely different chemical composition is proposed. To permit the mixing of sea-water with fault-controlled waters of higher temperature and with groundwaters introduced by deep circulation, a scenario of down-faulted blocks and an adjoining, distant subaerially exposed region is invoked. Such a region provided the hydraulic drive for the postulated circulation. The ultimate cause for the unusual phenomena under scrutiny was the combined effect of tectonics (the local manifestation of Early Liassic rifting in the Western Tethys) and the well-known Pliensbachian-Toarcian sea level-rise.
Di Stefano, P.; Mindszenty, A.
Mount Etna volcano is often characterized by bilateral eruptive events, involving both the south (S) and the north east (NE) rifts. The last event occurred in 2002-2003 from October 27 to January 28. A detailed, stratigraphically time-controlled sampling of lavas and tephra of the southern eruptive fissure was performed in order to (1) track the petrological features of products during the eruption and (2) integrate the results with those previously obtained on the NE rift. Whole-rock composition and textural observations were implemented by major and minor element analyses of plagioclases in lavas and tephra from both sides of the volcano. Fractionation models constrained by mass balance (major and trace elements) and Rayleigh calculations suggest that magmas are linked by the same liquid line of descent by fractionating 9.11 % of a mineral assemblage of Cpx (52.69 %), Plg (21.41), and Ol (7.46 %). These new data allowed us to identify at least two feeding episodes through the southern fissure and infer that high-K2O porphyritic magmas, emitted on both the S and NE rifts, derives by fractionation from the same parent magma. However, lavas and tephra from the southern flank were slightly more primitive. Textural and petrological study of plagioclase moreover indicates that chemical-physical conditions in the deep feeding system were similar for magmas erupting from both rifts as suggested by the presence of dissolved rounded cores in both lavas. Magmas evolved differently on the S and the NE rifts only at shallow levels. Comparison with published seismotectonic data supports the idea that the main magma feeding the eruption on October 27 ascended along the same pathway at depth and was intercepted by the fracture system of the S and NE rifts at shallow depth, between 6 and 3 km b.s.l.
Giacomoni, P. P.; Ferlito, C.; Alesci, G.; Coltorti, M.; Monaco, C.; Viccaro, M.; Cristofolini, R.
We carried out a study of the seismicity and ground deformation occurring on Mt. Etna volcano after the end of the 2002-2003 eruption and before the onset of the 2004-2005 eruption. Data were recorded by the permanent local seismic network run by Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - Sezione di Catania and by geodetic surveys carried out in July 2003 and July 2004 on the GPS network. Most earthquakes were grouped in two main clusters located in the northeastern and southeastern sectors of the volcano. The areal distribution of seismic energy associated with the recorded earthquakes allowed us to highlight the main seismogenic areas of Mt. Etna. In order to better understand the kinematic processes of the volcano, 3D seismic locations were used to compute fault plane solutions, and a selected dataset was inverted to determine stress and strain tensors. The focal mechanisms in the northeastern sector show clear left-lateral kinematics along an E-W fault plane, consistent with events occurring along the Pernicana Fault system. The fault plane solutions in the southeastern sector show mainly right-lateral kinematics along a NNE and ENE fault plane and left lateral-kinematics along NW fault planes that together suggest roughly E-W oriented compression. Surface ground deformation affecting Mt. Etna measured by GPS surveys highlighted a marked inflation during the same period and exceptionally strong seawards motion of its eastern flank. The 2D geodetic strain tensor distribution was calculated and the results show mainly ENE-WSW extension coupled with WNW-ESE contraction, indicating right-lateral shear along a NW-SE oriented fault plane. The different deformation of the eastern sector of the volcano, as measured by seismicity and ground deformation, must be interpreted by considering the different depths of the two signals. Seismic activity in the southeastern sector of volcano is located between 3 and 8 km b.s.l. and can be associated with a very strong additional E-W compression induced by a pressurizing source just westwards and at the same depth, located by inverting GPS data. Ground deformation, in contrast, is mainly affected by the shallower dynamics of the fast moving eastern flank which produces a shallower opposing E-W extension. The entire dataset shows that two different processes affect the eastern flank at the same time but at different depths; the boundary is clearly located at a depth of 3 km b.s.l. and could represent the décollement surface for the mobile flank.
Alparone, Salvatore; Barberi, Graziella; Bonforte, Alessandro; Maiolino, Vincenza; Ursino, Andrea
Geophysical, volcanological, geochemical and petrologic studies performed during last decades, greatly improved the knowledge of Mt. Etna’s plumbing system. In particular the petrologic data have shown that Etnean magmas differentiate for the interplay of complex processes such as crystal fractionation, mixing, interaction with crustal and mantle-derived fluids. Here we investigate the dynamics of magma residing during the last years in the shallow portion of Mt. Etna plumbing system (less than 5 km b.s.l.), which has been erupted by the summit South East Crater (SEC) in 2007 and 2008 and during the flank eruption from 13 May 2008 to 6 July 2009. The volcanic activity in the selected period showed different eruptive styles such as lava effusion, Strombolian explosions and/or fire-fountains. Petrography, mineral chemistry, major, trace elements, Sr/Nd isotopes have been acquired for products erupted from 2007 to 2009, allowing to identify the main magmatic processes modifying magma composition during its storage in the shallow plumbing system and controlling the eruptive styles. Our results highlight that the variable composition of magma erupted by SEC during the several fire fountains from 2007 to 2008, can be mainly explained with a crystal fractionation in the shallow plumbing system. This process is sporadically associated with the input of a more primitive magma from depth that mixes with the one already stored and is erupted during the fire fountains of 29 March and 4 September 2007. The other SEC paroxysms which are not strictly associated with the arrival of a more primitive magma, seem to be driven by the dynamic of a bubble-melt mixture in the SEC reservoir. The flank eruption starting on 13 May 2008 from a fissure at about 2800 m a.s.l, occurs just a few days after the SEC fire fountain of 10 May 2008. The products erupted during the first days of the flank eruption are very similar to tephra of 10 May SEC paroxysm, suggesting that the eruption initially drained the same reservoir feeding SEC activity. Conversely, starting from the end of May up to the end of June, the emission of a clearly more primitive magma evidences that the eruption is then sustained by the arrival of a different magma from depth, without any significant change of eruptive styles which maintains essentially effusive. In the following months up to the end of the eruption, no evidence of new magma inputs from depth exists and the differentiation of magma is mainly controlled by crystal fractionation. Why the long lasting 2008-09 Mt. Etna flank eruption started from a fissure located very close to the SEC crater, why it occurred just two days after the 10 May SEC paroxysm and, at the onset, poured out the same magma of 10 May fire fountain, is at present object of debate. The petrologic data evidence a link between the magma erupted during 10 May 2008 paroxysm and 2008-09 flank eruption, even if the eruptive styles of the two events are completely different. We will discuss too if a relationship between 10 May SEC paroxysm and 2008-09 flank eruption exists by integrating our petrologic data with information arising from geophysical monitoring of Mt. Etna volcano.
Corsaro, R.; Miraglia, L.
Zusammenfassung Die Aufsammlung und Untersuchung plio-pleistozäner und oberkretazischer Basalte in SE-Sizilien ergab die folgende paläomagnetische InformationUnter der Annahme einer inversen kretazischen Feld-Richtung überlappt der Konfidenzkreis des virtuellen Pols den kretazischen magnetischen Pol für Afrika, der vonMcElhinny et al. an den Gesteinen des Mlanje Syenites bestimmt wurde.Wenn SE-Sizilien zur Zeit der Extrusion dieser oberkretazischen Laven an Afrika angeheftet war, dann besagt dieses
C. B. Gregor; Alan E. M. Nairn; Joerg F. W. Negendank
We report on a comprehensive study of major-ion chemistry, dissolved gases, and stable isotopes measured in water wells at Vulcano Island since 1988. Particularly, we focus on chemical and hydrological modifications of groundwaters observed in the last two decades, interpreted according to a quantitative model describing steam condensation and boiling phenomena in shallow water bodies (Federico et al., 2010). According to this model, we infer that (i) strong isotope enrichment observed in some shallow thermal waters can result from an increasing mass rate of condensing deep vapor, even in water being meteoric in origin; (ii) the high pCO2 measured in the coldest and peripheral waters are explained by the progressive CO2 enrichment in the vapor phase during multistep boiling; and (iii) the high Cl- and SO4-- contents in the hottest waters can be attributed to the direct condensation (single-step) of volcanic vapor. The model also takes into account both the mass fluxes and the compositions of the involved endmembers (steam and shallow groundwater), which provides important inferences on the modifications observed during the periods of increasing mass and heat input from depth occurred at Vulcano Island. The volcanic crisis that occurred in 1988-1993 profoundly affected the composition of some thermal wells that were more-directly affected by ascending vapour. In particular, higher Cl-, SO4--, and HCO3- contents, temperature, and pCO2 values were measured. These variations are all explained by a different composition of the vapor entering the aquifer paralleled by a higher mass rate relative to the shallow meteoric endmember. Minor effects on the shallow thermal aquifer are observed during the following periods of increasing heat and mass flux from depth, mostly recorded in the crater area. This implies that the shallow thermal aquifer is affected by magmatic fluids ascending along central conduits only when there is a significant increase in the heat and mass fluxes from depth, which are able to vaporize the deep hydrothermal aquifer and modify the chemical and isotopic compositions of a larger portion of the volcanic edifice. Otherwise, the shallow thermal aquifer is chiefly affected by the vapor separating from the 400°C- hydrothermal system and, therefore, by its P-T conditions. On these grounds, once apportioned the effect of rainwater, we tentatively evaluate the effect of variations of physico-chemical conditions of the hydrothermal aquifer on both the water level and the composition of sampled thermal waters.
Capasso, G.; Federico, C.; Madonia, P.; Paonita, A.
Swath-bathymetry, mono-channel and multi-channel seismic reflection records acquired during the last two decades on the northern Sicilian margin have unveiled a dense network of submarine canyons within the depth range of 80-2100 m. The canyons display a relevant variability in their geometry, morphology and sedimentary processes. The margin shows a young, tectonically active shelf to slope setting, linking the Sicilian-Maghrebian Thrust Belt to the Tyrrhenian oceanic realm, developed during the Neogene-Quaternary time span. The aim of this study is to highlight the main governing factors that contributed to the evolution and differentiation of the northern Sicilian canyons, mainly focusing on the Gulf of Palermo and on the Gulf of Castellammare. Tectonic control is more evident in the canyons of the Gulf of Palermo, with submarine landslides retrograding on a steep slope and mainly controlling their evolution. Otherwise, canyons, tributaries and gullies mapped in the Gulf of Castellammare developed on a less steep substrate and display sinuous to meandering paths, with a relevant role of coastal/shelf sedimentary inputs and downslope turbidity processes in their formation. Results suggest that, despite the geographically close proximity of the two study areas, the different structural settings of the Castellammare and Palermo Basins are mainly responsible for canyon variability. Data indicate likely on-going uplift and tilting movements along the Sicilian margin, influencing the development of the studied canyons, which have probably been more active during the Quaternary glacial maxima than they are in the present day.
