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Energies 2014, 7(7), 4068-4086; doi:10.3390/en7074068

The Marsili Volcanic Seamount (Southern Tyrrhenian Sea): A Potential Offshore Geothermal Resource

1
Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia-via Ugo La Malfa 153, 90146 Palermo, Italy
2
Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia-via di Vigna Murata, 605, 00143 Roma, Italy
3
Dipartimento di Ingegneria e Geologia-Università "G. d'Annunzio", 66100 Chieti, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 April 2014 / Revised: 9 June 2014 / Accepted: 10 June 2014 / Published: 26 June 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geothermal Energy: Delivering on the Global Potential)
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Abstract

Italy has a strong geothermal potential for power generation, although, at present, the only two geothermal fields being exploited are Larderello-Travale/Radicondoli and Mt. Amiata in the Tyrrhenian pre-Apennine volcanic district of Southern Tuscany. A new target for geothermal exploration and exploitation in Italy is represented by the Southern Tyrrhenian submarine volcanic district, a geologically young basin (Upper Pliocene-Pleistocene) characterised by tectonic extension where many seamounts have developed. Heat-flow data from that area show significant anomalies comparable to those of onshore geothermal fields. Fractured basaltic rocks facilitate seawater infiltration and circulation of hot water chemically altered by rock/water interactions, as shown by the widespread presence of hydrothermal deposits. The persistence of active hydrothermal activity is consistently shown by many different sources of evidence, including: heat-flow data, gravity and magnetic anomalies, widespread presence of hydrothermal-derived gases (CO2, CO, CH4), 3He/4He isotopic ratios, as well as broadband OBS/H seismological information, which demonstrates persistence of volcano-tectonic events and High Frequency Tremor (HFT). The Marsili and Tyrrhenian seamounts are thus an important—and likely long-lasting-renewable energy resource. This raises the possibility of future development of the world’s first offshore geothermal power plant. View Full-Text
Keywords: geothermal energy exploration; Italy; Marsili; volcanic seamount; offshore geothermal energy exploration; Italy; Marsili; volcanic seamount; offshore
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Italiano, F.; De Santis, A.; Favali, P.; Rainone, M.L.; Rusi, S.; Signanini, P. The Marsili Volcanic Seamount (Southern Tyrrhenian Sea): A Potential Offshore Geothermal Resource. Energies 2014, 7, 4068-4086.

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