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Research Themes in

Carbonate Sedimentology and Stratigraphy

Permanent staff members:  Alessandro Iannace, Mariano Parente
Carbonate rocks are of paramount economic importance as reservoirs of groundwater and of petroleum, as building stones and as raw material for concrete and cement. But they are even more important as a source of information on the evolution of the Earth System during the geological past. In particular, the carbonate rocks which make the backbone of the southern Apennines represent a 150-myr time-window (Late Triassic–Late Cretaceous) on climate and ecosystem evolution in thetropical shallow waters of the Mesozoic western Tethys. Our research group at the Department of Earth Sciences, Environment and resources of the University of Naples Federico II has a wide expertise in the field of carbonate sedimentology, stratigraphy ad micropaleontology. Our main research topics comprise: the stratigraphy and facies evolution of Meso-Cenozoic carbonates of the peri-Adriatic area; the genesis and distribution of dolomites in the carbonate platform and basinal successions of the southern Apennines; the petrography, geochemistry and genesis of calcareous tufa and travertines of southern Italy; the record of oceanic anoxic events and ocean acidification in the Mesozoic carbonate platforms of southern Italy; the chronostratigraphic calibration of carbonate platform biostratigraphy by isotope stratigraphy (carbon and strontium isotopes).

Main collaborations: Elisabetta Erba (Università di Milano, Italy), Karl Föllmi (University of Lausanne, Switzerland), Thomas Steuber (The Petroleum Institute, UAE), Hugh Jenkyns (University of Oxford, UK), Esmeralda Caus (Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain), Gianluca Frijia (Università di Ferrara, Italy), Gyorgy Less (University of Miskolc, Hungary), Marta Gasparrini and Fadi Nader (IFPEN, France).


Recent research projects:

2007-2009. Upper Cretaceous Larger Foraminifera biozonation (KSBZ) and its correlation with pelagic organisms and isotope stratigraphy: a high-resolution tool in reconstructing palaeobiogeography, palaeoceanography and palaeoclimatology. Coordinator of Napoli Research Unit: Mariano Parente. Principal Investigator: Prof. Esmeralda Caus, Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona (Spain). Funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitivity.

2009-2011. La deformazione nelle rocce carbonatiche: implicazioni per la caratterizzazione e la modellizzazione dei serbatoi naturali di geofluidi. Coordinator of Napoli Research Unit: Alessandro Iannace. Funded by Italian Ministry of Education and Research.

2009-2011. Patterns of survival and recovery of Larger Foraminifera after the mass extinction of the Cenomanian-Turonian boundary (CTB). Coordinator of Napoli Research Unit: Mariano Parente. Principal Investigator: Prof. Esmeralda Caus, Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona (Spain). Funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitivity.

2012-2014. Case-studies for Sr-isotope-ratio-based numerical dating of Senonian and Oligocene- Miocene geological events in the Western Tethys and adjacent seas. Coordinator of Napoli Research Unit: Mariano Parente. Principal Investigator: Prof. Gyorgy Less, University of Miskolc (Ungary). Funded by the Hungarian Agency for scientific research (OTKA).

2013-2015. The Late Cretaceous Global Community maturation Cycle: tempo and mode of larger foraminifera evolution and their relations with climate and sea-level changes. Coordinator of Napoli Research Unit: Mariano Parente. Principal Investigator: Prof. Esmeralda Caus, Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona (Spain). Funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitivity.

2013-2015. CO2 excess in the geological record: biotic response to hyperthermals and ocean acidification. Coordinator of Napoli Research Unit: Mariano Parente. Principal investigator: Prof. Elisabetta Erba, Univ. di Milano. Funded by Italian Ministry of Education and Research (PRIN 2010-11).

2017-2019. Sr-isotope stratigraphy and structural analysis of the Miocene shallow-water carbonates sealing the forebulge unconformity in the central-southern Apennine. Principal investigator: Prof. Mariano Parente. Funded by the University of Naples Federico II.


PhD Theses.

