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GEOPHYSICAL MODELING AND MICROGEOPHYSICS

 
Research group
Professors and researchers: Rosa Di Maio (Scientific Responsible), Silvia Fabbrocino, Nicola Scafetta
Postdocs, PhD students and fellows: Mauro La Manna, Cecilia Mancini, Ester Piegari, Payal Rani 
 
The research group deals with different aspects of Applied Geophysics mainly concerning the geophysical modeling of crustal structures in small-and medium-scale and the modeling of natural and environmental hazards (seismic, volcanic, hydrogeological, soil and groundwater pollution). The various issues faced by the group are related to the following research areas: i) development of new methodologies for analysis and inversion of electric, electromagnetic and thermographic data and their application to geoenvironmental, volcano-geothermal, hydrogeological, engineering and archaeological studies; ii) development of numerical models for characterizing the behaviour of complex natural systems (tools: fractals, self-organized criticality theory, cellular-automata models); iii) formulation of empirical relationships between geophysical and geotechnical/hydrogeological parameters to asses stability conditions of potential landslide slopes with applications to high-risk areas of the Italian Territory.
A further research topic addressed by the group is the development of new procedures for the acquisition, analysis and interpretation of geophysical data for micro-scale prospecting and their application to non-destructive testing of architectural structures of engineering and/or Cultural Heritage interest. 
 
Main research activities
 
Modellizzazione  Fig. 1
Forecast of natural disasters (earthquakes and volcanic eruptions) through analysis of electric precursors
 
The study focuses on a physical modeling based on the Onsanger’s coupled flow theory, which is able to describe the electrokinetic effects that are observed in pre-seismic (or eruptive) phase, due to dilatancy-diffusion phenomena in rocks under stress. Applications of the model to self-potential data acquired in the Mt. Somma-Vesuvius and Phaegrean Fields volcanic districts, outlined significant information on the physical mechanisms that very likely control their feeding systems.
 
 
 
Structural and physical definition of active volcanic areas or complex aquifer systems
 
Modellizzazione Fig. 2
 
The study is aimed at the diagnosis and evaluation of the main factors that affect the vulnerability of volcanic or hydrogeological risk areas. It is based on modeling of shallow and deep geological structures by electric and electromagnetic data acquired in the main Italian volcanic district (e.g. Mt. Etna, Vulcano and Ischia islands, Somma-Vesuvius district, Phlegraean Fields) or hydrogeological and environmental risk areas (e.g. Sarno river, Solofrana river Valley).
 
 -  Modeling and simulation by cellular automata of  landslide processes, volcanic eruptions and pollution phenomena
The research focuses on: i) reproduction of statistics of landslide and eruption events as results from the analysis of experimental catalogues; ii) development of empirical relationships between geophysical and/or hydrogeological parameters; iii) integration of experimental geophysical and/or hydrogeological  data and self-organized criticality models; iv) simulation of diffusion processes of pollutant in soils and
 
groundwater. Modellizzazione Fig.-3
Snapshot from a temporal sequence which simulates one of the possible processes of magma rising toward the surface. Blue areas show the formation and evolution of solid-filled dikes.
 
-  Modeling and analysis of statistical coherence between the time series of natural disasters (earthquakes and volcanic eruptions) and events of climatic and oceanic changes.
 
The research focuses on the statistical and fractal analysis of earthquake and eruption catalogs to determine relationships with climate changes (rain, atmospheric pressure, snow) and oceanic changes (PDO, AMO, SL, tides).
 
 

Micro-geophysics

 
LThe research activities in this context are finalized to the definition of the complete exploration process from the acquisition of data to their analysis, representation and interpretation. The developed procedures are suitable to be used in all the geophysical surveys that require high resolution, i.e. archaeological prospecting at the small and medium scale levels (e.g. individuation of buried anthropical remains) and investigation at the micro-scale (e.g. assessment of the conservation level of architectural structures). The study is performed through a multi-methodological and multi-disciplinary approach that involves collaboration between different skills. Innovative element of the research is, in fact, the synergy between scientific areas (e.g. earth sciences, engineering, architecture) and humanistic branchs (e.g. archeology), which is able to produce, thanks to the high-definition surveying, significant results in the Cultural Heritage field in terms of degradation monitoring and restoration planning

 

Collaborations
- Prof. V. Achilli, Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile, Edile e Ambientale, Università di Padova
- Prof. J. Bonetto, Dipartimento dei Beni Culturali, Università di Padova
- Dr G. Cecere, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Sede Irpinia, Grottaminarda (AV)
- Dr P. De Martino, Osservatorio Vesuviano, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Sezione di Napoli
- Dr M. Grimaldi, Università Suor Orsola Benincasa, Napoli
- Dr C. Maierhofer, Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM), Berlino
- Dr Ing. C. Meola, Dipartimento di Ingegneria Industriale, Università di Napoli Federico II
- Dr E. Pettinelli, Dipartimento di Matematica e Fisica, Università Roma TRE
- Prof. R. Scandone, Dipartimento di Matematica e Fisica, Università Roma TRE, Roma
- Dr R. Supper, Geological Survey of Austria, Vienna
 
