Petrology & Volcanology
Assistant Professor

Contact Info

Office:
Geography-Geology Building #145 (I am here now!)

I am an enthusiastic academic researcher, project leader, and research instructor. My overall research interests and skills include experimental, analytical, and field-based geology, petrology, volcanology, and mechanics of multiphase magmas and volatiles in the Earth’s interior. I have fieldwork experience in a broad range of environments, ranging from sedimentary to metamorphic, from plutonic to volcanic. I am skilful in high-pressure and high-temperature experimentation and multiple micro-analytical techniques, including tomographic microscopy, to address chemical and physical aspects of:

1) Multiphase magma rheology

2) Fluid migration in magmas

3) Magma degassing, transport, unrest, and eruption

4) Magma differentiation and evolution of the Earth's lithosphere.

I apply a creative approach transcending traditional disciplinary boundaries in my research and in my lectures.

Education:
  • Italian National Scientific Habilitation, 2018 - Eligible for Associate Professorship in Geochemistry, Mineralogy, Petrology, Volcanology, Georesources in the Italian University Framework
  • Ph.D., ETH-Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland, 2012 - Earth Science
  • M.S., University of Rome La Sapienza, Rome, 2008, Geodynamics, Geophysics, Volcanology
  • B.S., Università G. D'Annunzio, Chieti-Pescara, Italy, 2006 - Geological Sciences
Research Interests:
  • Multiphase Magma Rheology in Earth’s Crust and Volcanic Systems

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During my PhD research studies at ETH-Zurich (Switzerland), I investigated the rheology of crystal- and bubble-bearing magmas using high-pressure and high-temperature experimentation. I quantified the simultaneous influence of gas bubbles and crystals on the rheology of multiphase magmas. The major results show that: i) the limited presence of exsolved gas diminishes viscosity of crystal-rich mushes (> 50 vol%) by four order of magnitude, with a consequent increase of their rheological mobility during transport and emplacement in the Earth’s crust, ii) the gas extraction during deformation of crystal-poor systems (< 50 vol%) favours an increase of viscosity with increasing deformation rate, which ultimately leads to magma fragmentation. This research represents the first milestone of my academic career allowing me to be able of combining both chemical and physical parameters to address the physics of magma transport, emplacement, and eruption.

Learn more in:

2011:

Caricchi L., Pommier A., Pistone M., Castro J., Burgisser A., Perugini D., Strain-induced magma degassing: insights from simple-shear experiments on bubble bearing melts. Bulletin of Volcanology, v. 73, p. 1245-1257, doi10.1007/s00445-011-0471-2

2012:

Cordonnier B., Caricchi L., Pistone M., Castro J., Hess K.-U., Gottschaller S., Manga M., Dingwell D.B., Burlini L., The viscous-brittle transition of crystal-bearing silicic melt: Direct observation of magma rupture and healing. Geology, v. 40, p. 611-615, https://doi.org/10.1130/G3914.1

Pistone M., Caricchi L., Ulmer P., Burlini L., Ardia P., Reusser E., Marone F., Arbaret L., Deformation experiments of bubble- and crystal-bearing magmas: rheological and microstructural analysis. Journal of Geophysical Research, Issue B5, v. 117, doi:10.1029/2011JB008986

2013

Pistone M., Caricchi L., Ulmer P., Reusser E., Ardia P., Rheology of volatile-bearing crystal mushes: mobilization vs. viscous death. Chemical Geology, v. 345, p. 16-39, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemgeo.2013.02.007

2014

Shields J., Mader H.M., Pistone M., Floess D., Caricchi L., Putlitz B., Strain-induced outgassing of crystal- and bubble-bearing magmas. Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 119, Issue 9, doi:10.1002/2014JB011111

2015

Pistone M., Caricchi L., Cordonnier B., Ulmer P., Marone F., The viscous to brittle transition in bubble- and crystal-bearing magmas. Frontiers in Earth Sciences – Volcanology, v. 3, doi:10.3389/feart.2015.00071

2016

Shields J., Mader H.M., Caricchi L., Tuffen H., Mueller S., Pistone M., Baumgartner L., Unravelling textural heterogeneity in obsidian: shear-induced outgassing in the Rocche Rosse flow. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 310, p. 137-158, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2015.12.003

