Volcanic geomorphology and tectonics of the Aeolian archipelago (Southern Italy) based on integrated DEM data

Massimiliano Favalli, Dávid Karátson, Roberto Mazzuoli, Maria Teresa Pareschi, Guido Ventura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

68 Citations (Scopus)


The geomorphological and morphometric analysis of the sea floor topography surrounding the Aeolian Islands, South Tyrrhenian Sea, Italy, provides insights into the relationships between the volcanological evolution of the islands and their tectonic features. We constructed geomorphological maps of the submarine portions of the seven large edifices constituting the islands on the basis of a DEM with a 5 m resolution step. These maps include constructional and destructional landforms such as submarine volcanic vents located west of Lipari and north of Alicudi, and hummocky surfaces recognised north of Lipari and Salina. The latter landforms, together with the occurrence of large scars affecting the main edifices on land, suggest that sector collapses affected some islands. Geomorphological data indicate that the location of subaerial and submarine vents is strongly controlled by local tectonic structures striking WNW-ESE (Alicudi-Filicudi sector), NNW-SSE (Salina-Lipari-Vulcano sector) and NE-SW (Panarea-Stromboli sector). The islands can be divided into two groups on the basis of some morphometric parameters: a first group with a pancake-like shape, Dp/D (abrasion platform diameter/basal diameter) higher than 0.40 and H/D (total height/ basal diameter) lower than 0.13, and a second group with a conical shape, characterised by Dp/D lower than 0.34 and H/D higher than 0.14. These ratios and other morphometric parameters reflect the different volcanological and structural evolution of the Aeolian Islands. The pancake-like shaped complexes have been created, in addition to their submarine stage, by extrusive and highly explosive activity, whereas the cone-shaped edifices have been characterised by effusive or moderate explosive activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-170
Number of pages14
JournalBulletin of Volcanology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2005


  • Evolution of volcanism
  • Marine geology
  • Morphometric analysis
  • Sector collapse
  • Tectonics
  • Volcanic geomorphology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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