Massimo Pompilio – Biografia completa

Massimo Pompilio

Profilo: Senior Researcher
Incarico: Referente, presso la Sezione di Pisa, della linea di attività V2 – Dinamiche di unrest e scenari pre-eruttivi
Disciplina di specializzazione: Petrology – Physical Volcanology
Istituto di appartenenza: Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia – Sezione di Pisa
Indirizzo: Via della Faggiola, 32 -56126 Pisa
Telefono: +39 050 8311940
Fax: +39 050 8311942



Educational history

  • Laurea Magistralis in Geological Sciences, University of Pisa (1985).
  • PhD Courses (1985-88) interrupted for incompatibility with permanent position held at CNR.

Current employment

  • Senior Scientist at INGV – Sezione di Pisa;
  • Responsible of research group “Unrest dynamics and pre-eruptive scenarios” at INGV-Pisa;

Previous Appointments

  • present- 2014: Chair of the SCAR-Expert Group ANTarctic VOLCanism;
  • present-2013: Idoneity for the role of Full Professor of Volcanology-Petrology-Mineralogy-Geochemistry issued by Italian National Scientific Habilitation Committee
  • present-2011: Member of National Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (CSNA) of Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR)
  • present-2008: Expert evaluator and reviewer of research projects for MIUR, NSF-USA and EOS-Singapore
  • 2014-2006: Responsible of Research Unit – Volcanology and Igneous Petrology at INGV-Pisa
  • 2013-2007: Member the “Office of Scientific Institutional Relationships”(URSI) of the INGV;
  • 2013-2005: National coordinator of INGV laboratories of Physics and Chemistry of Rocks ;
  • 2004-2003: Member of Working Group for the individuation of scientific priorities for the volcanology to be developed by National Civil Protection and INGV;
  • 2003-2002 : Senior Scientist at INGV – Sezione di Catania;
  • 2003-1995: Responsible of Analytical laboratories at CNR- IIV and INGV-Catania;
  • 2003-1995-: Responsible of Petrologic Monitoring at CNR- IIV and INGV-Catania;
  • 2002: INGV delegate in the National Civil Protection Committee for Planning Eolian Islands (include Stromboli, Lipari, Vulcano) volcanic emergencies;
  • 2002-2001: Responsible of Volcanology Research Group at INGV-Catania (10 scientists and technicians);
  • 2002-1998: Scientist of the permanent staff at Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Istituto Internazionale di Vulcanologia (IIV), Catania (Italy) that since 2001 became Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia – Sezione di Catania;
  • 2000-1997: Representative of CNR at PhD school of University of Catania;


Scientific profile

Research career of MP has been focused on the study of mechanisms of genesis, ascent, eruption and emplacement of basaltic magmas. These arguments have been studied on the basis of:

  1. field observations and measurements and petrological monitoring carried during eruptions of last three decades of Stromboli and Etna volcanoes;
  2. volcanological, petrological and geochemical investigations on products of Italian volcanoes (Mt.Etna , Hyblean plateau, Stromboli and Ustica islands and Sicily Channel seamounts, Phlegrean Fields, Capraia), El Hierro (Canarie, Spagna), Eyjafjallajokull (Islanda) e Terra Vittoria Settentrionale (Antartide;
  3. laboratory experiments.

Beside the study of the active volcanism MP carried also volcanological and petrologic studies of volcanic detritus within drilled or gravity cores aimed at paleoenvironmental-paleoclimatic reconstructions.