Lo Iacono, Claudio; Sulli, Attilio; Agate, Mauro
Mt. Etna is an active basaltic volcano where both flank and summit eruptions take place. In particular, the South-East summit crater (SEC) during the last decades has been characterized by 'episodic' eruptions, which consist of recurrent lava fountains associated with lava flows emission, lasting from a few weeks to months. The past recent volcanic activity has shown that, if a transition from an episodic summit eruption to a flank eruption occurred, it generally took place while the last paroxysm of the episodic eruption was still underway. Differently, the 2007-08 episodic eruption at SEC was followed by the 2008-09 flank activity which started three days after the conclusion of the last paroxysm, in coincidence with the strong earthquake (M= 7.9) in Sichuan (China), whose perturbations have been registered by the monitoring network of Mt. Etna. We then investigated the transition from summit episodic activity at SEC to flank eruption utilizing a petrologic study of the products erupted from 2007 to 2009 integrated with data from the literature. The compositional variability of the products is mainly explainable with a mixing between an evolved magma stored in the SEC reservoir and a more primitive magma which intrudes it. In the studied period the most significant episodes of magma recharge occurred before the onset of the 2007-08 episodic activity and during the 2008-09 flank eruption, more precisely before June 2008. According to previous studies the seven episodes of the 2007-08 eruption at SEC have been interpreted to result from the disruption of a foam layer at the top of the SEC reservoir which was rebuilt before each subsequent episode. The transition from 2007-08 episodic eruption at SEC to the 2008-09 flank activity was essentially triggered by the Sichuan earthquake which caused a variation of dynamic stress. It promoted the volatile exolution, the pressurization of SEC stored magma, and the consequent fracturing of the surrounding rocks where magma intruded to be then erupted during the 2008-09 flank activity.
Corsaro, Rosa Anna; Miraglia, Lucia
In the present study the chemical composition of the essential oils from aerial parts and flowers of Achillea ligustica All., collected in Lipari (Aeolian Islands) was evaluated by GC and GC-MS. (Z)-Chrysanthenyl acetate was the most abundant component of both oils (29.6% in A1 and 27.8% in F1), followed by viridiflorol (16.8% in A1 and 21.6% in F1), bornyl acetate (8.7% in A1 and 11.6% in F1) and 1,8-cineole (7.4% in A1 and 9.3% in F1). A comparison was made of the composition of the different populations studied so far. Futhermore, the free radical scavenging activity of the oil was determined by DPPH and ABTS methods. PMID:24427958
Rouis, Zyed; Maggio, Antonella; Venditti, Alessandro; Bruno, Maurizio; Senatore, Felice
The usefulness of thermal inertia mapping in discriminating geolithological units was investigated using Sardinia and the Gulf of Orosei as test sites. Software designed for LANDSAT data were modified and improved for HCMM tapes. A first attempt was made to compare the geological cross section, the topography, the IR radiance, and the thermal inertia along selected profiles of the test site. Thermal inertia profiles appear smoothed in comparison with the thermal radiance. The lowest apparent thermal inertia (ATI) was found on granitic and basaltic outcrops where their image is of sufficient extent, while ATI is higher on carbonatic and dolomitic or moist deposits. Almost every fault is marked by a jump of ATI, the interval being sometimes of the order of one pixel. This seems to demonstrate the ability of ATI to detect contacts or tectonically disturbed zones with a good resolution. It seems more difficult to measure the differences in ATI between homogeneous materials having different lithology. Ground surveys conducted and a simulation model of diurnal temperatures of rocks having different thermal inertia are discussed.
Cassinis, R.; Lechi, G. (principal investigators); Zilioli, E.; Marini, A.; Brivio, P. A.; Tosi, N.
We studied soil CO2 emissions together with crater SO2 fluxes from Mt Etna during the period July 1997 to March 1999. This period was characterized by high levels of volcanic activity, and ended with the onset of a 10month-long sub-terminal eruption on February 4, 1999. Soil CO2 degassing was measured at two sites (P39 on the lower SW flank of
Nicola Bruno; Tommaso Caltabiano; Salvatore Giammanco; Romolo Romano
In this work, the yeast ecology associated with the spontaneous fermentation of Grillo cultivar grapes from 10 vineyards was analyzed from grape harvest till complete consumption of must sugars. The microbiological investigation started with the plate count onto two culture media to distinguish total yeasts (TY) and presumptive Saccharomyces (PS). Yeasts were randomly isolated and identified by a combined genotypic approach consisting of restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) of 5.8S rRNA gene and 26S rRNA and sequencing of D1/D2 domain of the 26S rRNA gene, which resulted in the recognition of 14 species belonging to 10 genera. The distribution of the yeasts within the vineyards showed some differences in species composition and concentration levels among 2008 and 2009 vintages. Due to the enological relevance, all Saccharomyces cerevisiae isolates were differentiated applying two genotypic tools (interdelta analysis and microsatellite multiplex PCR of polymorphic microsatellite loci) that recognized 51 strains. Based on the low production of H(2)S, acetic acid and foam, ethanol resistance, growth in presence of high concentrations of potassium metabisulphite (KMBS) and CuSO(4) and at low temperatures, 14 strains were selected and used as starter to ferment grape must at 13 °C and 17 °C in presence of 100 mg/L of KMBS. Three strains (CS160, CS165 and CS182) showed optimal technological aptitudes. PMID:22877686
Settanni, Luca; Sannino, Ciro; Francesca, Nicola; Guarcello, Rosa; Moschetti, Giancarlo
In this study copper, nickel, lead, cadmium, arsenic, chromium and vanadium content was measured in the muscles and gills of 24 fishes (Sarda sarda, Sardinella aurita and Lepidopus caudatus) caught in the Strait of Messina, by inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectroscopy with microwave digestion techniques. In general, it was found that arsenic was higher than other analytes in all fish species, particularly its content was much higher in S. aurita than in the other two exemplary species. Lead and cadmium were always detected with values below the legal limits (CE no. 1881/2006 and subsequent modification CE no. 629/2008). PMID:22472136
Lo Turco, Vincenzo; Di Bella, Giuseppa; Furci, Patrizia; Cicero, Nicola; Pollicino, Gianmichele; Dugo, Giacomo
We analyzed major and trace elements, Sr and Nd isotopes in ultramafic xenoliths in Miocenic age Hyblean diatremes, along with noble gases of CO 2-rich fluid inclusions hosted in the same products. The xenoliths consist of peridotites and pyroxenites, which are considered to be derived from the upper mantle. Although the mineral assemblage of peridotites and their whole-rock abundance of major elements (e.g., Al 2O 3 = 0.8-1.5 wt.%, TiO 2 = 0.03-0.08 wt.%) suggest a residual character of the mantle, a moderate enrichment in some incompatible elements (e.g., La N/Yb N = 9-14) highlights the presence of cryptic metasomatic events. In this context a deep silicate liquid is considered the metasomatizing agent, which is consistent with the occurrence of pyroxenites as veins in peridotites. Both the Zr/Nb and 143Nd/ 144Nd ratios of the investigated samples reveal two distinct compositional groups: (1) peridotites with Zr/Nb ? 4 and 143Nd/ 144Nd ? 0.5129, and (2) pyroxenites with Zr/Nb ? 20 and 143Nd/ 144Nd ? 0.5130. The results of noble-gas analyses also highlight the difference between the peridotite and pyroxenite domains. Indeed, the 3He/ 4He and 4He/ 40Ar* ratios measured in the fluid inclusions of peridotites (respectively 7.0-7.4 ± 0.1 Ra and 0.5-8.2, where Ra is the atmospheric 3He/ 4He ratio of 1.38 × 10 - 6 ) were on average lower than those for the pyroxenites (respectively 7.2-7.6 Ra and 0.62-15). This mantle heterogeneity is interpreted as resulting from a mixing between two end-members: (1) a peridotitic layer with 3He/ 4He ? 7 Ra and 4He/ 40Ar* ? 0.4, which is lower than the typical mantle ratio (~ 1-4) probably due to melt extraction events, and (2) metasomatizing mafic silicate melts that gave rise to pyroxenites characterized by 3He/ 4He ? 7.6 Ra, with a variable 4He/ 40Ar* due to degassing processes connected with the ascent of magma at different levels in the peridotite wall rock. The complete geochemical data set also suggests two distinct mantle sources for the xenolithic groups highlighted above: (1) a HIMU (high-?)-type source for the peridotites and (2) a DM (depleted mantle)-type source for the pyroxenites.
Correale, A.; Martelli, M.; Paonita, A.; Rizzo, A.; Brusca, L.; Scribano, V.
Mt. Etna is an active basaltic volcano where both flank and summit eruptions take place. In recent decades, the South-East summit crater (SEC) has in particular been characterized by 'episodic' eruptions, consisting of recurrent lava fountains associated with lava flow emissions and lasting from a few weeks to months. Recent volcanic activity shows that, if there is a transition from an episodic summit eruption to a flank eruption, then this usually takes place while the last paroxysm of the episodic eruption is still underway. By contrast, the 2007–08 episodic eruption at SEC was followed by the 2008–09 flank activity which started three days after the conclusion of the last paroxysm, coinciding with the strong earthquake (M = 7.9) in Sichuan (China), whose perturbations were recorded by the monitoring network of Mt. Etna. We therefore investigated the transition from a summit episodic eruption at SEC to flank activity utilizing a petrologic study of the products erupted from 2007 to 2009, integrated with literature data. The compositional variability of the products may largely be explained by a mixing between an evolved magma stored in the SEC reservoir and a more primitive magma which intrudes it. In the studied period, the most significant episodes of magma recharge occurred before the onset of the 2007–08 episodic eruption and during the 2008–09 flank activity, more precisely before June 2008. According to previous studies, the seven paroxysms of the 2007–08 episodic eruption at SEC have been interpreted as resulting from the disruption of a foam layer at the top of the SEC reservoir which was rebuilt before each subsequent episode. The transition from the 2007–08 episodic eruption at SEC to the 2008–09 flank activity was essentially triggered by the Sichuan earthquake which caused a variation of dynamic stress. It caused the volatile exolution, the pressurization of SEC stored magma, and the consequent fracturing of the surrounding rocks where magma intruded to then be erupted during the 2008–09 flank activity.
