Research Article

Bulletin of Volcanology

, Volume 71, Issue 3, pp 275-284

First online:

Seismic images and rock properties of the very shallow structure of Campi Flegrei caldera (southern Italy)

  • Dario Dello IaconoAffiliated withDipartimento di Scienze Fisiche, Università di Napoli Federico II
  • , Aldo ZolloAffiliated withDipartimento di Scienze Fisiche, Università di Napoli Federico II Email author 
  • , Maurizio VassalloAffiliated withDipartimento di Scienze Fisiche, Università di Napoli Federico II
  • , Tiziana VanorioAffiliated withStanford Rock Physics Laboratory, Stanford University
  • , Sebastien JudenhercAffiliated withDipartimento di Scienze Fisiche, Università di Napoli Federico IIAgecodagis, sarl

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In September 2001, an extensive active-seismic investigation (Serapis experiment) was carried out in the Gulfs of Naples and Pozzuoli, with the aim of investigating and reconstructing the shallow crustal structure of the Campi Flegrei caldera, and possibly identifying its feeding system at depth. The present study provides a joint analysis of the very shallow seismic reflection data and tomographic images based on the Serapis dataset. This is achieved by reflection seismic sections obtained by the 3D data gathering and through refined P-velocity images of the shallowest layer of Pozzuoli Gulf (z < 1,000 m). From the refined Vp model, the overall picture of the velocity distribution confirms the presence of a complex arc-shaped anomaly that borders the bay offshore. The deeper part of the anomaly (beneath 700 m, with Vp > 3,500 m/s) correlates with units made up of agglomerate tuffs and interbedded lava, which form the southern edge of the caldera, which was probably formed following the two large ignimbritic eruptions that marked the evolutionary history of the area under study. The upper part of the anomaly that tends to split into two parallel arcs is correlated with dikes, volcanic mounds and hydrothermal alteration zones noted in previous shallow reflection seismic analyses. The depth of the transition between the upper and lower parts of the anomaly is characterized by an abrupt Vp increase on the one-dimensional (1D) profiles extracted from the 3D tomographic model and by the presence of a strong reflector located at about 0.6/0.7 s Two Way Time (TWT) on Common Mid Point gathers. The move-out velocity analysis and stack of the P–P and P–S reflections at the layer bottom allowed to estimate relatively high Vp/Vs values (3.7 ± 0.9). This hypothesis has been tested by a theoretical rock physical modeling of the Vp/Vs ratio as a function of porosity suggesting that the shallow layer is likely formed by incoherent, water saturated, volcanic and marine sediments that filled Pozzuoli Bay during the post-caldera activity.


Campi Flegrei caldera Shallow structure Seismic reflection