While the pandemic is not over yet, Italy, Europe and the whole world are reliving a nightmare that we hoped forgot, that of a third world war which, from a technical-historical point of view, seems to have already begun. It leaves you incredulous as history, the evolution of science and culture have not yet taught how much peace and civil coexistence are always the best solution, a conquest of humanity. One of the many serious repercussions that the world is experiencing, in addition to the humanitarian tragedy, is the energy crisis: this must make us reflect on how Italy and Europe need a common energy policy and strategy. Italy has rightly chosen to adhere to the unavoidable decisions to reduce climate-altering gases, and therefore finds itself at the crossroads as to what to do, between a possible return to nuclear power with micro-reactors, the purchase of gas from other nations, but it lacks, among the initiatives on the development of photovoltaic and wind energy, the awareness and determination to exploit geothermal resources as well. INGV is working on this issue, and is ready to actively contribute to identifying the most suitable and safest areas for the use of terrestrial heat, an inexhaustible resource which, if cultivated with modern binary cycle technologies, can contribute concretely to Italy's green energy autonomy.
Geosciences are the disciplines that bring us closer to the nature of our planet, reminding us every day that we are made of atoms that come from the earth's mantle. The Earth provides us with the soil for cultivation, the atmosphere for breathing, metals and all the other elements that have made us evolve from the Stone Age to the creation of smartphones.
INGV records every day the breath of the Earth and the risks that this entails, but it also studies the environmental aspects that allow us to guarantee our future and the quality of our life.
In order to establish a qualified international point of reference, where the geoscience community, but not only, can find ideas, reflections and proposals on scientific problems with new perspectives, INGV has promoted the publication of the new Journal of Geoethics and Social Geosciences, an international space for discussion on geoethics and social geosciences open to contributions also from those who work in the human and social sciences sector, in a multidisciplinary perspective. With the Editor in Chief of the magazine we talk about the importance of geoethics, an emerging field of geosciences of which Silvia Peppoloni, a researcher at INGV, has been defined as the founder.
Among the crucial challenges of our time that we find ourselves facing is that of climate change which, observed from the poles, opens up to an even more devastating vision. Professor Carlo Barbante, Full Professor of Analytical Chemistry at the Ca' Foscari University of Venice and Director of the Institute of Polar Sciences of the National Research Council, is our Guest of Honour. For years he has been at the forefront of unprecedented work for paleoclimatology studies, giving food for thought on the impact of human activities and on the alarm for the health of the planet.
Natural phenomena know no political boundaries. On 22 April, shortly after 23 pm, an earthquake occurred in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The seismic event was also felt distinctly in Italy at a distance of thousands of kilometers from the epicenter. Why such a strong resentment at a considerable distance from the affected place? The Director of the INGV Earthquake Department, Rita Di Giovambattista, clarifies the dynamics of the event and the seismic mechanism of the affected area.
In the column dedicated to volcanoes, we have dedicated ourselves to the small "jewels" that Campi Flegrei produce: the fumarolic minerals. Typical of active volcanic systems, they are small, have bright colors and are extremely delicate. Their formation is regulated by the high temperatures of the fumaroles and by the interaction of the fumarolic gases with the surrounding rocks, they form in a few hours but a heavy rain can be enough to sweep them away. Massimo Russo, INGV mineralist, tells us how the Campi Flegrei caldera is rich in these minerals, representing a real open-air laboratory to observe their generation, also considering that it is possible to find some unique minerals never recognized so far anywhere else in the world.
Our journey into geosciences continues in Africa, an area very rich in history and scientific potential. Its paleomagnetic field has recently been the privileged object of research which has allowed us to add a new piece in the history of knowledge of the earth's magnetic field and its anomalies. Anita Di Chiara, researcher at INGV is the author of the study that led to the creation of the first geomagnetic model of Africa in the last 4.000 years. You illustrate the potential applications of the method for the study of areas of our planet that have not yet been sufficiently investigated by the scientific literature.
From the heart of the earth to the starry sky: this is the almost poetic description to describe the sphere in which the research of the Rome1 Section of the INGV is declined: from the study of the interior of the Earth to research on atmospheric gases.
The Section, directed by Salvatore Barba, is multidisciplinary oriented, with numerous scientific laboratories open to researchers who want to deepen an intuition or develop an idea.
Finally, we close the virtual tour with the Sedimentology and Optical Microscopy Laboratory of the INGV Etna Observatory. With Daniele Andronico we see how the eruptive products of the main active volcanoes present in Sicily are analyzed at the INGV in Catania, namely Etna and Stromboli.
Enjoy the reading!