Corsaro, Rosa Anna; Miraglia, Lucia
The distribution of rare earth elements and yttrium (REEs+Y) has been investigated in box-core sediments recovered from four stations in the Sicilian coastal zone seawards of Augusta, one of the most industrialized and contaminated areas in the Mediterranean region. Shale-like REE patterns and low Y/Ho ratios (close to the chondritic ratio) suggest a dominant terrigenous (geogenic) source for REE. Slight enrichment of LREE over the HREE is interpreted as due to preferential adsorptive transfer of LREE from seawater to sediment particles. Samples from offshore cores exhibit slightly positive Gd and negative Ce anomalies. It is here hypothesized that main drivers of anthropogenic Gd flux towards the offshore are dredged contaminated materials that, recovered from the Augusta Bay, have been repeatedly discharged offshore. Consistent with the redox-chemistry of Ce, these anomalous sedimentary inputs induce a decrease of O(2) concentration in the sediment, which in turn triggers Ce regeneration. PMID:19735932
Di Leonardo, Rossella; Bellanca, Adriana; Neri, Rodolfo; Tranchida, Giorgio; Mazzola, Salvo
SUMMARY Kaposi sarcoma (KS) may develop because of incompetent immune responses, both nonspecifically and specifically against the KS-associated herpes virus (KSHV). Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 15 classic (non-AIDS) KS cases, 13 KSHV seropositives (without KS), and 15 KSHV-seronegative controls were tested for interferon-? T-cell (Elispot) responses to KSHV-LANA, KSHV-K8.1, and CMV/EBV peptide pools. The forearm and thigh of each participant also was tested for delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) against common recall antigens. Groups were compared with Fisher exact test and multinomial logistic regression to calculate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). KSHV Elispot response was detected in 10 (67%) classic KS cases, 11 (85%) KSHV seropositives (without KS), and 2 (13%) seronegative controls. All 4 cases with KSHV-LANA responses had current KS lesions, whereas 5 of 6 cases with KSHV-K8.1 responses had no lesions (P=0.048). No case responded to both LANA and K8.1. Compared to seronegative controls, risk for classic KS was inversely related to DTH in the thigh (OR 0.71, 95% CI 0.55–0.94, P=0.01), directly associated with DTH in the forearm (OR 1.35, 95% CI 1.02–1.80, P=0.04), and tended to be increased 5-fold per KSHV Elispot response (OR 5.13, 95% CI 0.86–30.77, P=0.07). Compared to KSHV seropositives (without KS), risk for classic KS, was reduced 5-fold (OR 0.20, CI 0.03–0.77, P=0.04) per KSHV response. CMV/EBV Elispot responses were irrelevant. Deficiency of both KSHV-specific and –nonspecific immunity is associated with classic KS. This may clarify why Kaposi sarcoma responds to immune reconstitution.
Amodio, Emanuele; Goedert, James J.; Barozzi, Patrizia; Riva, Giovanni; Firenze, Alberto; Bonura, Filippa; Viviano, Enza; Romano, Nino; Luppi, Mario
The authors have found that image data acquired with NASA's airborne Thermal Infrared Multispectral Scanner (TIMS) can be used to make estimates of the SO[sub 2] content of volcanic plumes. TIMS image data are most applicable to the study of partially transparent SO[sub 2] plumes, such as those released during quiescent periods or nonexplosive eruptions. The estimation procedure is based
Vincent J. Realmuto; Michael J. Abrams; M. Fabrizia Buongiorno; David C. Pieri
Under the framework of the IAEA's Technical Co?operation project RAF7\\/004, international research cruises were carried out in 2004 to assess the distribution of radionuclides and micropollutants in the south?western Mediterranean Sea. Sediments samples had variable concentrations of total aliphatic hydrocarbons and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons ranging from 0.2 to 1.8 µg g and 26.9 to 364.4 ng g, respectively, in the
Nadia Mzoughi; Lassaad Chouba
Reply to comment on the article "Propagation of a lithospheric tear fault (STEP) through the western boundary of the Calabrian accretionary wedge offshore eastern Sicily (Southern Italy)" by Gallais et al., 2013 Tectonophysics
In his Comment, A. Argnani argues that our interpretation of the STEP fault (named STEP-1 fault, in the Comment) is poorly constrained by the seismic data used in Gallais et al. (2013), and he particularly disagrees with our identification north of the Alfeo Seamount. A. Argnani is convinced that the tear fault is expressed by a belt of surface deformation, close to the Malta Escarpment. However, none of the seismic images published by A. Argnani show a crustal scale structure that could be associated with the presence at depth of a lithospheric tear. In that paper we documented the presence of a sub-vertical crustal scale fault, located 50 km east of the Malta Escarpment, with a northward increasing vertical offset (Gallais et al., 2013). The track of this fault towards the north could be extended following the position of the fault "F6", mapped 20 km east of the Malta Escarpment by Nicolich et al. (2000). In fact these authors reported an offset of the crust associated with activity of the fault "F6", suggesting that the lithospheric tear at depth at the edge of the Ionian slab is distinct from the Malta Escarpment.
Gallais, Flora; Graindorge, David; Gutscher, Marc-André
Comment on the article "Propagation of a lithospheric tear fault (STEP) through the western boundary of the Calabrian accretionary wedge offshore eastern Sicily (Southern Italy)" by Gallais et al., 2013 Tectonophysics
The oceanic lithosphere of the Ionian Sea is subducted under the Calabrian Arc, and it has been proposed that the Ionian lithosphere has been torn apart (STEP fault sensu Govers and Wortel, 2005) on its western side, close to the Malta escarpment, a major morphological feature inherited from the Mesozoic palaeogeography. In a recent paper Gallais et al. (Tectonophysics, 2013) have traced a right-lateral strike-slip fault that extends from south of the Alfeo Seamount all the way to the Tyrrhenian Sea. They also argue that the position of the STEP fault is distinct from, and located ca. 50 km east of, the Malta escarpment. Gallais et al. document with some additional details a fault segment that was already reported in the literature and that is located south of the Alfeo Seamount. However, Gallais et al. have little constraints to trace the STEP fault further to the north; in this sector a belt of surface deformation that can be related to the STEP fault has been mapped from a denser grid of seismic profiles, and is located west-ward, close to the Malta escarpment (Argnani and Bonazzi, 2005).
With the advent of annually-resolved polar ice records extending back to 70 ka, marine and continental paleoclimate studies have now matured into a discipline where high-quality age control is essential for putting on an equal pace layer-counted timescale models and Late Quaternary sedimentary records. High-resolution U–Th dating of speleothem records and 40Ar/39Ar dating of globally recorded geomagnetic excursions have recently improved the time calibration of Quaternary archives, reflecting the cross-disciplinary effort made to synchronize the geologic record at the millennial scale. Yet, tie-points with such an absolute age control remain scarce for paleoclimatic time-series extending beyond the radiocarbon timescale, most notably in the marine record. Far-travelled tephra layers recorded both onland and offshore provide an alternative in such instance to synchronize continental and marine archives via high-resolution 40Ar/39Ar dating of the parent volcanic eruption. High-resolution 40Ar/39Ar data are reported herein for one such volcanic marker, the Green Tuff of Pantelleria and its Y-6 tephra equivalent recorded throughout the Central and Eastern Mediterranean. Published radiochronometric and ?18O orbitally-tied ages for this marker horizon scatter widely from about 41 ka up to 56 ka. Our new 40Ar/39Ar age at 45.7 ± 1.0 ka (2?) reveals that previous estimates are biased by more than their reported errors would suggest, including recent orbital tuning of marine records hosting the tephra bed that are reevaluated in the context of this study. This improved estimate enables potential phase lags and leads to be studied between deep-sea and terrestrial archives with unrivaled (near-millennial) 40Ar/39Ar precision in the marine record.
Scaillet, S.; Vita-Scaillet, G.; Rotolo, S. G.
High resolution seismic data coupled to Multibeam bathymetry of Stromboli island collected in the frame of the Stromboli geophysical experiment: implications with the marine geophysics and volcanology of the Aeolian Arc volcanic complex (Sicily, Southern Tyrrhenian sea, Italy).
New high resolution seismic data (Subbottom Chirp) coupled to high resolution Multibeam bathymetry collected in the frame of the Stromboli geophysical experiment aimed at recording active seismic data and tomography of the Stromboli Island are here presented. The Stromboli geophysical experiment has been already carried out based on onshore and offshore data acquisition in order to investigate the deep structure and the location of the magma chambers of the Stromboli volcano. A new detailed swath bathymetry of Stromboli Island is here shown and discussed to reconstruct an up-to-date morpho-bathymetry and marine geology of the area compared to the volcanologic setting of the Aeolian Arc volcanic complex. Due to its high resolution the new Digital Terrain Model of the Stromboli Island gives interesting information about the submerged structure of the volcano, particularly about the volcano-tectonic and gravitational processes involving the submarine flanks of the edifice. Several seismic units have been identified based on the geologic interpretation of Subbottom Chirp profiles recorded around the volcanic edifice and interpreted as volcanic acoustic basement pertaining to the volcano and overlying slide chaotic bodies emplaced during its complex volcano-tectonic evolution. They are related to the eruptive activity of Stromboli, mainly poliphasic and to regional geological processes involving the intriguing geology of the Aeolian Arc, a volcanic area still in activity and needing improved research interest. PMID:24860717
Aiello, Gemma; Di Fiore, Vincenzo; Marsella, Ennio; Passaro, Salvatore
Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis was used to investigate the dispersion area of waste material coming from fish farming activities in the western Mediterranean. Tests were conducted to see if uneaten feed and faecal material isotopic signals, originating from fish farms, could be detected in particulate organic matter (POM) and sedimentary organic matter (SOM). The detectable dispersion distance (from
G Sarà; D Scilipoti; A Mazzola; A Modica
Efforts to move more Algerian gas to Europe have hit full stride this year. Planning is well under way for the Maghreb-Europe pipeline, a second gas line from North Africa, this time across the Strait of Gibraltar into Spain. Construction on most segments will begin this summer. Meanwhile, construction is nearly complete to double capacity on the original Trans-Mediterranean gas pipeline from Algeria across the Sicily Channel to Italy. From a technical standpoint, the new project can be divided into two parts: the landlines in Tunisia, in Sicily, and on the Italian peninsula; and the subsea stretches of the Sicily Channel and the Messina strait.
Contents: Landing Aids Research at the UK Royal Aircraft Establishment; Peacetime Suicide in the Military; Bioelectrochemistry at Erice, Sicily; Biophysics of Cell Surface - An International Meeting; Cardiac Rehabilitation-A World Congress (Part II); Comp...
