Sapienza Research Calls - GEO03


TITLE: Obduction of ophiolites in the Alpine-Himalayan belt: a regional comparison via a multidisciplinary approach 
FUNDING AGENCY: Sapienza Università di Roma, Bando 2019; Progetto di Ricerca Grande di Ateneo

START DATE: Febbraio 2020
END DATE: Gennaio 2022
The best worldwide examples of obducted ophiolite sequences occur along the Alpine-Himalayan belt in Italy (Northern Apennines), in Cyprus (Troodos ophiolite) and in Oman (Semail ophiolite). Despite the fact that these Ophiolite sheets belong to the same orogenic belt, they were not so far compared. We propose to compare quantitatively for the first time these three areas concerning the following aspects: thickness of obducted ophiolite sheets; thermal evolution of sub-ophiolite rocks; structural level at which obduction processes occurred; tectonic structures that accommodated ophiolite obduction and unroofing of sub-ophiolite rocks; nature and temperature of fluids involved during faulting; timing and duration of obduction and exhumation processes.
To do this, we propose a multidisciplinary study based on stratigraphic and structural field geology, geochemical laboratory analyses (clumped isotopes), fluid inclusions on calcite veins, mixed layers illite-smectite (I-S) paleothermal indicators, paleomagnetic analyses and U-Pb datings. 
The following research objectives will be pursued:

  1. the lateral variation of the thickness of ophiolite sheets will be constrained by paleothermal analysis of sub-ophiolite rocks;
  2. the structural level at which obduction processes occurred will be constrained via paleothermal analysis of sub-ophiolite rocks and via analysis (clumped isotopes and fluid inclusions on syn-kinematic calcite veins associated with faults) of fossil fluids which permeated fault zones;
  3. the tectonic structures that accommodated ophiolite obduction and exhumation of sub-ophiolite rocks will be constrained by field and laboratory structural analyses and by paleomagnetic analysis on sub-ophiolite rocks;
  4. the age and duration of obduction and exhumation processes will be constrained by U-Pb datings of syn-tectonic calcite veins;
  5. we will finally propose evolutionary models for ophiolite obduction in the investigated areas.


TITLE: Circolazione dei fluidi e comportamento meccanico delle zone di faglia della Val d’Agri (Appennino Meridionale): implicazioni sulla sismicità indotta e sull’inquinamento delle falde
FUNDING AGENCY: Progetti di Ricerca Medi, Università La Sapienza, Roma

END DATE: 02-2025
Mineralizations along faults in the Val d'Agri (Southern Apennines) are investigated with structural geological, geochronological (U-Pb and U-Th datings) and geochemical (C and O stable isotopes, clumped isotopes) methods to investigate the fluids-rock interaction. The elastic moduli and frictional properties of fault rocks will also be tested using BRAVA2.0 apparatus.


TITLE: Hydrogeochemical seismic precursors in the Apennines
FUNDING AGENCY: Sapienza – progetti di Ateneo

START DATE: novembre 2021
END DATE: marzo 2023
The variation of stress acting on crustal rocks determines pressure gradients able to mobilize fluids. Fluid motions are the most rapid response to the modification of the tectonic stress. Therefore, they may represent useful indicators of transient phenomena that may evolve into an earthquake. Coseismic chemical, water table depth and spring supply variations have been widely described. Moreover, in several cases, these modifications were starting before the mainshock, hence representing potentially reliable seismic precursors. However, these variations differ as a function of the tectonic setting (i.e., extensional, contractional, strike-slip). In this research project we intend to monitor the depth, temperature, salinity variation in few water wells in Abruzzo and Molise, along areas with high seismic hazard. We expect to record signals of stress modification that may eventually evolve into an earthquake. The goal is to install a multiparametric (GPS, SAR, seismological and hydrogeochemical) prototype observatory able to alert for a possible imminent seismic event.


TITLE: CLEARER - deCrypting fLuids movEments on cARbonatE Rocks
FUNDING AGENCY: Sapienza Università di Roma 

START DATE: novembre 2019
END DATE: marzo 2022
One of the most useful geophysical tools for monitoring sub surface CO2 injection as well as monitoring possible fluids movement at depth is seismic imaging, particularly time-lapse characterization. Interpretation of seismic data for the quantitative measurement of the distribution and saturations of fluids in the subsurface requires knowledge of the petrophysical properties of involved rocks and fluids in particular for heterogenous rocks such as carbonates. The aim of this project is to completely characterize the petrophysical properties and in particular the Vp/Vs evolution in presence of fluids of carbonate rocks at depth. The project will focus on the most representative (thicker) carbonate formations of the Apennines: massive pure limestone (Calcare Massiccio, CM), layered pure limestone (Maiolica, MA), and layered marly limestone (Calcareous Scaglia, SC). We will then perform a complete petrophysical characterization of these different type of carbonates in laboratory to be compared with down-hole in situ measurements derived from the public ViDEPI project. 
The comparison of the properties coming from borehole data and laboratory will help in understand how to upscale the data at crustal depth. Once the scaling relationship will be known we will proceed in particular to the upscaling of the Vp/Vs ratio that will be for the first time rigorously characterized. By comparing the Vp/Vs resulted from tomography studies and seismic surveys within the same lithologies, with laboratory data, we will be able to correctly reconstruct the boundary condition acting at depth inferring the actual values of pore pressure by using only indirect investigations. These pieces of information are crucial for example in the induced seismicity field CO2 storage where fluids pressure and lithology properties play a key role. The expect results will thus help in making the interpretation of subsurface images of the Northern Apennines definitely CLEARER.


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