2017-     : Monia Sabbatino, “Sr-isotope stratigraphy and structural analysis of the Upper Cretaceous and Miocene shallow water carbonates bracketing the forebulge unconformity in the Central-Southern Apennine”

2016-     : Mariarosaria Martino, “Calcareous nannoplankton biostratigraphy of Mesozoic Carbonate Units of the Zagros and Hellenides fold-and-thrust belts”

2015 -     : Francesco Vinci, “Controls of mechanical stratigraphy on multi-scale fracture development in platform carbonates”.

2013 - 2015: Monica Girundo, “Analisi multiscalare di successioni calcareo-dolomitiche: valutazione delle relazioni quantitative tra stato di fratturazione e caratteristiche meccanico-tessiturali delle rocce carbonatiche”.

2009-2012: Alberto Trecalli, “The record of the early Toarcian and Early Aptian oceanic anoxic events in the Apenninic Carbonate Platform (Southern Italy)".

2009-2012: Tatyana Gabellone, “Dolomitization in basinal limestones of the Lagonegro Units: from early diagenesis to tectonically-driven fluid flow”. Tatyana Gabellone is carbonate reservoir geologist at Eni, Milano, Italy.

2006-2010: Laura Galluccio, “Dolomites within the Mesozoic carbonates of Sorrento peninsula (Southern Apennines - Italy): genetic models and reservoir implications”. Laura Galluccio is Reservoirs Technical Work Group Leader at Badley Ashton/PDO, UK.

2005-2009: Matteo Di Lucia, “The record of middle Cretaceous global changes in southern Apennines carbonate platforms”. Matteo Di Lucia  is senior thin section micropaleontologist at RPS energy, UK.

2003-2007: Gianluca Frijia, “Isotope stratigraphy of the Upper Cretaceous shallow-water carbonates of southern Apennines”. Gianluca Frijia is associate researcher at the University of Ferrara.


Recent papers (2008-2018)


Tavani, S., Parente, M., Puzone, F., Corradetti, A., Gharabeigli, G., Valinejad, M., Morsalnejad, D., and Mazzoli, S., 2018. The seismogenic fault system of the 2017 Mw 7.3 Iran-Iraq earthquake: constraints from surface and subsurface data, cross-section balancing and restoration, Solid Earth Discuss.,

Massaro, L., Corradetti, A., Vinci, F., Tavani, S., Iannace, A., Parente, M., & Mazzoli, S., 2018. Multiscale fracture analysis in a reservoir-scale carbonate platform exposure (Sorrento peninsula, Italy): implications for fluid flow. Geofluids, 2018(10), 1–10. doi: 10.1155/2018/7526425

Posenato, R., Bassi, D., Trecalli, A., & Parente, M., 2018. Taphonomy and evolution of Lower Jurassic lithiotid bivalve accumulations in the Apennine Carbonate Platform (southern Italy). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 489, 261–271. doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2017.10.017


Corradetti, A., Tavani, S., Parente, M., Iannace, A., Vinci, F., Pirmez,C., Torrieri, S., Giorgioni, M., Pignalosa, A., Mazzoli, S., 2017. Distribution and arrest of vertical through- going joints in a seismic-scale carbonate platform exposure (Sorrento peninsula, Italy): insights from integrating field survey and digital outcrop model. Journal of Structural Geology, doi: 10.1016/ j.jsg.2017.09.009.

Cruz-Abad, E., Consorti, L., Di Lucia, M., Parente, M., Caus, E., 2017. Fissumella motolae n. gen. n. sp., a new soritoidean (Foraminifera) from the lowermost Albian carbonate platform facies of central and southern Italy. Cretaceous Research 78, 1–7,  doi: 10.1016/j.cretres.2017.05.024.