F. A. Richards D. J. Peters
Research carried out in Italy by ENEA for site selection of an underground laboratory in a clay formation are presented. Mine roadways, abandoned tunnels, natural or artificial escarpments are prospected. The Pasquasia potash mine in Sicily was selected. ...
The selectivity of the traditional commercial bottom trawl net employed in Sicily to catch the Mediterranean deep-water rose shrimp, Parapenaeus longirostris, has been assessed. Two fishing campaigns were carried out in the Strait of Sicily and in the Southern Tyrrhenian Sea, using the covered cod-end method (mesh 20 mm vs. 31 mm). Of a total catch of 11,601 individuals, 23.4% escaped in
S. Ragonese; M. L. Bianchini
Construction of the 1550-mile 48-in. gas pipeline which will link industrial regions of northern and southern Italy as well as Sicily is described. Compressor stations will be built in Tunisia, Sicily and on the mainland which will boost gas through triple 20-in. lines under the Mediterranean. Illustrations of track-mounted twin drills, and automatic welding system, aerial tramways for pipe stringing, and a compressor station are presented.
We performed geodetic strain rate analyses in southern Italy, using new GPS velocities. Two-dimensional strain and rotation\\u000a rate fields were estimated and results show that most of the shortening is distributed in the northern Sicily offshore. Extension\\u000a becomes more evident and comparable with shortening on the eastern side of the same margin, and greater in the eastern Sicily\\u000a offshore. Principal
Marco Cuffaro; Federica Riguzzi; Davide Scrocca; Carlo Doglioni
The Egadi Marine Protected Area (MPA) on the western side of the Sicily Channel (Central Mediterranean) is exposed to a high risk of oil pollution from the tanker routes connecting the eastern and western basins of the Mediterranean Sea. Areas where an oil spill would do most damage, and thus where surveillance should be concentrated, are identified in this study by Lagrangian tracers tracked backwards in time from points along the MPA perimeter using data spanning six years from 2006 to 2011. Results indicate that the areas where oil surveillance would be most beneficial are segments of the tanker routes south of Sicily (highly frequented) and north of Sicily (scarcely frequented), both extending about 150 miles from November to March and 100 miles in the other months. The third route, close to the Tunisian shore, is the most frequented by oil tankers but the threat period is limited to November and December. PMID:24934441
Ciappa, Achille; Costabile, Salvatore
The volatile constituents of the aerial parts of two samples of Thymus longicaulis C. Presl, collected in Campania and in Sicily, and two samples of Thymus pulegioides L. from the same regions, were extracted by hydrodistillation and analyzed. Considering the four oils together, seventy-eight different compounds were identified: 57 for Thymus longicaulis from Sicily (91.1% of the total oil), 40 for Thymus longicaulis from Campania (91.5% of the oil), 39 for Thymus pulegioides from Sicily (92.5% of the oil) and 29 for Thymus pulegioides from Campania (90.1% of the oil). The composition of the oils is different, although the most abundant components are identical in T. pulegioides. The essential oils showed antibacterial activity against eight selected microorganisms. PMID:19924089
De Martino, Laura; Bruno, Maurizio; Formisano, Carmen; De Feo, Vincenzo; Napolitano, Francesco; Rosselli, Sergio; Senatore, Felice
An epidemiological survey on mortality for malignant pleural neoplasm in Italy evidenced a number of patients in Biancavilla, a village located in a volcanic area of eastern Sicily, none of which had been significantly exposed to asbestos during their professional lives. Enviromental studies suggested the involvement of the material derived from stone quarries in the disease onset. A detailed crystal-chemical
Sara Travaglione; Biagio Bruni; Loredana Falzano; Luigi Paoletti; Carla Fiorentini
In the frame of traditional medicine, the use in the treatment of psoriasis of some plants typical of the flora of Sicily is reported. A preliminary search on some plants used for the treatment of psoriasis in Asia, South America and Africa is also reported.
R. Amenta; L. Camarda; V. Di Stefano; F. Lentini; F. Venza
This study was aimed at evaluating the correlation between bone mineral density (BMD) and the psychophysical health status in an elderly study population (62 subjects, mean age 84±5 years, 21 males and 41 females), institutionalized (Group A) in various structures of Pozzallo, a marine locality of the Ragusa Province in Sicily. BMD was measured by using ultrasonography of the calcanear
D Maugeri; A Santangelo; S Abbate; P Barbagallo; A Lentini; M Motta; M Malaguarnera; S Speciale; P Panebianco
We investigated acute and chronic exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) in a cohort of young adolescents using urinary cotinine and hair nicotine testing after recent implementation of Italian smoke free legislation.Study subjects were 372 Italian young adolescents, between 10 and 16 years of age from the principal city of Sicily, Palermo. Urine and hair samples were collected between November
M. Pellegrini; M. C. Rotolo; S. La Grutta; F. Cibella; O. Garcia-Algar; A. Bacosi; G. Cuttitta; R. Pacifici; S. Pichini
Southern Italy is one of the most tsunamigenic areas in the Mediterranean basin, having experienced during centuries a large number of tsunamis, some of which very destructive. In particular, the most exposed zone here is the Messina Straits separating the coasts of Calabria and Sicily that was the theatre of the strongest Italian events. In 1783-1785 Calabria was shaken by
L. Graziani; A. Maramai; S. Tinti
Medicina (Northern Italy) and Noto (Sicily) 32 m, AZ-EL, VLBI radio tele- scopes are managed by the Institute of Radioas- tronomy and funded by the National Institute of Astrophysics. They have been successfully per- forming geodetic observations since the end of the 80s. Nowadays, geodetic research is no longer an IRA institutional research activity. The fi- nalization of the 64
M. Negusini; P. Sarti; C. Abbondanza
Oxygen and carbon isotope measurements were performed on the planktonic foraminifer Globigerina bulloides from Ocean Drilling Program Site 963 in the Strait of Sicily and Site 964 in the Ionian Sea. Isotope records from both sites reflect regio nal climate changes in the Mediterranean superimposed on a global climatic signal. The early to late Pleistocene ?18O record of Site 963
Michael W. Howell; Robert C. Thunell; Enrico Di Stefano; Rodolfo Sprovieri; Eric J. Tappa; Tatsuhiko Sakamoto
The status of the NEMO project, which aims at characterizing and monitoring the Capo Passero (Sicily, Italy) candidate site for the km3 underwater Mediterranean detector and developing and testing the related key technological solutions, is described. NEMO Phase 1, which is a technological demonstrator aiming towards the Mediterranean km3 telescope, is under realization and is reported.
Sapienza, Piera; NEMO Collaboration
The Early Pleistocene fault plane of Furnari, that outcrops in northeastern Sicily (southern Italy), provided a primary hard substrate for the settling and growth of large coral colonies. Even though the corals did not form frameworks, they influenced the composition and distribution of the benthic communities. Corals and associated fauna produced organogenic debris, which was deposited along the fault scarp,
Italo Di Geronimo; Carlo Messina; Antonietta Rosso; Rossana Sanfilippo; Francesco Sciuto; Agostina Vertino
Volcanic hazard assessment is of paramount importance for the safeguard of the resources exposed to volcanic hazards. In the paper we present ELFM, a lava flow simulation model for the evaluation of the lava flow hazard on Mount Etna (Sicily, Italy), the most important active volcano in Europe. The major contributions of the paper are: (a) a detailed specification of
M. L. Damiani; G. Groppelli; G. Norini; E. Bertino; A. Gigliuto; A. Nucita
In this paper the problem of regressors selection in Virtual Instruments (VI) design is addressed The VI is designed to replace the on line analyzer of a Sulfur Recovery Unit (SRU) of a large refinery located in Sicily during maintenance operations. It is designed by using nonlinear MA models implemented by a MLP neural network. The use of a set
A. Di Bella; S. Graziani; G. Napoli; M. G. Xibilia
In volcanic regions, the mechanical, physical and chemical properties of rocks under high temperature and pressure, are crucial for the accurate modelling of routinely monitored data (e.g. ground deformation, seismicity, gas emission) and the calibration of damage-mechanics criteria for the weakening of volcanic edifices. Mt. Etna (Sicily, Italy) is the largest volcano in Europe, and one of the most active
Sergio Vinciguerra; Silvio Mollo; Gianluca Iezzi; Piergiorgio Scarlato; Michael J. Heap; Donald Dingwell
Mt Etna is the largest and most active volcano in Europe. Due to the high permeability of its volcanic rocks, the volcanic edifice hosts one of the biggest hydrogeologic reservoirs of Sicily (Ogniben, 1966). Pre-eruptive patterns of flank eruptions, closely monitored by means of ground deformation and seismicity, revealed the slow development of fracture systems at different altitudes, marked by
M. J. Heap; P. Baud; P. G. Meredith; S. Vinciguerra; A. F. Bell; I. G. Main
Mt. Etna is the largest and most active volcano in Europe. Time-dependent weakening mechanisms, leading to slow fracturing, have been shown to act during pre-eruptive patterns of flank eruptions at Mt. Etna volcano. Due to the high permeability of its volcanic rocks, the volcanic edifice hosts one of the biggest hydrogeologic reservoirs of Sicily (Ogniben, 1966). The presence of a
M. J. Heap; P. Baud; P. G. Meredith; S. Vinciguerra; A. F. Bell; I. G. Main
Mt. Etna (Sicily, Italy) is one of the most active on Earth. Instability of the eastern and southern flanks, in terms of slow spreading and seismic activity of the volcano, is a dominant dynamic processes and is considered as a triggering mechanism of the eruptive activity. Extrusive lava flows were the subject of a number of laboratory studies aimed to
S. Vinciguerra; S. Mollo; A. Iarocci; G. Iezzi; M. J. Heap
Campi Flegrei (Italy): Uplift and seismicity in the caldera since mid 1.982. Etna (Sicily): Incandescent tephra from central crater; seismicity. Kilauea (Hawaii): 13th-15th major phases of East Rift Zone eruption include lava fountains to 300 m and temperatures to 1147°C. Mt. St. Helens (Washington): Deformation and seismicity, then new lobe. Veniaminof (Alaska): lava fountains and flow continue.
We present the results of an analysis of pre-eruptive seismicity at the basaltic volcanoes Kilauea and Mauna Loa, Hawaii, and Mt. Etna, Sicily. Seven out of the twenty-eight flank eruptions investigated are preceded by periods of elevated rates of VT seismicity exceeding 4 weeks in duration. Although the daily earthquake rate during these periods of unrest fluctuates strongly, the sequences
A. F. Bell; C. R. Kilburn
A number of galactic sources observed by the hard X-ray telescope Mifrasco during the course of two balloon flights from the Milo base in Trapani (Sicily) in July 1986 and 1987 are presented. Emission spectra was measured over the energy range 15 to 300 k...
