The project is aimed at comparing selected geological features that were studied in detail in Italian volcanic islands and in central Azores archipelago (Terceira and Faial Islands) by the project team.
Specifically the study is aimed to twofold scientific topics in Terceira and Faial (central Azores):
1) The study of peculiar and extremely uncommon eruptive products (lava balloons), relevant to intermediate-depth submarine volcanic eruptions, through the comparison of two (of the 4 worldwide known) areas where this kind of products have been erupted in historical (1891 at Pantelleria, Italy) and recent times (1998-2001 at Terceira, Azores). The study is aimed at defining eruptive processes and physical conditions associated to the genesis of those products, possibly relating them to specific geomorphic features at the seafloor. This may lead to geohazard assessment for poorly known intermediate-depth submarine eruptions.
2) The characterization of inner shelf depositional bodies commonly rimming volcanic islands (among which several Italian insular volcanoes and Faial in the Azores). These features have a terraced morphology, are located at a nearly constant depth below sea level, and display a prograding inner geometry. Despite their wide distribution, physical processes driving their formation are only partially understood, especially the relationships with relative sea-level fluctuations. The sampling of previously studied clinoforms at Faial will allow to unravel their age of formation and their relation with the growth of this volcanic island. The comparison with well-studied cases on Italian volcanic islands (in different oceanographic and volcanic setting) would allow to test a possible comprehensive genetic and evolutionary model as well as their relationships with the eustatic changes at short, middle and long terms.