National scale mapping of continental margins geohazard features: the Italian MaGIC project
Presented by Prof. Francesco Latino CHIOCCI on 23 Sep 2013 from 09:30 to 10:00
Type: Oral presentation, full-paper
Session: 01: The Italian experience
Track: Oral presentations
New mapping techniques allow us to define with unpreceded detail seafloor morphology; scientific literature is flooded with a growing number of researches based on high-resolution bathymetry and/or morphometry depicting new geological features and processes. Such techniques however will give an important, up to essential, contribute to the management of the marine areas by national agencies and local authorities; EU is heading in this direction with recent regulations and laws. In order to have a functional base for the management, a solid procedure for data acquisition, processing and interpretation is needed, providing homogeneous cartography in all the region. Moreover, the retrieving of all the collected data (mainly from scientific institutes) and their integration with new acquisition is also advisable. This is exactly the story of the Italian MAGIC (MArine Geohazard along the Italian Coast) project, a just-finished 5 years initiative, funded with 5.25 M€ by the National Civil Defense Department. The project involved the whole Italian marine geology scientific community (3 CNR institutes, 7 universities, OGS-Trieste) and provided 73 sheets of the “Map of Geohazard Features of the Italian Seas” plus a web-GIS database (Infor.Mare) to retrieve in real time all the maps present in scientific literature dealing with the marine geology of the Italian Seas. Some 39.000 nautical miles of multibeam data have been acquired and integrated with 10.000 from previous surveys. Almost 2/3 of the Italian coasts have been covered by the project as we excluded shallow epicontinental seas (e.g. Northern-central Adriatic, northern Tyrrhenian, Sicily Channel) as in general they host few geohazard features. The depth range we investigated is 50-1000m w.d. even if we reached shallower water at canyon head or everywhere needed and we stop deeper (80-90m) where wide shelves were present. The setting-up of common procedures for data acquisition, processing, interpretation and cartographic representation has been complex and reiterative due to the need of having a standard methods suitable for the different realms (shelf to slope, volcanic/rocky to sedimentary-covered seafloor, erosion dominated to deposition dominated environments, …) and trying to differentiate between morphological (objective) and genetic (interpretative) representation of the depicted features. The target has been achieved by the establishment of a complex and comprehensive nomenclature and legend, a four level of interpretation and cartographic representation, ranging in scale from 1:250.000 to 50.000 (mainly) and up to more detailed scales for specific point of interest. The Magic project has been very successful and the results exceeded the expectation. In fact we were able to: (1) furnish the country of a opertaive tool to identify geohazards and to manage emergencies; (2) highlight the extent (and the speed) of morphogenetic processes in geological active areas such the Italian Seas; (3) create a new generation of marine scientists and a very large database that will boost marine sciences researches for the decades to come.