Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

Students will achieve the skills to understand main eruptive phenomena, with the aim to assess the parameters useful to the definition and mitigation of volcanic hazard. Moreover, it will be provided to the students the necessary knowledge to assess and enhance major resources in volcanic areas, both from a cultural and economical point of view.

Course contents

The course is arranged into three parts: the first focused, in summary, to give a knowledge on the types of eruptive phenomena; the second to define the effects of these on the ground and to characterize the volcanic risk and its mitigation; the third part is aimed to implement all the knowledge necessary to consider the volcanic areas as resource, both in terms of energy use and as a "reservoir" of culture.


I - Owerview

History of volcanology: the major eruptions in historical times.

The “volcano” system.

Dynamics of volcanic eruptions.

a)    precursory phenomena and monitoring.


II - Volcanic risk

Volcanic risk and hazard: definitions.

Evaluation of volcanic hazard from:

a)    lava flows: morphology and rheology;

b)    fallout deposits: mass load evaluation;

c)    pyroclastic density currents: evaluation of velocity, type of movement and impact strength;

d)    gravitational instability, volcano-tectonic collapses and tsumasis;

e)    volcanic gases;

f)     subglacial eruptions.


Volcanic hazard – effect of the eruptions.

Monitoring active volcanic areas and precursor phenomena.

Processing hazard maps.

Principles of management of volcanic crises, hazard and risk.


III - Volcanic resources

Volcanoes and the environment.

The use of geothermal energy.

Assessment of volcanic aquifers.

From eruptions to buildings: the volcanic geomaterials.

Volcanoes as cultural resources.

Biodiversity in volcanic soils.



Teacher in charge: Dott. C.A. Tranne.

Assistent teacher/s: Dott. F. Lucchi.

The course is organized into 32 hours of frontal lessons (4 CFU) + 12 hours of practice exercises/excursions (1 CFU) for a total of 44 hours of didactic activity (4 CFU).


  • Main references

    •  Barberi F., Santacroce R., Carapezza M.L. (2005). Terra pericolosa: terremoti, eruzioni vulcaniche, frane, alluvioni, tsunami : perché avvengono e come possiamo difenderci. ETS.

    •  Martì J. & Ernst G.G.J. (2005). Volcanoes and the environment. Cambrige University press. ed.

    •  McGuire B., Kilburn C. R. J., Murray J. (1995) Monitoring Active volcanoes. Strategies, procedures and techiniques. UCL Press.

    •  Parfitt E. & Wilson L. (2009). Fundamentals of Physical volcanology. Blackwell Publishing. 

    •  Scandone R., L. Giacomelli L. (1998). Vulcanologia: principi fisici e metodi d'indagine. Liguori editore.

    •  Schminke H.U. .  Volcanism. (2004). Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg.

    •   Sigurdsson H.. Encyclopedia of Volcanoes. (2000 )Accademic press, San Diego, U.S.A.

  • Papale P. (2014): Volcanic hazards, Risks and Disaster. Elsevier, UK, pp. 505 

Teaching methods

Lessons on theory performed by adopting up-to-date techniques in didactics (e.g. powerpoint and keynote presentations). Use of original iconographic stuff (outcrop photos) depicting volcanic structures and deposits which have been treated during the lessons on theory.

The course will enjoy the occurrence of a conclusive field event when the students will examine the deposits related to the high hazard eruptions of the Aeolian islands, Etna, Vesuvio and Campi Flegrei.

Assessment methods

Verification of learning will take place by means of a test, integrated by a test on field and/or an oral exam aimed at verifying the theory knowledges of the student about volcanism. Moreover, the ability to put together theory knowledges and field work data will be tested. 

Teaching tools

Video-projector linked to computer.

Office hours

See the website of Claudio Antonio Tranne