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    Outreach and social implications

    Italian geology is dominated by Quaternary deposits and landforms, but especially the region of Rome shows almost the whole suite of Quaternary features.

    In the 1878 geological map (bottom of this page), these are evident and impressive.

    The seven hills of Rome are made up of Pleistocene pyroclastic deposits resting upon Pliocene and Lower Pleistocene marine deposits. The Tiber River valley was deeply cut during the last glacial maximum (see figure) and nowadays is filled up with tens of meters of Holocene deposits. On the coast, the Tiber River delta, the largest of the Tyrrhenian Sea, is made up of transgressive and highstand deposits of the last eustatic cycle.

    OutreachThe limestone Apennine relieves are deeply karstified and host relevant aquifers, which formed large travertine shields when they meet volcanic hydrothermal systems. Travertine and pyroclastics are therefore the main building materials of roman buildings (from the Roman Empire to the University campus), being the basaltic/trachytic lava flows the source for the typical cobblestone (sanpietrino) of ancient Rome streets. 

    Along the coast north of Rome the crustal heating due to volcanic activity caused MIS 11, 9 and 5e highstand deposits to rise and form a flight of coastal terraces, whereas south of Rome, eolian deposit dating back to the last glaciation bounds to the sea a wide marshland that was reclaimed only in historical time.

    Unfortunately also hazards due occur, to on-going geological processes. Shallow frequent seismicity threatens the Alban Hills volcano near Rome, while the Albano crater lake is a potential hazard site for local population, as outflows and sudden gas release are known since historical times. Flash floods characterise the creeks on the coast north of Rome, sinkholes are occurring frequently, whilst beach erosion is a relevant problem for the highly-exploited seashore on the whole region. This is the reason why a number of institutions and research institutes carry out research on Quaternary subjects; all of them will be involved in the organisation of the XXI INQUA Congress.

    Given the relevance of Quaternary subjects, not only the research community but also the National and local governmental agencies, industries and general public will be interested in the outcome of the INQUA Congress.

    Finally, Sapienza University and National Research Council, the main organisers of the event, have very efficient press offices that will ensure a good coverage of the event by the national and local media. A streaming diffusion of Congress plenary activities will be available.


    Geological map




    PM Pontina marshland, TR Travertine,

    PV Pleistocene volcanoes, TV Tiber River valley,

    TD Tiber River delta, KL Karstified limestone deposit,

    CT Coastal terraces, ED Pleistocene eolian dune.