Pistone M., Cordonnier B., Ulmer P., Caricchi L., Rheological flow laws for multiphase magmas: an empirical approach. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 321, p. 158-170, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2016.04.029

2017

Pistone M., Whittington A.G., Andrews B.J., Cottrell E., Crystal-rich lava dome extrusion during vesiculation: an experimental study. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 347, p. 1-14, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2017.06.018

 

  • Volatile Transfer during Magma Mixing

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During my first postdoc fellowship for which I received independent funds, I explored the chemical and physical conditions of volatile transfer during interaction of magmas of different composition and crystallinity. The transfer of volatiles is dictated by gradients of volatile concentrations between two interacting systems and, during volatile migration by diffusion from one magma to another, the liquidus temperature swings as response of volatile depletion, inducing simultaneous crystallisation in the system releasing volatiles, and partial melting of the system affected by volatile addition. The most outstanding result of this process named as “chemical quenching” is the experimental replication of unidirectional solidification textures or comb layering, commonly found in plutonic rocks and ore deposits that fascinated the scientific community for several decades.

Learn more in:

2016:

Pistone M., Blundy J.D., Brooker R.A., EIMF, Textural and chemical consequences of interaction between hydrous mafic and felsic magmas: an experimental study. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, v. 171, doi:10.1007/s00410-015-1218-4

2017

Pistone M., Blundy J.D., Brooker R.A., EIMF, Water transfer during magma mixing events: insights into melt segregation from felsic crystal mushes. American Mineralogist, v. 102, p. 766-776, http://dx.doi.org/10.2138/am-2017-5793

 

  • Synchrotron-based, In-Situ & Time-Resolved / -Elapsed Vesiculation in Magmas

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Since my PhD studies, I have adopted an experimental approach at the forefront, which includes in-situ, real-time observation of magma vesiculation at high temperature at the synchrotron source. TI also contributed to the technological design, development, construction of high-temperature furnaces for these experiments. This experimental approach allows performing experiments that capture the kinetics of vesiculation of magmas “on-air” and allows overcoming the typical challenges of reconstructing dynamic processes based on post-experiment analyses alone. This experience gave me the opportunity to design new pioneering investigations and work side by side with technicians, external contractors, and scientists from research fields other than Earth Sciences.

Learn more in:

2012

Fife, J.L., Rappaz M., Pistone M., Celcer T., Mikuljan G., Stampanoni M., Development of a laser-based heating system for in-situ synchrotron-based X-ray tomographic microscopy. Journal of Synchrotron Radiation, v. 19, p. 352-358, doi:10.1107/S0909049512003287

2013

Madonna C., Quintal B., Frehner M., Almqvist B.S.V., Tisato N., Pistone M., Marone F., Saenger E., Synchrotron-based X-ray tomographic microscopy for rock microstructure investigations, Geophysics, v. 78, D53-D64, doi: 10.1190/geo2012-0113.1

2015

Pistone M., Arzilli F., Dobson K.J., Cordonnier B., Reusser E., Ulmer P., Marone F., Whittington A.G., Mancini L., Fife J.L., Blundy J.D., Gas-driven filter pressing in magmas: insights into in situ melt segregation from crystal mushes. Geology, v. 43, p. 699-702, https://doi.org/10.1130/G36766.1

Pistone M., Caricchi L., Fife J.L., Mader K., Ulmer P., In situ X-ray tomographic microscopy observations of vesiculation of bubble-free and bubble-bearing magmas. Bulletin of Volcanology, v. 77, doi:10.1007/s00445-015-0992-1

2018

Kudrna-Prašek M., Pistone M., Baker D.R., Sodini N., Marinoni N., Lanzafame G., Mancini L., A compact and flexible induction furnace for in-situ X-ray microradiograhy and computed microtomography at Elettra: characterisation and first tests. Journal of Synchrotron Radiation, v. 25, doi:10.1107/S1600577518005970

 

  • Melt Extraction Processes in Crustal Rocks

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Since my postdoctoral stage, I investigated the chemical and physical conditions at which residual melts from partially crystallised magmas can ascend and become eruptible at Earth’s surface. In particular, I investigated the role of volatiles in driving melt extraction from crystal-rich magmas or mushes. For instance, I experimentally determined the optimal conditions of melt extraction driven by gas filter pressing during magma cooling and by water diffusion during magma mixing. The experimental observations have offered precious insights into the generation of crystal-poor melts and their efficiency to be mobilised and become eruptible at active volcanoes.

