A giant carbonate vein (≥50m thick; fissure ridge travertines) and nearby travertine plateaus in the Semproniano area (Mt. Amiata geothermal field, southern Tuscany, Italy) are investigated through a multidisciplinary approach, including field and laboratory geochemical analyses (U/Th geochronology, C, Nd, O and Sr isotope systematics, REE abundances, and fluid inclusion microthermometry). The main aim of this work is to understand: (1) modes and rates for the growth of the giant vein and nearby travertine deposits within a Quaternary volcano-tectonic domain; (2) implications in terms of the CO2 leakage; and (3) possible relationships with Quaternary paleoclimate and hydrological oscillations. Results show that the giant vein was the inner portion of a large fissure ridge travertine and grew asymmetrically and ataxially through repeated shallow fluid injections between >650 and 85ka, with growth rates in the 10-2-10-3 mm/a order. The giant vein developed mainly during warm humid (interglacial) periods, partially overlapping with the growth of nearby travertine plateaus. Estimated values of CO2 leakage connected with the vein precipitation are between about 5×106 and 3×107 mola-1 km-2, approximately representing one millionth of the present global CO2 leakage from volcanic areas. Temperature estimates obtained from O-isotopes and fluid inclusion microthermometry indicate epithermal conditions (90-50°C) for the circulating fluid during the giant vein growth, with only slight evidence of cooling with time. Geochemical and isotope data document that the travertine deposits formed mainly during Pleistocene warm humid periods, within a tectonically-controlled convective fluid circuit fed by meteoric infiltration and maintained by the regional geothermal anomaly hosted by the carbonate reservoir of the Mt. Amiata field.
Berardi, G., Vignaroli, G., Billi, A., Rossetti, F., Soligo, M., Kele, S., et al. (2016). Growth of a Pleistocene giant carbonate vein and nearby thermogene travertine deposits at Semproniano, southern Tuscany, Italy: Estimate of CO2 leakage. TECTONOPHYSICS, 690, 219-239 [10.1016/j.tecto.2016.04.014].