As PhD student in Pisa (1985-88) MP started developing methods for quantitative textural studies (Crystal and Bubble Size Distribution) of volcanic rocks, that he applied to the study of crystallisation kinetics of products of recent eruptions of Etna. At the end of 1988, MP obtained a permanent position as scientist at CNR- Ist. Internat. of Volcanology (IIV) and was forced to leave the PhD school, since was incompatible, with the new position. At IIV MP joined the group responsible for the volcanological and petrological monitoring of Etna and Stromboli volcanoes and has been involved in all the volcanic crises that occurred from 1989 to 2004. In Catania MP also expanded and developed petrological laboratories, introducing innovative and modern methods of textural and petrological analyses, like X-ray mapping, digital imaging etc. In that years MP also contributed to geological map of Mt. Etna as responsible of petrographic investigations. Since 1995 MP initiated a collaboration with experimental petrologists with the aim of setting-up practical tools aimed at estimating chemico-physical parameters (T, P) useful for petrological monitoring activities. This produced an empirical geothermometers based on glass compositio. In this context after a short-term fellowship at Caltech-Pasadena MP also learned FTIR analytical methods that he applied to the study of recent products of Etna. This new approach to petrological monitoring and the large data collected improved enormously the knowledge of the magma dynamics at Etna and Stromboli. In particular at Stromboli, petrologic monitoring that MP performed, allowed the identification of the two type of magmas that feed the present day activity of this volcano. This new findings changed radically the knowledge of the plumbing system of the volcano giving rise to new and significant impulse of all the volcanological researches. Since 2000, when IIV joined the INGV, MP became responsible of the Volcanology and Petrology group and in this position during the 2001 Etna eruption he coordinated the whole group committed to volcanological monitoring. In the same time he started to develop methods for textural and compositional analysis of ash. Since 2001 relationships with experimentalists strengthened and expanded with new collaborations (Brown University- M. Rutherford) aimed at the study of phase equilibria in Etnean magmas. In 2004 MP moved back in Pisa to reinforce the new and growing branch of the INGV. In Pisa he further expanded the development of petrological tools employable for the monitoring of magma dynamics and eruptive processes within active volcanoes. MP also continued volcanological and petrological investigations on deposits of historical activity of Stromboli and Etna aimed at hazard assessment. Relationships with experimental labs continued initiating a fruitful collaboration with ISTO (M.Pichavant) and RUB (S.Chaktaborty) that produced important results in understanding magma dynamics at Stomboli et Etna. MP also created a limited experimental lab in Pisa, that was employed to study ash-recycling and alteration and low pressure crystallization of Etnean, Strombolian and Vesuvian magmas.
Beside the study of the active volcanism MP carried also volcanological and petrologic studies of volcanic detritus within drilled or marine gravity cores aimed at paleoenvironmental-paleoclimatic reconstructions.
In this context he participated to Cape Roberts Project – CRP3 (season 1999-2000) and ANDRILL – MIS Project (2006-7). In ANDRILL MP was Discipline Leader ( Petrology and Geochemistry) coordinating an international group of about 20 scientist.

MP supervised several graduate student of Universities of Camerino, Catania, Palermo, Pavia, Pisa, Roma, Milano, Siena, IST-Orleans. He co-tutored 4 PhD students and mentored 5 post-doctoral researchers and was invited in the PhD evaluation committee of Universities of Palermo, Urbino, Pisa, ISTO, IPG-Paris.


  • PhD Fellowship Award, Univ. Pisa 1985-1988
  • CNR Short-term fellowship – Geology and Planetary Sciences Division of California Institute of Technology di Pasadena (USA) – June-July 1996
  • Research Infrastructure – Transnational Access Bayerisches Geoinstitut, Universität Bayreuth (Germania) – June-August 2006
  • Visiting Professor at CNRS-Institut de Science de la Terre d’Orleans – Univ. Orleans (France) –November 2010 – February 2011.

Research expeditions

  • 1994, 1999, 2000: Italian Antarctic Expeditions – Field recognition and survey of volcanic rocks and igneous intrusions in North Victoria Land area – Antarctica
  • 1997 and 1999: Oceanographic cruise (O/V Urania) – Etna submarine flank
  • 1999: Cape Roberts 3 – International Drilling Project – McMurdo Station – Antarctica – Core characterization (volcanic rocks)
  • 2000: Oceanographic cruise (O/V Urania)- Sicily Channel seamounts
  • 2006: Andrill-MIS International Drilling Project – McMurdo Station – Antarctica – Core characterization (volcanic rocks)

Editorial Boards Membership of International Journals

  • 2015-Member of the editorial board of Nature-Scientific Reports;
  • 2013-2009 member of the editorial board of Annals of Geophysics;
  • Guest editor of Geosphere Themed Issue: The ANDRILL McMurdo Ice Shelf (MIS) and Southern – McMurdo Sound (SMS) Drilling Projects;
  • Reviewer for GRL, JGR, Geosphere, Bulletin of Volcanology, Periodico di Mineralogia, Review in Mineralogy and Geochemistry, Acta Vulcanologica, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal researches, Contribution to Mineralogy and Geochemistry GSA Bulletin.

Organisation of international conferences

  • 2004: EGU – Nice (France) – Co-convener Session on Petrologic Monitoring.
  • 2008: Member of the organizing commitee and teacher (module: Present-Day Activity: eruptive history eruptive styles , eruptive products) of the International School of Volcanology “Volcanic processes in basaltic volcanic island: learning from monitoring and research activities of recent eruptive crises of Stromboli” organized at Stromboli by Italian Association of Volcanologists (AIV) and INGV.
  • 2013: Field trip leader for “ETNA and THE AEOLIAN VOLCANOES – Volcanology and present-day activity of Etna, Vulcano, Lipari, and Stromboli volcanoes” organised for the Goldschmidt Conference 2013 – Florence.
  • 2015: Scientific Organiser of the Memovolc Workshop – “Anticipating volcanic eruptions: developing multidisciplinary tools to track the source, volume and duration of magma movement from the mantle to the surface” held in Pisa (3-7 February)
  • 2015: Scientific Organiser of the AntVolc Kickstart workshop, held in Catania, 3-5 July.


  • Certificate of Merit with medal given by Italian Prime Minister Office for recognition of activities carried during the 1991-1993 Etna eruption.
  • Most Cited Author 2003-2007 Award” of “Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research



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