Learn more in:

2015

Pistone M., Arzilli F., Dobson K.J., Cordonnier B., Reusser E., Ulmer P., Marone F., Whittington A.G., Mancini L., Fife J.L., Blundy J.D., Gas-driven filter pressing in magmas: insights into in situ melt segregation from crystal mushes. Geology, v. 43, p. 699-702, https://doi.org/10.1130/G36766.1

2017

Pistone M., Blundy J.D., Brooker R.A., EIMF, Water transfer during magma mixing events: insights into melt segregation from felsic crystal mushes. American Mineralogist, v. 102, p. 766-776, http://dx.doi.org/10.2138/am-2017-5793

 

  • Volcanic Arc Systems

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Differentiation and transport of mantle-derived, hydrous, basaltic magmas is a fundamental process that produces the evolved intermediate to silica-rich magmas that form the Earth’s crust. During my “overseas” postdoctoral period, I focused my research on the the influence of water and oxygen fugacity on the fractional crystallization or liquid line of descent of hydrous (i.e., water-bearing) basalts in order to evaluate the switch between calc-alkaline (“Fe-poor”) and tholeiitic (“Fe-rich”) magmatic trends at shallow crustal levels. The experimental effort was accompanied by a unique field mission in the Western Aleutians in September 2015. During this incredible geological adventure, I sampled many kilos of volcanic rocks and helped with installing novel equipment for seismic stations to monitor the nine volcanoes I explored between Buldir (westermost island) and Kanaga (eastermost island).

Learn more in:

2016

Zellmer G.F., Pistone M., Iizuka Y., Andrews B.J., Gomez-Tuena A., Straub S.M., Cottrell E., Petrogenesis of antecryst-bearing arc basalts from the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt: insights into along-arc variations in magma ponding depths, H2O contents, and surface heat flux. American Mineralogist, v. 101, p. 2405-2422, https://doi.org/10.2138/am-2016-5701

 

  • Pluton Emplacement and Construction in the Earth’s Lower Crust

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In my current position in Lausanne, I am conducting a multidiplinary investigation using fieldwork, analysis of natural rocks and rock physics modelling to determine magma emplacement mechanism in the lower crust. I conducted fieldwork in the Ivrea-Verbano Zone (Italy) to study the Permian Mafic Complex and unravel the physical and chemical architecture and construction of a large mafic body by repetitive emplacement of sills. This work is part of the large-scale research initiative DIVE (Drilling the Ivrea-Verbano Zone) of ICDP (International Continental Drilling Program), for which I am one of the five leading PIs: https://www.icdp-online.org/projects/world/europe/ivrea-italy/details/

Learn more in:

2017

Pistone M., Müntener O., Ziberna L., Hetényi G., Zanetti A., Report on the ICDP Workshop DIVE (Drilling the Ivrea-Verbano zonE). Scientific Drilling, v. 23, p. 47-56, https://doi.org/10.5194/sd-23-47-2017

 

  • Volcanoes and Life

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In recent time, I have interacted with microbiologists and biogeochemists within the large network of Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO) to address fundamental questions on: 1) how volcanoes and life are linked and how they modulate carbon fluxes on Earth, and 2) how deep life can be in the Earth’s interior.

