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Microcrystalline laminated gypsum (cumulate gypsum) from the Piedmont Basin

Paleonvironmental evolution during the Messinian salinity crisis.



ERC Sectors

PE10_5 - Geology, tectonics, volcanology
PE10_10 - Mineralogy, petrology, igneous petrology, metamorphic petrology
PE10_11 - Geochemistry, cosmochemistry, crystal chemistry, isotope geochemistry, thermodynamics
PE10_12 - Sedimentology, soil science, palaeontology, earth evolution












Filamentous microfossils  entrapped in a gypsum crystal

During the Messinian the progressive isolation of the Mediterranean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean, superposed to orbitally-driven climate perturbations, led to the deposition of cyclic sequences of shales, marls and diatomites on the Mediterranean seabottom, starting at about 7 Ma. The isolation of the Mediterranean culminated in the extensive deposition of evaporites during the Messinian salinity crisis (MSC), when the basin was transformed into a giant salina Although the chronostratigraphic framework of the MSC is well established, many aspects, including the physical and chemical conditions of the Messinian seawaters and the impact of the MSC on marine ecosystems, are still controversial.

The current project aims at the reconstruction of the environmental conditions responsible for the onset and development of the MSC and the impact of this event on marine ecosystems. Several sections, located in different sectors of the Mediterranean area (Spain, Piedmont, Sicily) are currently investigated through an multidisciplinary approach including sedimentologic, cyclostratigraphic, petrographic, micropaleontologic geochemical and geomicrobiological studies. 










Microcrystalline laminated gypsum (cumulate gypsum) from the Piedmont Basin


Main Collaborations

Jörn Peckmann, Daniel Birgel (Hamburg)

Luis Gibert, Javier Garcia-Veigas (Barcelona)

Giovanni Aloisi (Paris)

Tim Lowenstein (Binghamton)


1) Lozar, F., Violanti, D., Bernardi, E., Dela Pierre, F., Natalicchio, M. 2018. Identifying the onset of the Messinian salinity crisis: a reassessment of the biochronostratigraphic tools (Piedmont Basin, NW Italy). Newsletter on Stratigraphy, 51/1, 11-31

2) Natalicchio, M., Birgel, D., Peckmann, J., Lozar, F., Carnevale, G., Liu, X, Hinrichs, K.-U., Dela Pierre, F., 2017. An archaeal biomarker record of paleoenvironmental change across the onset of the Messinian salinity crisis in the absence of evaporites (Piedmont Basin, Italy). Organic Geochemistry 113, 242-253.

3) Dela Pierre, F., Natalicchio, M., Ferrando, S., Giustetto, R., Birgel, D., Carnevale, G., Gier, S., Lozar, F., Marabello, D., Peckmann, J., 2015. Are the large filamentous microfossils preserved in Messinian gypsum colorless sulfide-oxidizing bacteria? Geology 43, 855-858.

4) Dela Pierre, F., Clari, P., Natalicchio, M., Ferrando, S., Giustetto, R., Lozar, F., Lugli, S., Manzi, V., Roveri, M., Violanti, D., 2014. Flocculent layers and bacterial mats in the mudstone interbeds of the Primary Lower Gypsum unit (Tertiary Piedmont basin, NW Italy): Archives of palaeoenvironmental changes during the Messinian salinity crisis. Marine Geology 355, 71-87.

5) Natalicchio, M., Dela Pierre, F., Lugli, S., Lowenstein, T.K., Feiner, S.J., Ferrando, S., Manzi, V., Roveri, M., Clari, P., 2014. Did late Miocene (Messinian) gypsum precipitate from evaporated marine brines? Insights from the Piedmont Basin (Italy). Geology 42, 179-182. 

Last update: 04/01/2018 12:03
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