Rustichelli, A., Iannace, A., Tondi, E., Celma, C. D., Cilona, A., Giorgioni, M., Parente, M., Girundo, M. and Invernizzi, C., 2017. Fault-controlled dolomite bodies as palaeotectonic indicators and geofluid reservoirs: New insights from Gargano Promontory outcrops. Sedimentology. doi:10.1111/sed.12378

Benedetti, A., Less, G., Parente, M., Pignatti, J., Cahuzac, B., Torres­Silva, A.I., Buhl, D., 2017. Heterostegina matteuccii sp. nov. (Foraminiferida: Nummulitidae) from the lower Oligocene of Sicily and Aquitaine: a possible transatlantic immigrant. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, DOI: 10.1080/14772019.2016.1272009

Vinci, F., Iannace, A., Parente, M., Pirmez, C., Torrieri, S., & Giorgioni, M., 2017. Early dolomitization in the Lower Cretaceous shallow-water carbonates of Southern Apennines (Italy): Clues about palaeoclimatic fluctuations in western Tethys. Sedimentary Geology 362: 17–36. doi: 10.1016/j.sedgeo.2017.10.007


Giorgioni M., Iannace A., D’Amore, M., Dati, F., Galluccio L., Guerriero V., Mazzoli S., Parente, M., Strauss, C., Vitale, S., 2016. Impact of early dolomitization on multi-scale petrophysical heterogeneities and fracture intensity of low-porosity platform carbonates (Albian-Cenomanian, southern Apennines, Italy). Marine and Petroleum Geology, 73, 462–478. doi: 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2016.03.011

Tavani, S., Vitale, S., Grifa, C., Iannace, A., Parente, M., Mazzoli, S., 2016. Introducing dolomite seams: hybrid compaction-solution bands in dolomitic limestones. Terra Nova, 28, 195–201. doi: 10.1111/ter.12210

Arriaga, M. E., Frijia, G.,  Parente, M., Caus, E., 2016. Benthic foraminifera in the aftermath of the Cenomanian-Turonian boundary extinction event in the carbonate platform facies of the southern Apennines (Italy). Journal of Foraminiferal Research, 46, 9–24

Schlagintweit, F., Frijia, G., Parente, M., 2016. Sarmentofascis zamparelliae n. sp., a new demosponge from the lower Campanian of southern Italy. Cretaceous Research, 57, 157–164. doi: 10.1016/j.cretres.2015.07.018

Caus, E. Frijia, G., Parente, M., Robles-Salcedo, R., Villalonga, R., 2016. Constraining the age of the last marine sediments in the Late Cretaceous of central south Pyrenees (NE Spain): Insights from larger benthic foraminifera and strontium isotope stratigraphy. Cretaceous Research, 57, 402–416. doi: 10.1016/j.cretres.2015.05.012.


Lechler, M., Pogge von Strandmann, P.A.E., Jenkyns, H.C., Prosser, G., Parente, M., 2015. Lithium-isotope evidence for enhanced silicate weathering during OAE 1a (Early Aptian Selli event). Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 43, 210-222. doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2015.09.052

Föllmi, K.B., Hofmann, H., Chiaradia, M., de Kaenel, E., Frijia, G., Parente, M., 2015. Miocene phosphate-rich sediments in Salento (southern Italy). Sedimentary Geology, 327, 55–71. doi:10.1016/j.sedgeo.2015.07.009

Tavani, S., Vignaroli, G., Parente M., 2015. Transverse vs longitudinal extension in the foredeep-peripheral bulge system: role of Cretaceous structural inheritances during Early Miocene extensional faulting in inner central Apennines Belt. Tectonics, 34, 1412–1430. doi: 10.1002/2015TC003836

Frijia, G., Parente, M., Di Lucia, M., & Mutti, M., 2015. Carbon and strontium isotope stratigraphy of the Upper Cretaceous (Cenomanian-Campanian) shallow-water carbonates of southern Italy: Chronostratigraphic calibration of larger foraminifera biostratigraphy. Cretaceous Research, 53, 110–139. doi:10.1016/j.cretres.2014.11.002

Rustichelli, A., Iannace, A. and Girundo, M. (2015a) Dolomitization impact on fracture density in pelagic carbonates: contrasting case studies from the Gargano Promontory and the Southern Apennines (Italy). Italian J. Geosci., 134, 556–575.