A. Bazzano I. R. Carstairs M. J. Coe A. Court S. R. Davies
The soil erosion model for Mediterranean regions (SEMMED) is presented and used to produce regional maps of simulated soil loss for two Mediterranean test sites: one in southern France and one in Sicily. The model demonstrates the integrated use of (1) multi-temporal Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) images to account for vegetation properties, (2) a digital terrain model in a GIS
S. M. de Jong; M. L. Paracchini; F. Bertolo; S. Folving; J. Megier; A. P. J. de Roo
Numerical simulations support the occurrence of a catastrophic tsunami impacting all of the eastern Mediterranean in early Holocene. The tsunami was triggered by a debris avalanche from Mt. Etna (Sicily, Italy) which entered the Ionian Sea in the order of minutes. Simulations show that the resulting tsunami waves were able to destabilize soft marine sediments across the Ionian Sea floor.
Maria Teresa Pareschi; Enzo Boschi; Massimiliano Favalli
Repellent and antiovipositional products in the control of Bactrocera oleae (Gmelin) finds a great interest in organic farming, because of the lack of effective products able to kill the olive fly preimmaginal stages. In 2003 in Castelvetrano (Trapani province, Sicily), tests on the effectiveness of Surround WP, a product containing 95% of kaolin, were carried out on three table olive
Virgilio Caleca; Roberto Rizzo
Describes an intensive habilitation program in Sicily for young adults with severe and profound retardation. Participants in the program showed significant improvement in functional skills and an accompanying reduction in maladaptive and stereotypic behaviors, without complex behavior plans; punishing contingencies; or high dose neuroleptic,…
Mazzelli, AnnaMaria; Polirstok, Susan Rovet; Dana, Lawrence; Buono, Serafina; Mongelli, Vita; Trubia, Grazia; Ayala, Giovanni
A study evaluated a therapeutic intervention program for young adults with severe autism at the Oasi Institute in Troina, Sicily. The program, which integrates gentle teaching, humanistic applied behavior analysis, and functional communication training, provides opportunities to acquire functional skills through errorless learning activities.…
Polirstok, Susan Rovet; Dana, Lawrence; Buono, Serafino; Mongelli, Vita; Trubia, Grazia
The area of Gela (Sicily, Italy) contains one of the largest petroleum refineries in Europe and also has several oil fields both on land and offshore. This paper discusses how the oil refinery and traffic-related air pollution affect the chemical composition of airborne particulate matter over the town of Gela, using pine needles and urban road dust as the means
M. L. Bosco; D. Varrica; G. Dongarra
Chemical families of metals fractionate systematically as they pass from a silicate melt across the interface with the vapor phase and on into a cooled volcanic plume. We measured three groups of metals in a small suite of samples collected on filters from the plumes of Kilauea (Hawaii, USA), Etna (Sicily), and Merapi (Java) volcanoes. These were the major, minor,
Todd K. Hinkley; M.-F. Le Cloarec; Gerard Lambert
Stuck to the shore? Investigating prehistoric hunter-gatherer subsistence, mobility and territoriality in a Mediterranean coastal landscape through isotope analyses on marine mollusc shell carbonates and human bone collagen
Subsistence and mobility strategies of hunter-gatherers in the Mediterranean Basin during the transition from the late Pleistocene to the early Holocene have been the object of few studies, even though its karst coastal regions have high densities of prehistoric sites. One such area is the territory of the Conca d’Oro in NW Sicily, which has numerous sites with faunal remains
M. A. Mannino; K. D. Thomas; M. J. Leng; R. Di Salvo; M. P. Richards
This paper is part of a research aimed at assessing the impact of wind generation on the transmission grid of Sicily, second among the Italian regions for wind power installed. To assess the maximum degree of wind generation penetrability in full compliance with the safe operation of the system, it seemed necessary to investigate the reports of contemporary winds and
M. G. Ippolito; F. Massaro; M. Mustacciolo
This work presents the results of an assessment of the existence and concentration of 13 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in groundwaters from 14 hydrological basins in Sicily (25,710km2). On the basis of hydrological, hydrogeochemical and geological studies, 324 sampling points were selected. All groundwater sampled were collected twice, from October to December 2004 and from February to May 2005, and
Giovannella Pecoraino; Lea Scalici; Giuseppe Avellone; Leopoldo Ceraulo; Rocco Favara; Esterina Gagliano Candela; Maria Clara Provenzano; Claudio Scaletta
A cluster of deaths from pleural mesothelioma was previously reported for Biancavilla, Italy, a city in eastern Sicily. An environmental survey suggested that the stone quarries located southeast of the city might be a source of asbestos exposure. The materials extracted from the quarries, used widely in the local building industry, contain large quantities of a fibrous amphibole that was
Pietro Comba; Antonio Gianfagna; Luigi Paoletti
The authors report an unusual case of strongyloidiasis in an Italian patient, who has always lived in Sicily. The patient presented with marked blood eosinophilia and an itching maculo-papular eruption, histologically simulating eosinophilic folliculitis. The clinical resolution was achieved after albendazol therapy. PMID:15319162
Cannavò, Serafinella P; Guarneri, Fabrizio; Guarneri, Claudio
A NATO-sponsored advanced study institute on climate variability was held in Erice, Italy (near Palermo, Sicily), 9-12 March 1980. Twenty-seven lecturers spoke to 76 other participants. Every facet of climate, its variability, and effects of variability o...
W. V. Burt
Understanding the processes involved with the advance of lava flows is critical for improving hazard assessments at many volcanoes. Here, we describe the application of computer vision and oblique photogrammetric techniques to visible and thermal images of active lavas in order to investigate flow processes at Mount Etna, Sicily and in Hawaii. Photogrammetric surveys were carried out to produce repeated
S. Robson; M. R. James
Using the archeomagnetic database of Daly, L. and Le Goff, M. [An updated and homogeneous world secular variation database. Smoothing of the archeomagnetic results, Phys. Earth Planet. Inter, 93 (1996) pp. 159–190.] complemented by archeomagnetic data from Peru, by sediment data from Argentina and New Zealand and by lava data from Hawaii and Sicily, we compute a time-varying spherical harmonic
L. Hongre; G. Hulot; A. Khokhlov
The sources of carbon and the dietary habits of Brachidontes pharaonis (Mollusca, Bivalvia), a new Lessepsian entry in the western Mediterranean, living in a cooling vat of a saltworks system in western Sicily (MED), were assessed by estimating throughout a season the relative abundance of a stable carbon isotope (d 13C) in particulate organic matter (POM), sedimentary organic matter (SOM),
G. Sarà; S. Vizzini; A. Mazzola
In this work, we investigated the efficacy of three new biocides (77351, 73532, 73503 – NALCO®) as specific antifouling products against adult organisms of the bivalve Brachidontes pharaonis (Fischer P., 1870), a Lessepsian species introduced in the Mediterranean Sea by sea transport (ballast water), and which has recently shown invasive behaviour in an industrial plant in Southern Italy (Sicily). These
F. Garaventa; C. Corrà; V. Piazza; E. Giacco; G. Greco; L. Pane; M. Faimali
At Laboratori Nazionali del Sud of the Instituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare of Catania (Sicily, Italy), the first Italian hadron therapy facility named CATANA (Centro di AdroTerapia ed Applicazioni Nucleari Avanzate) has been realized. Inside CATANA 62 MeV proton beams, accelerated by a superconducting cyclotron, are used for the radiotherapeutic treatments of some types of ocular tumours. Therapy with hadron
G. A. P. Cirrone; G. Cuttone; F. Di Rosa; L. Raffaele; G. Russo; S. Guatelli; M. G. Pia
Case-control studies of classical KS in Sicily and Central Rome. The Branch completed a case-control study (KCC) that revealed significant associations of classical KS with history of asthma, use of topical corticosteroid medications, infrequent bathing, and especially non-smoking.
This is a draft of the proof of the main theorem in the author's lecture entitled Approximations to ?X versus cofinal types of sets of metrics, which will be presented in Advances in Set-theoretic Topology (Conference in honour of Tsugunori Nogura on his 60th birthday) held in Erice, Sicily, Italy.
Metadiaptomus chevreuxi (Guerne & Richard 1894), a diaptomid calanoid copepod belonging to the subfamily Paradiaptomi- nae, has been found in two neighbouring temporary pools in the Egadi Archipelago (Sicily, southern Italy). This finding constitutes the first record of a representative of this subfamily in Italy and the second known European record for this species. M. chevreuxi, commonly found in the
Federico MARRONE; Luigi NASELLI-FLORES
We performed geodetic strain rate field analyses along the "Africa (Sicily microplate)"-"Eurasia (Tyrrhenian microplate)" plate boundary in Sicily (southern Italy), using new GPS velocities from a data set spanning maximum ten years (1998-2007). Data from GPS permanent stations maintained from different institutions and the recent RING network, settled in Italy in the last five years by the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, were included into the analysis. Two dimensional strain and rotation rate fields were estimated by the distance weighted approach on a regularly spaced grid (30*30km), estimating the strain using all stations, but data from each station are weighted by their distance from the grid node by a constant a=70km that specifies how the effect of a station decays with distance from the node grid interpolation. Results show that most of the shortening of the Africa-Eurasia relative motion is distributed in the northwestern side offshore Sicily, whereas the extension becomes comparable with shortening on the western border of the Capo d'Orlando basin, and grater in the northeastern side, offshore Sicily, as directly provided by GPS velocities which show a larger E-ward component of sites located in Calabria with respect to those located either in northern Sicily or in the Ustica-Aeolian islands. Moreover, where shortening and extension have mostly a similar order of magnitude, two rotation rate fields can be detected, CCW in the northwestern side of Sicily, and CW in the northeastern one respectively. Also, 2-D dilatation field records a similar pattern, with negative values (shortening) in the northwestern area of Sicily close to the Ustica island, and positive values (extension) in the northeastern and southeastern ones, respectively. Principal shortening and extension rate axes are consistent with long-term geological features: seismic reflection profiles acquired in the southern Tyrrhenian seismogenic belt show active extensional faults affecting Pleistocene strata and deforming the seafloor in the western sector of the Cefalù Basin, on both NE-SW and W-E trending faults. Combining geodetic data and geological features contributes to the knowledge of the active deformation along the Africa-Eurasia plate boundary, suggesting coexisting, independent geodynamic processes, i.e., active E-W backarc spreading in the hangingwall of the Apennines subduction zone, and shortening of the southern margin of the Tyrrhenian backarc basin operated by the "Africa" NW-motion relative to "Europe".