Selected publications
Di Maio R., Piegari E., Mancini C., 2015: Numerical study of conductive heat losses from a magmatic source at Phlegraean Fields. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 290, 75-81, doi: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2014.12.007.
Di Maio R., Piegari E., Todero G., Fabbrocino S., 2015: A combined use of Archie and van Genuchten models for predicting hydraulic conductivity of unsaturated pyroclastic soils. Journal of Applied Geophysics, 112, 249-255, doi:10.1016/j.jappgeo.2014.12.002.
Scafetta N., Mazzarella, A., 2015. Spectral coherence between climate oscillations and the M≥7 earthquake historical worldwide record. Natural Hazard, in press, doi: 10.1007/s11069-014-1571-z.
Piegari E., Di Maio R., 2014: Simulations of landslide hazard scenarios by a geophysical safety factor. Natural Hazards, 73(1), 63-76, doi:10.1007/s11069-013-0769-9.
Di Maio R., Fabbrocino S., Forte G., Piegari E., 2014: A three-dimensional hydrogeological-geophysical model of a multi-layered aquifer in the coastal alluvial plain of Sarno River (southern Italy). Hydrogeology Journal, 22, 691-703, doi:10.1007/s10040-013-1087-8.
Piegari E., Di Maio R., Avella A., 2013: Recurrence time distribution and temporal clustering properties of a cellular automaton modelling landslide events. Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics, 20, 1071-1078, doi:10.5194/npg-20-1071-2013.
Di Maio R., Cecere G., De Martino P., Piegari E., 2013: Electric effects induced by artificial seismic sources at Somma-Vesuvius volcano. Special Issue: Vesuvius monitoring and knowledge. Annals of Geophysics, 56(4), S0445(12), doi:10.4401/ag-6451.
Piegari E., Di Maio R., Scandone R., 2013: Analysis of the activity pattern of volcanoes through self-organized crack networks: the effect of density barriers. An application to Vesuvius activity in the period 1631-1944. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 371-372, 269-277, doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2013.03.035.
De Vita P., Di Maio R., Piegari E., 2012: A study of the correlation between electrical resistivity and matric suction for unsaturated ash-fall pyroclastic soils in the Campania Region (southern Italy). Environmental Earth Sciences, 67(3), 787-798, doi:10.1007/s12665-012-1531-4.
Di Maio R., Meola C., Grimaldi M., Pappalardo U., 2012: New insights for conservation of Villa Imperiale (Pompeii, Italy) through non-destructive exploration. International Journal of Architectural Heritage, 6(5), 562-578, doi:10.1080/15583058.2011.593392.
Di Maio R., Piegari E., 2012: A study of the stability analysis of pyroclastic covers based on electrical resistivity measurements. Journal of Geophysics and Engineering, 9, 191-200, doi:10.1088/1742-2132/9/2/191.
Di Maio R., 2011: Electrical geophysical methods to non-destructive evaluation of architectural structures. In C. Meola (Ed.): "Recent Advances in non Destructive Inspection”, Series: Materials Science and Technologies, 191-225, Nova Science Publishers, Inc., New York (US), ISBN: 978-1-61668-550-8.
Di Maio R., Piegari E., 2011: Water storage mapping of pyroclastic covers through electrical resistivity measurements. Journal of Applied Geophysics, 75, 196-202, doi:10.1016/j.jappgeo. 2011.07.009.
Piegari E., Di Maio R., Scandone R., Milano L., 2011: A cellular automaton model for magma ascent: degassing and styles of volcanic eruptions. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 202, 22-28, doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2011.01.007.
Passaro S., Budillon F., Ruggieri S., Bilotti G., Cipriani M., Di Maio R., D’Isanto C., Giordano F., Leggieri C., Marsella E., Soldovieri  M.G., 2009: Integrated geophysical investigation applied to the definition of buried and outcropping targets of archaeological relevance in very shallow water. Il Quaternario, 22(1), 33-38.
Piegari E., Cataudella V., Di Maio R., Milano L., Nicodemi M. and Soldovieri M.G., 2009: Electrical resistivity tomography and statistical analysis in landslide modelling: a conceptual approach. Journal of Applied Geophysics, 68, 151-158, doi:10.1016/j.jappgeo.2008.10.014.
Di Maio R., Piegari E., Scotellaro C., Soldovieri M.G., 2007: Resistivity tomographies to define thickness and water content of pyroclastic covers at Mt. di Vezzi (Ischia Island, Italy). Italian Journal of Engineering Geology and Environment, 2, 65-72, doi:10.4408/IJEGE.2007-02.O-05.
Carlomagno G.M., Di Maio R., Meola C., Roberti N., 2005: Infrared thermography and geophysical techniques in cultural heritage conservation. QIRT Journal, 2, 1, 5-24.
Meola C., Di Maio R., Roberti N., Carlomagno G.M., 2005: Application of infrared thermography and geophysical methods for defect detection in architectural structures. Engineering Failure Analysis, 12, 875-892. doi:10.1016/j.engfailanal.2004.12.030.
Scafetta N., West, B.J., 2004. Multi-scaling comparative analysis of time series and a discussion on 'earthquake conversations' in California. Physical Review Letters 92, 138501, doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.92.138501.