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Dr. Ilenia Arienzo, PhD – INGV-OV
Dr. Valeria Di Renzo, PhD – ARPAC
Dr. Fabio Carmine Mazzeo, PhD – DiSTAR
Dr. Raffaella S. Iovine – GZG, Göttingen, Germania
Dr. Gianluca Cirillo – DiSTAR
Dr. Carlo Pelullo – DiSTAR

Isotope Geochemistryis the branch of knowledge that employs the isotopic composition of naturally occurring chemical elements to either perform absolute dating of geological material samples, or trace geological processes.
The Radiogenic Isotope Geochemistry utilizes chemical elements generally having high atomic number, such as strontium, neodymium and lead. The isotopic composition of such elements varies as a consequence of their longer or shorter persistence in a “reservoir” of the Earth, that can be a portion of the mantle or crust. During such a permanence time, the radiogenic isotope of an element growths because of the radioactive decay of another, parent chemical element. For instance, 87Sr increases with time as a consequence of the radioactive decay of 87Rb.
The Stable Isotope Geochemistry utilizes the fractionation among the isotopes of a chemical element generally having low atomic number, such as hydrogen, boron, oxygen, nitrogen and sulphur. The isotopic fractionation consists in enrichment of a lighter isotope relative to a heavier isotope, and vice versa, of a chemical element, in the course of natural processes, such as: transformation of minerals during a metamorphic event; precipitation of secondary minerals during diagenesis or pedogenesis; water evaporation or condensation; organic matter generation through photosynthesis of chemosynthesis; open-system magmatic evolution.
Isotope Geochemistryprovides efficient tools for investigating several geological processes, such as: assimilation of crustal rocks by a crystallizing magma; mixing among distinct magma batches; mixing among water masses of variable provenance; mixing among clasts of variable composition in a sedimentary basin. In volcanology, 87Sr/86Sr, 143Nd/144Nd, 206Pb/204Pb and d11B values allow drawing of isotope chemostratigraphies for the reconstruction, in conjunction with the variation of other geochemical parameters, of the evolution through time of the magmatic feeding system of a volcano, even during a single eruption. In petrology, the isotopic tracers, combined with trace element contents and ratios, allow quantitative modelling of magma source regions, as well as genesis and evolution processes of magmas in different geodynamic settings on Earth. Combining radiogenic and stable isotopes (see figure; Iovine et al., 2017) allows discriminating between mantle source enrichment processes involving sedimentary components, from crustal contamination processes. Moreover, stable isotopes allow estimating the equilibrium temperature of magmatic, metamorphic and metallogenic processes.
Lastly, the isotopes of several metals allow tracing the effects of anthropogenic activities on both environment and man, such as: groundwater and soil pollution by industrial or agriculture wastewaters; soil pollution by aerosols containing tetraethyl lead from gasoline; pollution of human tissues by toxic metals, such as Pb, Cr and Cd.
Selected publications
Iovine R.S., Mazzeo F.C., Arienzo I., D’Antonio M., Wörner G., Civetta L., Pastore Z., Orsi G. (2017). Source and magmatic evolution inferred from geochemical and Sr-O-isotope data on hybrid lavas of Arso, the last eruption at Ischia island (Italy; 1302 AD). J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res., 331, 1-15,
Arienzo I., Mazzeo F.C., Moretti R., Cavallo A., D’Antonio M. (2016). Open-system magma evolution and fluid transfer at Campi Flegrei caldera (Southern Italy) during the past 5 ka as revealed by geochemical and isotopic data: The example of the Nisida eruption. Chem. Geol., 427, 109-124,
D’Antonio M., Mariconte R., Arienzo I., Mazzeo F.C., Carandente A., Perugini D., Petrelli M., Corselli C., Orsi G., Principato M.S., Civetta L. (2016). Combined Sr-Nd isotopic and geochemical fingerprinting as a tool for identifying tephra layers: Application to deep-sea cores from Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Chem. Geol., 443, 121-136,
Arienzo I., D’Antonio M., Di Renzo V., Minolfi G., Tonarini S., Orsi G., Carandente A., Belviso P., Civetta L. (2015). Isotopic microanalysis sheds light on the magmatic endmembers feeding volcanic eruptions: The Astroni 6 case study (Campi Flegrei, Italy). J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res., 304, 24-37,
Mazzeo F.C., D’Antonio M., Arienzo I., Aulinas M., Di Renzo V., Gimeno D. (2014). Subduction-related enrichment of the Phlegrean Volcanic District (Southern Italy) mantle source: new constraints on the characteristics of the sedimentary components. Chem. Geol., 386, 165-183,
Brown R., Civetta L., Arienzo I., D’Antonio M., Moretti R., Orsi G., Tomlinson E.L., Albert P.G., Menzies M. (2014). Assembly, evolution and disruption of a magmatic plumbing system before and after a cataclysmic caldera-collapse eruption at Ischia volcano (Italy). Contrib. Mineral. Petrol., 168, 1035,
Giordano F., D’Antonio M., Civetta L., Orsi G., Tonarini S., Ayalew D., Yirgu G., Dell’Erba F., Di Vito M.A., Isaia R. (2014). Genesis and evolution of mafic and felsic magmas at Quaternary volcanoes within the Main Ethiopian Rift: Insights from Gedemsa and Fanta ‘Ale complexes. Lithos, 188, 130-144,
Arienzo I., Carandente A., Di Renzo V., Belviso P., Civetta L., D’Antonio M., Orsi G. (2013). Sr and Nd isotope analysis at the Radiogenic Isotope Laboratory of the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Sezione di Napoli - Osservatorio Vesuviano. Rapporti Tecnici INGV, 260, pp. 1-18 (
D’Antonio M., Tonarini S., Arienzo I., Civetta L., Dallai L., Moretti R., Orsi G., Andria M., Trecalli A. (2013). Mantle and crustal processes in the magmatism of the Campania region: inferences from mineralogy, geochemistry, and Sr-Nd-O isotopes of young hybrid volcanics of the Ischia island (south Italy). Contrib. Mineral. Petrol., 165(6), 1173-1194,
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, 13, 140-158,
Di Renzo V., Arienzo I., Civetta L., D’Antonio M., Tonarini S., Di Vito M.A., Orsi G. (2011). The magmatic feeding system of the Campi Flegrei caldera: architecture and temporal evolution. Chem. Geol., 281, 227-241,
Di Vito M.A., Arienzo I., Braia G., Civetta L., D’Antonio M., Di Renzo V., Orsi G. (2011). The Averno 2 fissure eruption: a recent small-size explosive event at the Campi Flegrei caldera (Italy). Bull. Volcanol., 73, 295-320,
Tonarini S., D’Antonio M., Di Vito M.A., Orsi G., Carandente A. (2009). Geochemical and B-Sr-Nd isotopic evidence for mingling and mixing processes in the magmatic system that fed the Astroni volcano (4.1-3.8 ka) within the Campi Flegrei caldera (southern Italy). Lithos, 107, 135-151,
Brotzu P., Melluso L., Bennio L., Gomes C.B., Lustrino M., Morbidelli L., Morra V., Ruberti E., Tassinari C., D’Antonio M. (2007). Petrogenesis of the Early Cenozoic potassic alkaline complex of Morro de São João, southeastern Brazil. J. S. Am. Earth Sci., 24, 93-115,