Cuffaro, M.; Riguzzi, F.; Scrocca, D.; Doglioni, C.
The Central Mediterranean is a region of active tectonics characterised by the interaction of a number of varied and sometimes poorly understood processes. Superimposed on the convergent scenario of the African plate pushing northwestward, a NE-SW directed extensional regime is active in the Sicily Channel, expressed in the form of a seismically active east-west trending system of strike-slip lineaments and a series of pull-apart grabens. The offshore seismicity of the Sicily channel, generally limited to magnitudes below 4.5, is normally difficult to quantify precisely, due to poor station coverage, yet it is believed that its analysis will considerably improve our understanding of the processes affecting the region. We present recent improvements to real and virtual seismic networking in the Central Mediterranean, based at the Seismic Monitoring and Research Unit (SMRU), University of Malta. Within the project SIMIT (B1-2.19/11) funded by the Italia-Malta Operational Programme 2007-2013, earthquake monitoring on the Maltese Islands is being upgraded through the installation of a further two broadband stations, one of which will be on the smaller island of Gozo. A new network, ML (Malta Seismic Network), has been internationally registered with the FDSN. At the same time, the installation and implementation of SeisComP3 has enabled the setting up of a virtual, real-time Central Mediterranean network, made up of 18 stations in Southern Italy (including Sicily, Lampedusa and Pantelleria) belonging to the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, 3 stations in Tunisia (National Institute of Meteorology of Tunisia) and the 3 stations on the Maltese Islands. This will allow us to rapidly perform more accurate hypocentral locations in the region. The virtual network, which also incorporates a number of more distant stations, has been tuned to issue SMS alerts for potentially felt events in the Sicily Channel detected by the network, and for strong earthquakes elsewhere. Within the SIMIT project, the alert system will include Civil Protection departments in Malta and Sicily. Small magnitude earthquakes, especially those located to the south and south-east of the Maltese Islands, may still go undetected by the network. In this case, use is made of a single-station polarization analysis method (LESSLA) developed at SMRU. The integration of data from the above methods allows us to produce a more comprehensive seismicity map for the Sicily Channel, which will be interpreted in terms of the dynamics of the Sicily Channel Rift System. References: Agius, M. R., & Galea, P. (2011). A single-station automated earthquake location system at Wied Dalam Station, Malta. Seismological Research Letters, 82(4), 545-559.
Agius, Matthew; Galea, Pauline; D'Amico, Sebastiano
Because of their relative simplicity and the barriers to gene flow, islands are ideal systems to study the distribution of biodiversity. However, the knowledge that can be extracted from this peculiar ecosystem regarding epidemiology of economically relevant diseases has not been widely addressed. We used information available in the scientific literature for 10 old world islands or archipelagos and original data on Sicily to gain new insights into the epidemiology of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTC). We explored three nonexclusive working hypotheses on the processes modulating bovine tuberculosis (bTB) herd prevalence in cattle and MTC strain diversity: insularity, hosts and trade. Results suggest that bTB herd prevalence was positively correlated with island size, the presence of wild hosts, and the number of imported cattle, but neither with isolation nor with cattle density. MTC strain diversity was positively related with cattle bTB prevalence, presence of wild hosts and the number of imported cattle, but not with island size, isolation, and cattle density. The three most common spoligotype patterns coincided between Sicily and mainland Italy. However in Sicily, these common patterns showed a clearer dominance than on the Italian mainland, and seven of 19 patterns (37%) found in Sicily had not been reported from continental Italy. Strain patterns were not spatially clustered in Sicily. We were able to infer several aspects of MTC epidemiology and control in islands and thus in fragmented host and pathogen populations. Our results point out the relevance of the intensity of the cattle commercial networks in the epidemiology of MTC, and suggest that eradication will prove more difficult with increasing size of the island and its environmental complexity, mainly in terms of the diversity of suitable domestic and wild MTC hosts.
Acevedo, Pelayo; Romero, Beatriz; Vicente, Joaquin; Caracappa, Santo; Galluzzo, Paola; Marineo, Sandra; Vicari, Domenico; Torina, Alessandra; Casal, Carmen; de la Fuente, Jose; Gortazar, Christian
The Pelagian Block, extending from eastern Tunisia to offshore western Libya and northward to Malta and Sicily, is a complex foreland area structurally active since the Carboniferous, that separates western North Africa from southern Italy. The north (Sicily) and central parts of the Pelagian Block contain Triassic-Lower Jurassic peritidal carbonates with rare evaporites; Middle Jurassic-Eocene pelagic carbonates, and paralic to marine clastics of Oligocene to Pleistocene age, with Messinian evaporites. The Middle Jurassic/Eocene platform to pelagic carbonates of Sicily are gradually replaced southward by basin margin, marine to paralic carbonates and clastics. In eastern Tunisia, these rocks overlie Triassic-Lower Jurasic evaporites. Principal petroleum resources occur offshore SE Sicily, offshore Tunisia and in adjacent Libyan waters. The largest oil fields are Bouri (800 MMB recoverable reserves) and Ashtart (recoverable reserves of 250 MMB). The largest gas field is Miskar (recoverable reserves of 800 BCF). Smaller accumulations are distributed throughout the region. New oil discoveries, ranging in size from 8 MMB to 50 MMB, have recently been made onshore and in the shallow offshore. Proven and potential source beds for hydrocarbons occur in various paleotectonic settings: anoxic lagoons formed in the early continental rifting stages (Triassic/Liassic organic rich units of SE Sicily); subcontinental/paralic coals and shales (Lower Cretaceous of Tunisia); and deeper water anoxic basins (late Mesozoic and Tertiary organic sequences). Additional exploration opportunities are expected in undrilled or sparsely drilled acreage, with traditional plays similar to those tested in the past; or in new plays directed to the exploration of new reservoir objectives.
Zappaterra, E. [Chevron Co., London (United Kingdom)
Hydrocarbon habitats on the Tunisia-Sicily shelf result from the complex interplay of three factors: (1) proximity to a source of terrigenous sediments, (2) eustatic sea level changes resulting in major transgression/regression events, and (3) a varied and ever-changing structural mosaic involving successive transtensional, transpressive, and compressional tectonic phases. The stratigraphy, structure, and petroleum resources of the shelf are linked to the crustal template created during the middle Mesozoic rifting of the Tethyan margin of North Africa. Transtensional stretching and crustal fragmentation forming the Tunisia-Sicily passive margin occurred in the Late Triassic-Jurassic at the juncture of the South Saharan and Gibraltar shear zones, creating a complex array of ridges and furrows and localized pull-apart basins. During the Cretaceous and early Tertiary, the subsident block-faulted shelf was buried beneath a varied stratigraphy ranging from a thin pelagic limestone succession devoid of terrigenous components in Sicily to a considerably thicker neritic Tunisian succession composed of mixed terrigenous and carbonate strata. Differences in stratigraphic character across the shelf relate to the relative position of Sicily and Tunisia between the unstable and subsident Tethyan margin and the stable and emergent Saharn platform. Beginning in the middle Cretaceous, the region experienced localized tectonic instability expressed as transtensional faulting, crustal inversion, salt diapirism, and submarine volcanism. These events profoundly altered bathymetry and facies distribution on the shelf. As the North African continental margin subducted northward beneath the Kabyle-Calabrian accretionary complex in the late Cenozoic, the thin competent carbonate successions of Sicily responded by detaching in a series of southward migrating thrust sheets. The thrusts die out along strike in Tunisia.
