The influence of volcanic supply on the composition of modern river sands: the case study of the Ofanto river, southern Italy

Posted on 01.10.2021 - 10:18
The Ofanto river drains volcanic rocks from the Monte Vulture, lacustrine–fluviolacustrine deposits associated with the same volcano and sedimentary deposits of the Southern Apennines and the Bradanic foredeep sequences. Comparing the modal composition of river sands and the outcrop area of different lithologies in the different sub-basins, an over-concentration of the volcaniclastic fraction, mainly represented by loose crystals of clinopyroxene, garnet and amphibole, is shown. This has been related to the preferential erosion of pyroclastic deposits, characterized by high production of sand-sized loose minerals, together with the carbonate lability and the low sand-sized detritus production from claystones and marls. The occurrence of volcaniclastic components upstream of Monte Vulture can be explained with a contribution from the lacustrine–fluviolacustrine deposits outcropping in the upstream sector or from pyroclastic fall deposits of Monte Vulture and/or Campanian volcanoes. This research shows that the volcanic record in the fluvial sands of the Ofanto river comes from weathering and sorting processes of volcaniclastic deposits rather than from the lavas building the main edifice. Therefore, caution must be taken during palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimatic reconstructions when relating the type and abundance of the volcanic component in sediments to the weathering stage and evolutionary history of the volcano.

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Tenuta, Mariano; Donato, Paola; Dominici, Rocco; De Rosa, Rosanna (2021): The influence of volcanic supply on the composition of modern river sands: the case study of the Ofanto river, southern Italy. Geological Society of London. Collection. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.5643959.v1
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