Angela Castagna, PhD student

Water , Low-Medium Temperature Influence and Frictional Properties of Sedimentary Rocks from Mt Etna Basement

Supervisors: Dr R. Walker and Dr M. Moorkamp (University of Leicester), Dr P. Benson (University of Portsmouth), Dr A. Ougier-Simonin (BGS)

Project Overview

Mechanical experiments allow to investigate changes in rocks deformation and fractures which are not always possible in situ. In my project, using a standard triaxial apparatus, I'm testing the deformation of intact limestone rocks from Mount Etna basement at representative confining pressures and pore fluid pressure. Half of the samples were previously thermal treated to study the influence of temperature.

Where not possible the study of intact rocks, I'm studying the frictional properties of  powders of representative sedimentary rocks of Mount Etna basement (limestone, sandstone and quaternary clay) in triaxial conditions. In order to perform this tests on synthetic gouges, we developed a brand new direct shear sliding holder for the MTS apparatus installed at British Geological Survey (Keyworth) of powders from Mount Etna sedimentary rocks.

The direct shear sliding holder allows to test powders in triaxial apparatus.

Overall, Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in Europe, lying on a sedimentary basement which is the result of a complex structural history and formed during the Africa-Europe convergence. The study of the mechanical properties of its rocks allows to give a closer insight on the potential influence of temperature and water, and therefore on the stability of Mt Etna itself.

Research Questions

  • How do water and temperature can influence the mechanical strength of sedimentary rocks?
  • How do these changes impact the sedimentary basement itself?

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Contact Details

School of Geography, Geology and the Environment
University of Leicester
University Road

T: +44 (0)116 252 3933


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