Schamel, S. (Univ. of South Carolina, Columbia (USA))
Because of their relative simplicity and the barriers to gene flow, islands are ideal systems to study the distribution of biodiversity. However, the knowledge that can be extracted from this peculiar ecosystem regarding epidemiology of economically relevant diseases has not been widely addressed. We used information available in the scientific literature for 10 old world islands or archipelagos and original data on Sicily to gain new insights into the epidemiology of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTC). We explored three nonexclusive working hypotheses on the processes modulating bovine tuberculosis (bTB) herd prevalence in cattle and MTC strain diversity: insularity, hosts and trade. Results suggest that bTB herd prevalence was positively correlated with island size, the presence of wild hosts, and the number of imported cattle, but neither with isolation nor with cattle density. MTC strain diversity was positively related with cattle bTB prevalence, presence of wild hosts and the number of imported cattle, but not with island size, isolation, and cattle density. The three most common spoligotype patterns coincided between Sicily and mainland Italy. However in Sicily, these common patterns showed a clearer dominance than on the Italian mainland, and seven of 19 patterns (37%) found in Sicily had not been reported from continental Italy. Strain patterns were not spatially clustered in Sicily. We were able to infer several aspects of MTC epidemiology and control in islands and thus in fragmented host and pathogen populations. Our results point out the relevance of the intensity of the cattle commercial networks in the epidemiology of MTC, and suggest that eradication will prove more difficult with increasing size of the island and its environmental complexity, mainly in terms of the diversity of suitable domestic and wild MTC hosts. PMID:23923053
Acevedo, Pelayo; Romero, Beatriz; Vicente, Joaquin; Caracappa, Santo; Galluzzo, Paola; Marineo, Sandra; Vicari, Domenico; Torina, Alessandra; Casal, Carmen; de la Fuente, Jose; Gortazar, Christian
Two human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I loci (HLA-A and HLA-B) and one class II locus (HLA-DR) were typed at the DNA level in the Sicilian population. Study participants were of Sicilian origin (183 for class I loci and 260 for class II loci) and live in three towns, chosen on the basis of geographic position and different historical events. These towns are Sciacca (southwest Sicily, located at sea level, conquered by Arabs in A.D. 814), Piana degli Albanesi (northwest Sicily, 720 m above sea level, has maintained religious, cultural, and linguistic peculiarities traced to Albanian settlement in 1488), and Troina (northeast Sicily, 1120 m above sea level, known as the first settlement of Normans). The assumptions underlying the study of genetic structure, based on HLA allele polymorphism, are that these three towns are located in areas that can be distinguished according to historical criteria and that they are likely to have contributed to cultural and probably genetic differences. As such, the high frequency of some alleles in Sciacca and Troina seems to be correlated with Greek, Phoenician, North African, and Arab influence. In accordance with different human settlements in Sicily, we found that the HLA allele frequencies support the existence of genetic differentiation between the western and eastern sides of Sicily. This separation is attributed to Greek colonization in the east and to Phoenician-Carthaginian-Arab influence in the west. Moreover, the comparisons of all allele frequencies between Mediterranean and AfrIcan populations show the same trend, highlighting in some cases European origin and in other cases non-European origin. PMID:18078206
Bonanno, Cesira Tiziana; Cigna, Diego; Danna, Claudia; D'Anna, Rosalba Pasqualina; Di Sano, Caterina; Matranga, Domenica; Raffa, Mariapia; Impeduglia, Antonina; Salerno, Alfredo
Thyroid cancer (TC), the most common endocrine tumor, has steadily increased worldwide due to the increase of the papillary histotype. The reasons for this spread have not been established. In addition to more sensitive thyroid nodule screening, the effect of environmental factors cannot be excluded. Because high incidences of TC were found in volcanic areas (Hawaii and Iceland), a volcanic environment may play a role in the pathogenesis of TC. In January 2002, the Regional Register for TC was instituted in Sicily. With a population of approximately five million inhabitants with similar genetic and lifestyle features, the coexistence in Sicily of rural, urban, industrial, moderate-to-low iodine intake, and volcanic areas provides a conducive setting for assessing the environmental influences on the etiology of TC. In Sicily, between 2002 and 2004, 1,950 new cases of TC were identified, with an age-standardized rate (world) ASR(w)?=?17.8/10(5) in females and 3.7/10(5) in males and a high female/male ratio (4.3:1.0). The incidence of TC was heterogeneous within Sicily. There were 2.3 times more cases in the Catania province (where most of the inhabitants live in the volcanic area of Mt. Etna): ASR(w)?=?31.7/10(5) in females and 6.4/10(5) in males vs. 14.1 in females and 3.0 in males in the rest of Sicily. Multivariate analysis documented that residents in the volcanic area of Mt. Etna had a higher risk of TC, compared to the residents in urban, industrial, and iodine deficient areas of Sicily. An abnormally high concentration of several chemicals was found in the drinking water of the Mt. Etna aquifer, which provides water to most of the residents in the Catania province. Our data suggest that environmental carcinogen(s) of volcanic origin may promote papillary TC. Additional analyses, including cancer biological and molecular features, will allow a better understanding of risk factors and etiopathogenetic mechanisms. PMID:23761783
Malandrino, Pasqualino; Scollo, Claudia; Marturano, Ilenia; Russo, Marco; Tavarelli, Martina; Attard, Marco; Richiusa, Pierina; Violi, Maria Antonia; Dardanoni, Gabriella; Vigneri, Riccardo; Pellegriti, Gabriella
Thyroid cancer (TC), the most common endocrine tumor, has steadily increased worldwide due to the increase of the papillary histotype. The reasons for this spread have not been established. In addition to more sensitive thyroid nodule screening, the effect of environmental factors cannot be excluded. Because high incidences of TC were found in volcanic areas (Hawaii and Iceland), a volcanic environment may play a role in the pathogenesis of TC. In January 2002, the Regional Register for TC was instituted in Sicily. With a population of approximately five million inhabitants with similar genetic and lifestyle features, the coexistence in Sicily of rural, urban, industrial, moderate-to-low iodine intake, and volcanic areas provides a conducive setting for assessing the environmental influences on the etiology of TC. In Sicily, between 2002 and 2004, 1,950 new cases of TC were identified, with an age-standardized rate (world) ASR(w)?=?17.8/105 in females and 3.7/105 in males and a high female/male ratio (4.3:1.0). The incidence of TC was heterogeneous within Sicily. There were 2.3 times more cases in the Catania province (where most of the inhabitants live in the volcanic area of Mt. Etna): ASR(w)?=?31.7/105 in females and 6.4/105 in males vs. 14.1 in females and 3.0 in males in the rest of Sicily. Multivariate analysis documented that residents in the volcanic area of Mt. Etna had a higher risk of TC, compared to the residents in urban, industrial, and iodine deficient areas of Sicily. An abnormally high concentration of several chemicals was found in the drinking water of the Mt. Etna aquifer, which provides water to most of the residents in the Catania province. Our data suggest that environmental carcinogen(s) of volcanic origin may promote papillary TC. Additional analyses, including cancer biological and molecular features, will allow a better understanding of risk factors and etiopathogenetic mechanisms.
Malandrino, Pasqualino; Scollo, Claudia; Marturano, Ilenia; Russo, Marco; Tavarelli, Martina; Attard, Marco; Richiusa, Pierina; Violi, Maria Antonia; Dardanoni, Gabriella; Vigneri, Riccardo; Pellegriti, Gabriella
We summarize the ammonoid, conodont and halobiid biochronology of the Upper Carnian to Lower Norian, based on a discussion of data in the Alps, Sicily, Balkans, Turkey, Himalayas and Timor. With this integrated biostratigraphic scale, the Pizzo Mondello section (Sicily) can be recalibrated and the Carnian-Norian boundary more precisely located there. As a result, the magnetostratigraphy of this section is now in good agreement with previous results from Turkey, although the latter series are more condensed. Cross-correlation of available magnetostratigraphic data from marine Tethyan sections allow us to construct a composite Upper Carnian to Upper Norian geomagnetic polarity time scale (GPTS). This GPTS leads us to question previously proposed magnetobiostratigraphic and chronostratigraphic correlations within the Upper Triassic Newark non-marine sedimentary sequence.
Krystyn, Leopold; Gallet, Yves; Besse, Jean; Marcoux, Jean
Ruppia cirrhosa is a clonal monoecious plant phylogenetically associated to seagrass families such as Posidoniaceae and Cymodoceaceae. It inhabits shallow waters that are important for productivity and as a biodiversity reservoir. In this study, we developed 10 polymorphic microsatellite loci for R. cirrhosa. Additionally, we obtained cross-amplification for two microsatellites previously described for Ruppia maritima. These 12 markers were tested in four R. cirrhosa populations from the southwest of Europe. The number of alleles per locus was high for most of the markers, ranging from 4 to 13. Two populations (Sicily and Cádiz) showed heterozygote deficit (p < 0.001). The four populations (Sicily, Murcia, Cádiz, and Tavira) were significantly differentiated (F(ST) ? 0; p < 0.001), corroborating the usefulness of these microsatellites on R. cirrhosa population genetics. PMID:24564216
Martínez-Garrido, J; González-Wangüemert, M; Serrão, E A
Sideritis italica (Miller) Greuter et Burdet (Lamiaceae), widely used in ethnopharmacological medicine, occurs in Southern Italy and Sicily. The phytochemical composition of the essential oils of S. italica flowers and leaves, harvested in Piano Battaglia (Sicily), was analysed by GC and GC-MS. Of the 51 compounds, 43 in the oil from flowers and 29 in the oil from leaves were identified. Kaur-15-ene (20.0%) was recognised as the main constituent of the oil from flowers, together with beta-cubebene (12.1%), beta-pinene (8.5%), (Z)-nuciferol (6.5%), tricyclene (4.5%) and alpha-bisabolol (4.0%). In the oil from leaves, p-methoxyacetophenone (26.0%) prevailed, as did hexadecanoic acid (21.3%), followed by nonanal (4.8%), alpha-bisabolol (4.5%) and beta-cubebene (4.7%). PMID:20401796
Formisano, Carmen; Rigano, Daniela; Senatore, Felice; Tenore, Gian Carlo; Bruno, Maurizio; Piozzi, Franco
An Expedition Two crewmember aboard the International Space Station (ISS) captured this overhead look at the smoke and ash regurgitated from the erupting volcano Mt. Etna on the island of Sicily, Italy. At an elevation of 10,990 feet (3,350 m), the summit of the Mt. Etna volcano, one of the most active and most studied volcanoes in the world, has been active for a half-million years and has erupted hundreds of times in recorded history.
The 1693 Catania earthquake, which caused 60000 deaths in eastern Sicily and generated a 5–10 m high tsunami, is investigated. GPS data indicate ESE-WNW convergence in the Calabrian arc at 4–5 mm\\/yr. New high-resolution seismic data image active compression at the toe of the accretionary wedge. The lack of instrumentally recorded thrust earthquakes suggests the presence of a locked subduction
M.-A. Gutscher; J. Roger; M.-A. Baptista; J. M. Miranda; S. Tinti
On 28 December 1908, at 5.21 a.m., local time, a catastrophic earthquake (MCS maximum intensity = XI, estimated magnitude = 7.1) struck the region of the Messina Straits, Ionian Sea, Southern Italy. Within minutes after the passage of the seismic waves, a tsunami with maximum observed run-up of about 10 m hit the coasts of Calabria and Sicily. The earthquake
A. Billi; R. Funiciello; L. Minelli; C. Faccenna; G. Neri; B. Orecchio; D. Presti
The status of the NEMO project is described: the activity on long term characterization of water optical and oceanographic parameters of the Capo Passero (Sicily, Italy), candidate for the installation of the Mediterranean km3 neutrino telescope; the feasibility study on physics performances and underwater technology for the km3; the activity on NEMO Phase 1, a technological demonstrator that is going to be deployed at 2000 m depth 20 km offshore Catania.
Riccobene, Giorgio; NEMO Collaboration
Italy is one of the Mediterranean countries most affected by tsunamis. Catalogues of Italian tsunamis show that the Italian coasts were attacked by several large events in the past that had catastrophic effects and caused thousands of victims. In this paper we limit our attention to tsunamis of tectonic origin, which are the most frequent. We focus especially on the southern regions of Calabria and Sicily, that are among the most tsunami-prone Italian areas. We use two different approaches to assess the tsunami hazard in the area. The first is a scenario approach. We select the largest-magnitude event in the area, that according to the most recent Italian seismic catalogues is the January 11, 1693, eastern Sicily earthquake (Mw=7.4). This earthquake was followed by a catastrophic tsunami, whose effects were observed along the entire eastern Sicily coasts and even on the Malta archipelago to the south. We adopt a number of different fault models located (or inferred) in the western Ionian basin, with magnitude comparable to that of the 1693 event, and analyze the results putting special attention on the distribution of the tsunami energy along the eastern Sicily coasts, on the number of tsunami waves attacking the coastlines and on their polarities and propagation times. The second approach is a hybrid deterministic-statistical method that, as a final result, provides the number of tsunamis expected to produce wave heights exceeding a given threshold in a given time interval along the southern Italy coasts. The information on the number of events can be easily translated into exceedance probability estimates if we adopt a suitable probability distribution function (e.g., Poissonian). We compare the results with the information deducible from the most recent Italian tsunami catalogue and discuss how the different assumptions/methods/data involved in the analysis influence the final results.
Armigliato, A.; Tinti, S.; Tonini, R.
