Institute of geosciences and earth resources (IGG)


Activity of the Institute. The Istituto di Geoscienze e Georisorse (Institute of Geosciences and Earth Resources), founded in January 2002 from the union of two former CNR Institutes in Pisa and six Research Centres (at the Universities of Florence, Padua, Pavia, Pisa, Rome, and Turin) is involved in both basic and applied researches. Studies based on mineralogy, petrology, geochemistry, geodynamics and geophysics are aimed at understanding the processes occurring both in the interior and at the surface of the Earth, and providing the fundamental knowledge for the applications (technological use of geomaterials, mitigation of the natural risks and correct management of the Earth resources for a sustainable development). The capability of characterizing geomaterials, their alteration and the technological process is also applied to cultural heritage and archaeology. Researches in the fields of geothermal energy, green-house gas sequestration, hydrogeology, environmental geochemistry and geological hazards, are also supported by Government, industries and local communities funds.

Most significant results (last 5 years). Gas geochemistry: origin of the endogenous gases and their relationship with geodynamic settings. Implementation of sampling and analytical procedures to identify light hydrocarbons in natural gases. Geological modeling: analogical modelling of tectonic processes and magma emplacement in different geological settings. Trace element geochemistry: a) definition of the mineral-melt partition coefficients for trace elements by SIMS and LA-ICP-MS techniques; b) extension to melt inclusions of SIMS methods to characterize the primitive magmas of the most important Italian volcanoes (Etna, Stromboli, Vulcano, Vesuvius). Isotopic geochemistry: a) application of B and Li isotopes to understand the type and role of fluids in the magma origin, b) researches on properties of nominally-anhydrous minerals related to their water content. Mineralogy: a) comprehensive models for crystal-chemical and thermodynamic properties of complex minerals at ambient and non ambient conditions and their application to petrogenetic studies of terrestrial and extra-terrestrial rocks; b) use of geomaterials and their synthetic analogues for technological purposes and human health and wellness; c) detection and role of fibrous minerals in environmental issues. Geochronology: a) dating of co-seismic faulting; b) U-Pb zircon and monazite dating by laser-ablation ICP-MS. Geology: a) tectonic and evolutionary models in different Mediterranean areas; b) final editing of approximately 190 geological maps for the National and Regional Geological Services. Geothermal energy: refinement of the geological setting of the Travale geothermal field, in the frame of a EU FP6 STREP Project]. GHG sequestration: prediction of the fate of CO2 injected in an Italian depleted hydrocarbon reservoir by means of numerical simulation. Hydrogeology and Hydrogeochemistry: implementation of geological, hydrogeological, chemical and isotopic tools for a) investigation of processes controlling contamination in shallow and groundwater bodies, and b) evaluation of groundwater resources and analyses of present day trends with respect to short time climate variations. Archaeomagnetism: Archaeomagnetic dating of Mediterranean volcanics. Paleoclimatology: reconstruction of the lower Mesozoic palaeoenvironment and palaeoclimate in the southern Alps and major resolution of the Triassic and lower Giurassic extinction events by mean of integrated bio- and chemo-stratigraphic studies. Application of mass spectrometry and thermogravimetric analysis to the age determination of Triassic and Cretaceous fossil resins (amber). and characterizations or their palaeobotanical environment. Paleoceanography: millennia scale-resolution of palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of the last 400 ka in the Adriatic.

National and international acknowledgments.

Adele Manzella has been awarded with the Gerald W. Hohmann Award Excellence in Applied Electrical geophysics (2006).
Roberta Oberti has been awarded with the Plinus Medal for excellence in mineralogy of the Italian Society of Mineralogy and Petrology (2007).
Andrea Dini has been awarded with the Nogara Prize for young researchers of the of the Italian Society of Mineralogy and Petrology (2007).
Luisa Ottolini was selected as one of the 12 female CNR researchers with impressive contributions to science (2004) in the celebration of the 80th anniversary of the foundation of the National Research Council of Italy (year 2004).
Elio Cannillo, Roberta Oberti and Luisa Ottolini were honoured in the latest years for their contribution to amphibole crystal-chemistry by giving their names to three new root end-members in the amphibole compositional space.

Spin-off. MASSA, Metodologie e Applicazioni Scientifiche per la Salvaguardia Ambientale (, is a spin-off company formed by the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), the Università degli Studi di Firenze and some industrial partners. MASSA operates to mitigate environmental risks. Its main interests are monitoring of gas emissions from waste disposals and industrial plants, groundwater pollution and remediation planning. MASSA offers to the market advanced services based on methodologies and technologies developed by CNR-IGG, the University of Florence and cooperating private companies.

Other type of associations: IGG is partner of the "Centro di Eccellenza di Larderello per la Geotermia" (CEGL), constituted by a temporary association of CNR-IGG, the Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, The Department of Earth Sciences of the University of Pisa, CoSviG (Council for the development of Geothermal Areas) and the Municipality of Pomarance, and is aimed at supporting common goals of several Tuscan local authorities interested in developing geothermal resources. CEGL promotes geothermal research and develops opportunities for cooperation among local and international interested partners. The final goal is to gather technical, economic and environmental data for the analysis of sustainability and development of new exploitation technologies and to improve the identification, classification and use of geothermal resources.
PNRA Project: "Paleozoic magmatism along the Paleopacific Margin of Gondwana. Investigation on the deep crustal source and time-space evolution of the magmatism in Northern Victoria Land (Antarctica), South Tasman Rise, and East Tasman Plateau". 2002-2003

Agreements with industrial partners. IGG has signed an Agreement with the geothermal branch of ENEL (the Italian Electricity Board), to conduct researches in the active geothermal fields of the Republic of El Salvador).
A contract with ENI (Italian Oil Company) has been signed to perform different types of analysis in the IGG laboratories.