A volcano or a lava flow?
It’s the question posed by a group of scientists studying the structure of the remains of a small lava flow in the western Mediterranean island of Sicily.
The study is the latest in a series of discoveries made by researchers from Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INSEE) since the 1980s.
In recent years, the INSEE has become increasingly active in studying volcanic flows, using its advanced equipment to examine the geological and geochemical history of the volcanic environment.
The latest results from INSEE’s Advanced Lava Flow Explorer (ALFE) mission, launched in December 2016, are being presented in a report in the latest issue of the journal Geology.
The team led by Prof. Luca Marrone of the University of Padua (UPC) in Italy says they have discovered evidence that the volcanic flow originated from the lower part of the Lami volcanoes in the Ionian Sea, an area of Italy that lies about 150 kilometers (93 miles) west of the port city of Cagliari in Sicily.
According to Marrone, the research team has uncovered traces of lava from a lava chamber that is 3,000 to 4,000 meters (11,000 and 15,000 feet) deep.
Marrone and his colleagues have analyzed the samples from the Lodi flows with a high-resolution seismic tomography (RT-SEG) technique.
According a statement from INMEA, the ALFE is a project of the National Institute for Geophiology and Volcanoology, which is funded by the European Union, Italy’s Generalitat d’Estudisimento di Roma, and by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
“We are very pleased with our work, which has been supported by the Italian government, with which we are collaborating on this project,” Marrone said in the statement.
“We have developed an analytical framework that allows us to measure the composition of the lava flow, which can provide important information about the structure and age of the lake.”
The findings from the ALBE project indicate that the Lodies volcanic flow is formed at a depth of about 5 meters (20 feet), or a bit more than 10 meters (33 feet).
Marrone says that the data they have obtained from the seismic tomograph data could help scientists determine the age of a lake’s topography and composition.
The volcanic lake’s composition, Marrone adds, could also be used to estimate the depth of the flow.
The Lodi lake is part of a large network of underwater lakes that forms part of what is now the Gulf of Castello, which separates the Ionia from mainland Italy.
Lami, Ionian and Gulf of Cassius are some of the largest and most active volcanoes on the planet.
Lodi, in particular, is known for its many lava flows, which have formed hundreds of kilometres long and have a total volume of some 200 cubic kilometers.
Lava flows have also been found in the upper reaches of several volcanoes, including the Kama-Makai complex of Hawaii and the Petunias Volcano of Papua New Guinea.
The new findings have been published in the Journal of Volcanophysics, Geochemistry and Palaeoecology.
“It is important to note that the geochemical characteristics of the structure are not always easily understood from the analysis of seismic tomographic data,” Marotto said.
“But we are now beginning to understand the characteristics of a lava-filled lake, and we believe that the new data can be useful for researchers studying this area.”
The researchers have identified the lava chamber, which measures between 2 and 4 meters (7 to 12 feet) in diameter, as being formed from a subducted rock that has recently been buried beneath the lower Lami volcanic zone.
In addition to identifying a possible lava chamber beneath the lake, the scientists also have discovered an underground reservoir of lava that they say could be used as a reservoir for magma, similar to that of an ocean or lake.
The researchers believe that a similar subterranean reservoir formed in the LODIES lava chamber.
“The geochemical properties of the rock are very similar to those of a subsurface reservoir,” Marotti said.
The geochemical signatures of the underground reservoir are consistent with those of the surrounding volcanic rocks, he added.
“If you look at the data, it is quite easy to detect magma at the bottom of the reservoir, which would indicate that magma is there.
The magma may be a simple, inert material that has been transported from below the reservoir,” he said.
However, the geochemist stresses that the study does not yet know whether the underground magma reservoir is stable, or even if it is a solid magma.
“I think it is very interesting to see what the geochemistry of the magma chamber will be like, and what we will