|Summit depth||−450 m (−1,476 ft)|
|Height||3,000 m (9,800 ft)|
|Volcanic arc/chain||Aeolian Arc|
Marsili is a large undersea volcano in the Tyrrhenian Sea, about 175 kilometers (109 mi) south of Naples. The seamount is about 3,000 m (9,800 feet) tall; its peak and crater are about 450 m below the sea surface. Though it has not erupted in recorded history, volcanologists believe that Marsili is a relatively fragile-walled structure, made of low-density and unstable rocks, fed by the underlying shallow magma chamber. Volcanologists with the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) announced on March 29, 2010 that Marsili could erupt at any time, and might experience a catastrophic collapse that would suddenly release vast amounts of magma in an undersea eruption and landslide that could trigger destructive tsunamis on the Italian coast and nearby Mediterranean coastlines.
Mt. Marsili belongs to the Aeolian Islands Volcanic arc, being 70 kilometers long and 30 kilometer wide (covering a 2100 square km area) it is the largest active volcano of the chain, larger than Mount Etna. It was discovered during the 1920s and named after Italian geologist Luigi Ferdinando Marsili. Extensive studies have been carried on only since 2005 as the Italian National Research Council started a vulcanology research program on the site.
The volcano rises from a plateau of thin oceanic (or pseudo-oceanic) crust with a thickness of only 10 km, which forms its own sea basin. The basin crust is made of tholeiitic basalt which is most typical of inflated basins at the back of oceanic volcanic arcs. The Marsili basin appears to have formed very recently (2 million years) as a consequence of the growth of the volcanic arc, and Mt. Marsili could be the result of the thermal inflation of the thin crust at the center of the basin. The start of the volcano activity could date back as recently as 200,000 years ago. Evidence of magma flows on the mountain flanks were found. Evidence of catastrophic collapses of previous other undersea volcanoes in the same area was also found.
- Caratori Tontini F., Cocchi L., Muccini F., Carmisciano C., Marani M., Bonatti E., Ligi M., and Boschi E., Potential-field modelling of collapse-prone submarine volcanoes in the Southern Tyrrhenian Sea (Italy), Geophysical Research Letter 37 (2010), L03305, doi:10.1029/2009GL041757.
- "Undersea volcano threatens southern Italy: report". AFP. March 29, 2010. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
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