Albrich, S., Frijia, G., Parente M., Caus, E., 2014. The evolution of the earliest representatives of the genus Orbitoides: implications for Late Cretaceous biostratigraphy. Cretaceous Research, 51, 22–34. DOI: 10.1016/j.cretres.2014.04.013

Gabellone, T, Iannace, A & Gasparrini, M 2014, ‘Multiple dolomitization episodes in deep-water limestones of the Triassic Lagonegro basin (southern Italy): from early reflux to tectonically driven fluid flow’. Journal of Sedimentary Research, vol 84., pp. 435-456

Iannace A., Frijia G., Galluccio L., Parente M.  2014.  Facies and early dolomitization in Upper Albian shallow-water carbonates of the southern Apennines (Italy): paleotectonic and paleoclimatic implications. Facies, doi:10.1007/s10347-013-0362-4.

Ascione A., Iannace A., Imbriale P., Santangelo N. and Santo A. 2014 Tufa and travertines of southern Italy: deep-seated, fault- related CO2 as the key control in precipitation. Terra Nova, 1: 1 – 13.


Caus, E., Parente, M., Vicedo, V., Frijia, G., Martinez, R., 2013. Broeckina gassoensis sp. nov., a larger foraminiferal index fossil for the middle Coniacian shallow-water deposits of the Pyrenean Basin (NE Spain). Cretaceous Research, 45, 76–90. DOI:  10.1016/j.cretres.2013.08.002

Gabellone T., Gasparrini M., Iannace A., Invernizzi C., Mazzoli S. & D’Antonio M., 2013. Fluid channeling along thrust zones: the Lagonegro case history, southern Apennines, Italy. Geofluids, doi: 10.1111/gfl.12020.

Tavani S., Iannace A., Mazzoli S., Vitale S. & Parente M. 2013. Late Cretaceous extensional tectonics in Adria: insights from soft-sediment deformation in the Sorrento Peninsula (southern Apennines). Journal of Geodynamics, 68, 49-59, doi: 10.1016/j.jog.2013.03.005.


Di Lucia  M.,  Trecalli A., Mutti, M., Parente M. 2012. Bio-chemostratigraphy of the Barremian-Aptian shallow-water carbonates of the southern Apennines (Italy): pinpointing the OAE1a in a Tethyan carbonate platform. Solid Earth, 3, 1–28. doi:10.5194/se-3-1-2012

Iannace A., Gasparrini M., Gabellone T. & Mazzoli S. 2012. Late dolomitization in basinal limestones of the southern Apennines fold and thrust belt (Italy). Oil & Gas Science and Technology – Rev. IFP Energies nouvelles, 67, 59-75, doi: 10.2516/ogst/2011166.

Martin-Rojas, I., R. Somma. F. Delgado, A. Estevez, A. Iannace, V. Zamparelli, 2012. The Triassic platform of the Gador-Turon unit (Alpujarride complex, Betic Cordillera, southeast Spain): climate versus tectonic factors controlling platform architecture. Facies, p. 297-323

Trecalli, A.,  Spangenberg, J., Adatte, T., Föllmi, K.B., Parente, M., 2012. Carbonate platform evidence of ocean acidification at the onset of the early Toarcian oceanic anoxic event. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 357–358, 214–225 doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2012.09.043


Boix C., Frijia G., Vicedo V., Bernaus J.M., Di Lucia M., Parente M. , Caus E. 2011.  Larger Foraminifera distribution and strontium isotope stratigraphy of the La Cova limestones (Coniacian−Santonian, “Serra del Montsec”, Pyrenees, NE Spain). Cretaceous Research, 32 (6), 806-822. doi: 10.1016/j.cretres.2011.05.009

Iannace A., Capuano M. & Galluccio, L. 2011. "Dolomites and dolomites" in Mesozoic platform carbonates of the Southern Apennines: Geometric distribution, petrography and geochemistry. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 310 (3-4), 324-339.