Scorpiurus subvillosus L., wide spread in pastures of Mediterranean basin, is disappearing in the native pastures of the Hyblean plateau (Sicily,\\u000a southern Italy), because of overgrazing and intensive management techniques. Moreover, it exhibits seed coat dormancy, which\\u000a delays and reduces germination preventing its diffusion. This paper represents a first attempt in order to investigate changing\\u000a in germination determined by storage
Fabio Gresta; Giovanni Avola; Valerio Abbate
A 6-year study was conducted in an organically managed orange orchard located in Sicily (Southern Italy) to assess the effect of compost and organic fertiliser utilisation on soil quality. Adopting a randomised-block experimental design with three replicates, four treatments were carried out. In treatments 1 and 2, two different composts (C1 from distillery by-products and C2 from livestock waste) were
Stefano Canali; Alessandra Trinchera; Francesco Intrigliolo; Letizia Pompili; Luigi Nisini; Stefano Mocali; Biagio Torrisi
In this paper we present a model for the growth of a maar-diatreme complex in a shallow marine environment. The Miocene-age\\u000a Costa Giardini diatreme near Sortino, in the region of the Iblei Mountains of southern Sicily, has an outer tuff ring formed\\u000a by the accumulation of debris flows and surge deposits during hydromagmatic eruptions. Vesicular lava clasts, accretionary\\u000a lapilli and
Sonia Calvari; Lawrence H. Tanner
Caprella scaura, first described from Mauritius and later reported in several ‘forms’ from all over the world, has now been found in the central and eastern Mediterranean. The morphology shows no significant difference to the topotypical material. Specimens from Venice and Sicily have been studied in detail, the former also by cytogenetic methods.See also Electronic Supplement at: http:\\/\\/www.senckenberg.de\\/odes\\/06-03.htm
Traudl Krapp; Carola Lang; Angelo Libertini; Roland R. Melzer
This paper presents results of measurements of night sky background in the range 300-650 nm and several sub-intervals. Measurements were performed at Piano Battaglia (Sicily) pointing both to the zenithal direction and towards a mountain about 1 km far. These results are very useful for studying the sensitivity ? of fluorescence and Cerenkov on-ground telescopes, and for fluorescence on-space detectors looking down to the Earth to observe cosmic-rays and neutrinos.
Catalano, O.; Mineo, T.; Catalano, O.; Agnetta, G.; Biondo, B.; Cusumano, G.; Giarruso, S.; Gugliotta, G.; Mangano, A.; Russo, F.
In a population-based survey performed on the middleaged and elderly population of Casteldaccia, Sicily, we found that the prevalence of blindness was 0.47% and the prevalence of low vision 1.22%. Unilateral blindness affected 2.81% of the population and unilateral low vision 4.12%. Visual impairment was much more frequently seen in subjects aged 70 years or more than in younger persons.
Francesco Ponte; Giuseppe Giuffre; Raimondo Giammanco
The shallow-living, benthopelagic copepod species Pseudocyclops xiphophorus Wells (R Soc Edimburg 67:1967), collected over a yearly cycle from the fouling material in the brackish water Lake Faro (North-eastern\\u000a Sicily), showed marked seasonal fluctuations in population abundances, with maximum numbers recorded in autumn. Highest in\\u000a situ egg production rates coincided with periods of low adult and juvenile densities and vice versa,
Cinzia Brugnano; Letterio Guglielmo; Adrianna Ianora; Giacomo Zagami
Maintained by Classics Professor Leo Curran of the University at Buffalo, this collection of images could be a useful resource for courses in the Classics, Ancient History, or Archaeology. The collection currently contains many high-quality photos from France and Italy, with separate sections for Sicily and Rome. The images are offered free for any non-commercial purpose, and the site is periodically updated with new photos.
On a new association of the Pegano-Salsoletea observed near Porto Empedlocle (Agrigento). – The authors describe a new halo-nitrophilous association of Pegano-Salsoletea, proposed as Salsolo-Limonietum opulenti. This association occurs on the coast near Porto Empedocle (western Sicily) where it grows on marly and clayey soils. The vegetation is characterized by two endemic species (Limonium opulentum and Herniaria fontanesii ssp. empedocleana)
Salvatore Brullo; Maria Grillo; Concetta Scalia
Pescabivona is an autochthonous white flesh peach cultivar population from Sicily. The composition of four Pescabivona peach landraces (Murtiddara, Bianca, Agostina, and Settembrina) at three different growing altitudes was studied. Color, color distance, weight, pulp firmness, pH, soluble solid content (SSC), titratable acidity (TA), SSC\\/TA ratio, organic acids, sugars, phenolics, antioxidant capacity, and lactone compounds were determined.In general for the
Giuseppe Montevecchi; Giuseppe Vasile Simone; Francesca Masino; Cristina Bignami; Andrea Antonelli
High-resolution multi-channel seismic data from continental slopes with minor sediment input off southwest Mallorca Island, the Bay of Oran (Algeria) and the Alboran Ridge reveal evidence that the Messinian erosional surface is terraced at an almost constant depth interval between 320 and 380 m below present-day sea level. It is proposed that these several hundred- to 2,000-m-wide terraces were eroded contemporaneously and essentially at the same depth. Present-day differences in these depths result from subsidence or uplift in the individual realms. The terraces are thought to have evolved during one or multiple periods of sea-level stagnancy in the Western Mediterranean Basin. According to several published scenarios, a single or multiple periods of relative sea-level stillstand occurred during the Messinian desiccation event, generally known as the Messinian Salinity Crisis. Some authors suggest that the stagnancy started during the refilling phase of the Mediterranean basins. When the rising sea level reached the height of the Sicily Sill, the water spilled over this swell into the eastern basin. The stagnancy persisted until sea level in the eastern basin caught up with the western Mediterranean water level. Other authors assigned periods of sea-level stagnancy to drawdown phases, when inflowing waters from the Atlantic kept the western sea level constant at the depth of the Sicily Sill. Our findings corroborate all those Messinian sea-level reconstructions, forwarding that a single or multiple sea-level stagnancies at the depth of the Sicily Sill lasted long enough to significantly erode the upper slope. Our data also have implications for the ongoing debate of the palaeo-depth of the Sicily Sill. Since the Mallorcan plateau experienced the least vertical movement, the observed terrace depth of 380 m there is inferred to be close to the Messinian depth of this swell.
Just, Janna; Hübscher, Christian; Betzler, Christian; Lüdmann, Thomas; Reicherter, Klaus
Pj. Heather. Goths and Romans, 332-489. New York: The Clarendon Press,Oxford University Press, 1991. Pp. xi, 378. $114.95 (CDN). Reviewed by Steven MuhlbergerCharles Tilly. Coercion, Capital, and European States, AD 990-1990. Oxfordand Cambridge, Mass.: Basil Blackwell, 1990. Pp. xi, 269. $39.95 (us). Reviewed by Jan BlommeDonald Matthew. The Norman Kingdom of Sicily. New York: CambridgeUniversity Press, 1992. Pp. xvi, 418.
Steven Muhlberger; Leuven Jan Blomme; James M. Powell; Michael Chaton; Donald C. Jackman; Gregory Evans Dowd; Charles R. Middleton; Joseph A. Fry; B. R. Tomlinson; Jocelyn Linnekin; Neville Thompson; Ann Pottinger Saab; Barry Eichengreen; Daniel J. Schroeter; Raymond F. Betts; G. Harries-Jenkins; John W. Bailey; Allen J. Greenberger; D. George Boyce; Roderic H. Davison; Dane Kennedy; Stephen Brooke; David B. Danbom; Gerard J. De Groot; Betty Miller Unterberger; Robert J. Young; Carole Fink; Hines H. Hall; Gerhard L. Weinberg; Priscilla Dale Jones; Alan S. Milward; M. L. Dockrill; David Stafford; Bo Petersson; Jacob Bercovitch; Melvyn P. Leffleh; Marvin R. Zahniser; Willard C. Frank Jr; Timothy M. Shaw; Callum Macdonald; Andrew Chandler; B. W. Muirhead; William J. Duiker; Michael Graham Fry; Colin Newbury; Robert Page; John M. Mackenzie; E. Timothy Smith; Donald Barry; T. B. Millar; Hendrik Spruyi; T. E. Vadney; Jack S. Levy; Sally Marks; John Simpson
[Transcription begins]\\u000aSomewhere in SicilyAugust 2, 1943\\u000aHello Bryant Service Club,\\u000aSure was glad to receive your informative V Mail about good old Bryant College. I often think about it and the good times connected with my two years there. I was especially interested in learning the whereabouts of Ben Scuda + Johnnie Hall having been in both their classes.
Burnham Jr. Courtland R
Melt inclusions indicate that the basaltic-hawaiitic magmas from Mt Etna (Sicily) contained up to 2.3 wt% H2O dissolved in the melt, prior to eruption. The effect of H2O degassing during magma ascent has been experimentally constrained between 1135 and 1009°C, for PH2O = Ptotal varying from 800 to 270 bars. The starting material was a primitive hawaiitic lava sample (MgO
Nicole Métrich; Malcolm J Rutherford
We report high-resolution magnetic measurements from two Mediterranean piston cores: LC07 (Sicily Strait) and LC10 (Ionian Sea). Magnetostratigraphic results and ?18O data provide age constraints for core LC07, where we investigate magnetic property variations for two age intervals (0–600 kyr and 660–1020 kyr). For core LC10, rock magnetic parameters appear to be climatically controlled and are used to derive an
Jaume Dinarès-Turell; Babette A. A. Hoogakker; Andrew P. Roberts; Eelco J. Rohling; Leonardo Sagnotti
An unusual cluster of malignant mesothelioma was evidenced in Biancavilla, a Sicily village where no inhabitant had been significantly and professionally exposed to asbestos. Mineralogical and environmental studies led to the identification of a new prismatic amphibole, named fluoro-edenite. We previously reported, by using the human lung epithelial A549 cells, that prismatic fluoro-edenite was unable to induce changes that could
S. Travaglione; B. M. Bruni; L. Falzano; P. Filippini; A. Fabbri; L. Paoletti; C. Fiorentini
We focus on the retrieval of volcanic sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions from an analysis of atmospheric UV backscatter spectra obtained by the Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment (GOME) spectrometer on board the ESA European Remote Sensing Satellite (ERS-2). Here, the last major eruptions of Mt. Etna on Sicily (Italy) in July\\/August 2001 and October\\/November 2002 provided an excellent opportunity to study
W. Thomas; T. Erbertseder; T. Ruppert; M. Van Roozendael; J. Verdebout; D. Balis; C. Meleti; C. Zerefos
The early Pleistocene to late Pliocene astronormcally calibrated time scale of Shackleton et al.  and Hllgen  is\\u000aextended to the Mlocene\\/Pllocene boundary This is done by correlating the detailed re