GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 108-2
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


PITTS, Alan1, MCBRIDE, Randolph A.2, JABLONSKA, Danica3, DI CELMA, Claudio1 and TONDI, Emanuele1, (1)School of Science and Technology - Geology Division, University of Camerino, Piazza Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour, 19f, Camerino, 62032, Italy, (2)Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic, & Earth Sciences, George Mason University, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030, (3)Reservoir Characterization Project (, Camerino, 62032, Italy

This 5-week field camp, run as an international collaboration between George Mason University (GMU) and the University of Camerino (Unicam), offers geology and earth science majors a unique study abroad experience paired with a traditional summer geology field capstone course. This program is based in the central Apennine Mountains and the volcanic provinces surrounding Mt Vesuvius and Rome. Eight field-based projects are coordinated by GMU faculty with Unicam faculty and research staff to build a multidisciplinary and international approach to field geology education. The first portion of this course focuses on traditional bedrock mapping in the structurally complex carbonates of the Mesozoic Marche/Umbria succession and stratigraphic analysis of several syntectonic Miocene piggy-back and Plio/Pleistocene foredeep clastic basin successions. This initial phase of the course is designed as an integrated approach to build skills in geologic field methods while also providing an in-depth analysis of the regional Meso-Cenozoic tectonostratigraphic evolution of the Apennine fold-and-thrust belt. The second phase of the course investigates applied topics, requiring students to use their knowledge of the lithological and tectonic setting to identify, map, and evaluate seismic, landslide, and volcanic hazards. As a highlight of this portion of the course, students map active and capable faults of the Central Apennine Fault system and assess damage from the Amatrice-Visso-Norcia earthquakes of 2016 with special field seminars led by INGV (Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology) researchers. Subsequent to spending time in the Apennines, students then move to western Italy for two unique projects focused on recent volcanism in the Campanian and Roman Volcanic provinces and their impact on ancient Roman society and urban development. The first of these field projects include a case study of the 79 AD Vesuvius eruption as observed from the top of the stratovolcano, as well as volcanoclastic deposits that buried the ancient Roman settlements of Pompeii, Oplontis, and Herculaneum. The final project brings the field camp to study Maar volcanism in the Albani Hills, including a subsurface transverse through the flank of the Nemi volcanic structure and then investigating their flow and fall deposits observed inside the Roman metropolitan area. Based on the 3rd successful year of offering this field course with 16-18 students participating, the plan is to continue to offer this Italian geology field camp annually in June.