1st Year

Physical Volcanology

Description including Unit Aims

Advanced Volcanology: The principles of magma discharge, degassing and fragmentation and their control on eruption mechanisms. Classification schemes for common eruption types and styles. Mechanism of explosive eruptions and Nature of Volcanic Plumes. Methods for tephra source identification. Fall Deposits: mechanisms of atmospheric dispersal and fallout of tephra; types of fall deposits and how they can be used to reconstruct eruption processes. Pyroclastic Density Currents: types, mechanisms of formation and emplacement modes. Effusive Volcanism: types and styles of effusive eruptions. Emplacement modes of mafic, intermediate and silicic lava flows.

Field Volcanology: Volcanic Successions: principles of volcanic stratigraphy. Stratigraphy in volcanic areas. Description of volcanic facies. Recognition of distal and proximal deposits. Depositional mechanisms deduced from field characteristics. Differentiation of syn- and post-eruption re-sedimentation. Field mapping in volcanic areas. Critical reading of papers using tephra stratigraphy to extract information on eruption histories and evolution of selected volcanoes. Tephra stratigraphy of Neapolitan volcanoes.

Intended Learning Outcomes

The final goal of this course is to develop the students’ ability of realizing a geological study in volcanic areas. The students should be able to carry out field and laboratory-based observation and analysis of volcanic successions and/or volcanic landforms, use scientific reasoning to interpret the results and deduce the deposition mechanism and eruptive process.

Assessment Information

Written exam with either an obligatory or optional oral part. The written exam consisting of multiple choice, short answer essay and problem-solving questions and report on field activity.


For Italian students, please see

For foreign students, please see Admission regulation with reference to second cycle degree programme (laurea magistrale – lm)

Discover the other courses

Are you curious to know more? CONTACT US