Vicedo V.,  Frijia G., Parente M. & Caus E. 2011. The Late Cretaceous genera Cuvillierinella, Cyclopseudedomia and Rhapydionina (Rhapydioninidae, Foraminiferida) in shallow water carbonates of Pylos (Peloponnese, Greece). Journal of Foraminiferal Research, 41 (2), 167–181. doi: 10.2113/gsjfr.41.2.167


Brandano M., Morsilli  M.,  Vannucci G., Parente M.,  Bosellini  F.   & Mateu-Vicens  G. 2010. Rhodolith-rich lithofacies of the Porto Badisco Calcarenites (upper Chattian, Salento, southern Italy). Ital.J.Geosci. (Boll.Soc.Geol.It.), Vol. 129, No. 1, 119-131, doi: 10.3301/IJG.2009.10

Parente M., Frijia G. & Di Lucia M. 2010. Comment on "Sea-level control on facies architecture in the Cenomanian-Coniacian Apulian margin (Western Tethys): A record of glacio-eustatic fluctuations during the Cretaceous greenhouse?" by Galeotti S., Rusciadelli G., Sprovieri M., Lanci L., Gaudio A., Pekar S., 2009. [Palaeogeogr. Palaeoclimatol.Palaeoecol. 276, 196-205], Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 293, 255−259, doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2009.11.035


Senowbari Daryan B., Iannace a., Zamparelli V. Discosiphonella minima Senowbari-Daryan and Solenolmia? parva n. sp. ("Sphinctozoa", Porifera) from the Upper Triassic (Norian) of the Southern Appennines (northern Calabria/Italy) Rivista Italiana di Paleontologia e Stratigrafia, 115 (2):199-208.

I. Martin-Rojas, R. Somma, F. Delgado, A. Estvez, A. Iannace, V. Perrone, V. Zamparelli Triassic continental rifting of Pangea: direct evidence from the Alpujarride carbonates, Betic Cordillera, SE Spain, Journal Of The Geological Society, 166: 447-458,


Frijia G. & Parente M., 2008. Reticulinella kaeveri CHERCHI, RADOIČIĆ & SCHROEDER: a marker for the middle-upper Turonian in the shallow-water carbonate facies of the peri-adriatic area.  Boll.Soc.Geol.It. (Ital.J.Geosci.), Vol. 127/2, 275-284.

Frijia G. & Parente M., 2008. Strontium-isotope stratigraphy in the upper Cenomanian shallow-water carbonates of southern Apennines: short-term perturbations of marine 87Sr/86Sr  during the oceanic anoxic event 2. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 261/1-2, 15-29, doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2008.01.003.

Galluccio  L., Frijia G., Iannace A., Mazzoli S.,  Parente  M., Vitale S., Giorgioni M.& D’Amore M., 2008. Diagenesis and petrophysics of dolomite in the “Middle” Cretaceous of the Sorrento Peninsula (Southern Apennines). Rendiconti online Soc. Geol. It., Vol. 2,  79–84

Iannace A., Galluccio L., Guerriero V., Mazzoli S., Parente M. & Vitale, S. 2008. Dolomites within the Mesozoic carbonates of Southern Apennines (Italy): Genetic models and reservoir implications. Rendiconti Online Societa Geologica Italiana, 2, 109-114.

Parente M., Frijia G., Di Lucia M., Jenkyns H.C., Woodfine R.G. & Baroncini F., 2008. Stepwise extinction of larger foraminifera at the Cenomanian–Turonian boundary: a shallow-water perspective on nutrient fluctuations during Oceanic Anoxic Event 2 (Bonarelli Event). Geology, 36/9, 715–718, doi: 10.1130/G24893A.1.

Schlüter M., Steuber T. & Parente M., 2008.Chronostratigraphy of Campanian-Maastrichtian platform carbonates and rudist associations of Salento (Apulia, Italy). Cretaceous Research, 29, 100-114, doi:10.1016/j.cretres.2007.04.005.

Schlüter M., Steuber T.,  Parente M.  & Mutterlose J., 2008. Evolution of a Maastrichtian-Paleocene tropical shallow-water carbonate platform (Qalhat, NE Oman). Facies, 54, 513–527, doi: 10.1007/s10347-008-0150-8.