cod. 1009867

Academic year 2022/23
2° year of course - First semester
TRUA Teresa
Academic discipline
Petrologia e petrografia (GEO/07)
A scelta dello studente
Type of training activity
Student's choice
48 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

The course challenges student to think about the VIPS at the micro-scale. (i.e., lava samples and the carried crystal cargoes). By examining mineral chemistry and bulk-rock compositions from lava suite found at active volcanic areas, the student will learn to track advanced petrological concepts useful to describe how the feeding VIPSs work.
At the end of the course the student will have acquired the knowledge required for the application of petrochemical methodologies in a given natural volcanic system and will be able to discuss on the behaviour of VIPS underlain active volcanoes.
The student will hold a seminar to the class, illustrating by a PowerPoint file a case of study (using a language of a scientific communication) in order to demonstrate the acquired communication and learning skills on the acquired petrological topics.


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Course unit content

The activity will be held in the class by the course leader. If there is a restriction due to the Covid-19, the possibility of following lessons through electronic means of communication (synchronously, via Teams; remotely, on Elly) will be given.

The course focuses on the application of petrological and geochemical methods to understand how modern magma plumbing systems (also known as “volcanic and igneous plumbing systems” - VIPSs) work.
The course illustrates where magma is produced, and how it rises and stalls on its way to the Earth’s surface. This will be done, first in a general way and then looking at the Italian active volcanoes (Etna, Vesuvius, Aeolian Islands) as study cases.
The program of the course is divided into two parts:
part 1 – theoretical lectures on the specific topics and discussion of specific cases in which petrological and geochemical methods have been successfully applied (see detailed program below);
part 2 – practical, consisting in the preparation by the student of a PowerPoint file, making use of literature petrochemical data from one of the study cases.

Full programme

Introduction to “volcanic and igneous plumbing systems” (VIPSs).

The VIPS architecture: interconnected storage regions, ranging from parts with a very low fraction intergranular melt to parts with high melt fraction (representing the eruptible magma).

The possible interactions within and between the different parts of a VIPS and how they give rise to different crustal scenarios that eventually may bring the system to eruption, forming the active volcanoes.

The modern mechanisms of magma transport and storage in the Earth’s crust.
Growth of a volcanic edifice through plumbing system processes.

Using igneous petrochemical data to explore the magmatic processes.

Using caldera collapse to explore the destruction and rebuilding of volcanoes and their plumbing systems.

State-of-the-art and future directions in the research on VIPS.

The study cases: the Italian active volcanoes (Etna, Vesuvius, Aeolian Islands).


Steffi Burchardt (2018), Volcanic and Igneous Plumbing Systems. Elsevier, ISBN 978-0-12-809749-6.

Focused literature material provided by the course leader.

PowerPoint files of the lessons provided by the course leader.

Teaching methods

The teaching methods comprise:
guided learning, using online materials (i.e., PowerPoint files; literature material), that introduce core information and put them into context of “real world examples” illustrating to the students how this information help to solve explicit problems;
guided independent study, that consists in the assessment, preparation and presentation of an essay by the student, using the bibliographic material provided by the course leader. During the guided study, the student will make geochemical calculations using computer tools (spreadsheets and petrological programs) and interpret the significant of the result.

Formative evaluation will be done informally by the course leader, with discussions during each lesson, in order to check how much students have been understood.

Assessment methods and criteria

The form of the final exam is oral and it is made of two parts:
part 1 – seminary hold by the student, in order to evaluate his/her ability to discuss on the behaviour of VIPS underlain active volcanoes using petrochemical data;
part 2 – 3 questions on the topics of the course, in order to evaluate the level of the learning outcomes.

If there is a re-sit examination due to the Covid-19, the examination will be carried out remotely, via Teams.

Other information

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