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AuthorsDe Gregorio, S.* 
Diliberto, I. S.* 
Giammanco, S.* 
Gurrieri, S.* 
Valenza, M.* 
TitleTectonic control over large-scale diffuse degassing in eastern Sicily (Italy)
Issue Date2002
Series/Report no.2 (2002)
diffuse degassing
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.02. Exploration geophysics::04.02.01. Geochemical exploration 
04. Solid Earth::04.04. Geology::04.04.12. Fluid Geochemistry 
04. Solid Earth::04.07. Tectonophysics::04.07.07. Tectonics 
AbstractEastern Sicily (southern Italy) is characterised by the presence of many natural gas emissions (mofettes, mud volcanoes). These gases are mostly carbon dioxide and methane, with minor amounts of helium, hydrogen, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons. In this study, the extent and orientation of soil gas anomalies (He and CO2) were investigated on a wide area (approximately 110 km2) located just SW of Mt. Etna. From a structural point of view, this area lays on a typical foredeep–foreland system that marks the boundary between the southern part of the Eurasian plate and the northern part of the African plate in the central Mediterranean. No tectonic structure was revealed in this area by surface geological surveys. Very high soil emissions were found, and their spatial pattern reveals the existence of some active faults all directed about N508E. This direction coincides with that of two major fault systems that cut eastern Sicily and are evident, respectively, NE and SW of the study area. Soil gas data suggest that these fault systems are the expression of a single continuous structural line which is probably responsible for the past and present magma uprise in eastern Sicily. Isotopic values of carbon of CO2 suggest a minor contribution of organic carbon. Moreover, in the highest degassing sites the isotopic values of He found in association with CO2 (He abundance¼11–70 p.p.m.; R/Ra between 6.0 and 6.2) suggest that both gases are mantle derived. The extent of the areas affected by high gas emissions and the amounts of deep CO2 emitted in the investigated area (several hundred tonnes per day) may provide additional supporting evidence of a mantle upwelling taking place beneath this region.
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