Learn more in:

2017

Morrison S., Pistone M., Kohl L., Studying Yellowstone by integrating deep carbon science. EOS, v. 98, https://doi.org/10.1029/2017EO076209

Pistone M., Müntener O., Ziberna L., Hetényi G., Zanetti A., Report on the ICDP Workshop DIVE (Drilling the Ivrea-Verbano zonE). Scientific Drilling, v. 23, p. 47-56, https://doi.org/10.5194/sd-23-47-2017

Selected Publications:

Kudrna-Prašek M, Pistone M, Baker DR, Sodini N, Marinoni N, Lanzafame G, Mancini L (2018). A compact and flexible induction furnace for in-situ X-ray microradiograhy and computed microtomography at Elettra: characterisation and first tests. Journal of Synchrotron Radiation, 25, doi:10.1107/S1600577518005970

Pistone M, Müntener O, Ziberna L, Hetényi G, Zanetti A (2017) Report on the ICDP Workshop DIVE (Drilling the Ivrea-Verbano zonE). Scientific Drilling, 23, 47-56, https://doi.org/10.5194/sd-23-47-2017

Pistone M, Whittington AG, Andrews BJ, Cottrell E (2017) Crystal-rich lava dome extrusion during vesiculation: an experimental study. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 347, 1-14, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2017.06.018

Morrison S, Pistone M, Kohl L (2017) Studying Yellowstone by integrating deep carbon science. EOS, 98, https://doi.org/10.1029/2017EO076209

Pistone M, Blundy JD, Brooker RA, EIMF (2017). Water transfer during magma mixing events: insights into melt segregation from felsic crystal mushes. American Mineralogist, 102, 766-776 http://dx.doi.org/10.2138/am-2017-5793

Zellmer GF, Pistone M, Iizuka Y, Andrews BJ, Gomez-Tuena A, Straub SM, Cottrell E (2016). Petrogenesis of antecryst-bearing arc basalts from the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt: insights into along-arc variations in magma ponding depths, H2O contents, and surface heat flux. American Mineralogist, 101, 2405-2422, https://doi.org/10.2138/am-2016-5701

Pistone M, Cordonnier B, Ulmer P, Caricchi L (2016). Rheological flow laws for multiphase magmas: an empirical approach. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 321, 158-170, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2016.04.029

Shields J, Mader HM, Caricchi L, Tuffen H, Mueller S, Pistone M, Baumgartner L (2016). Unravelling textural heterogeneity in obsidian: shear-induced outgassing in the Rocche Rosse flow. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 310, 137-158, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2015.12.003

Pistone M, Blundy JD, Brooker RA, EIMF (2016). Textural and chemical consequences of interaction between hydrous mafic and felsic magmas: an experimental study. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 171, doi:10.1007/s00410-015-1218-4

Pistone M, Caricchi L, Fife JL, Mader K, Ulmer P (2015). In situ X-ray tomographic microscopy observations of vesiculation of bubble-free and bubble-bearing magmas. Bullettin of Volcanology, 77, doi:10.1007/s00445-015-0992-1

Pistone M, Caricchi L, Cordonnier B, Ulmer P, Marone F (2015). The viscous to brittle transition in bubble- and crystal-bearing magmas. Frontiers in Earth Sciences, 3, doi:10.3389/feart.2015.00071

Pistone M, Arzilli F, Dobson KJ, Cordonnier B, Reusser E, Ulmer P, Marone F, Whittington AG, Mancini L, Fife JL, Blundy JD (2015). Gas-driven filter pressing in magmas: insights into in situ melt segregation from crystal mushes. Geology, 43, 699-702, https://doi.org/10.1130/G36766.1

Shields J, Mader HM, Pistone M, Floess D, Caricchi L, Putlitz B (2014). Strain-induced outgassing of crystal- and bubble-bearing magmas. Journal of Geophysical Research, 119, doi:10.1002/2014JB011111

Pistone M, Caricchi L, Ulmer P, Reusser E, Ardia P (2013). Rheology of volatile-bearing crystal mushes: mobilization vs. viscous death. Chemical Geology, 345, 16-39, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemgeo.2013.02.007

Madonna C, Quintal B, Frehner M, Almqvist BSG, Tisato N, Pistone M, Marone F, Saenger E (2013), Synchrotron-based X-ray tomographic microscopy for rock microstructure investigations, Geophysics, 78, D53-D64, doi: 10.1190/geo2012-0113.1

Pistone M, Caricchi L, Ulmer P, Burlini L, Ardia P, Reusser E, Marone F, Arbaret L (2012). Deformation experiments of bubble- and crystal-bearing magmas: rheological and microstructural analysis. Journal of Geophysical Research, 117, doi:10.1029/2011JB008986

Cordonnier B, Caricchi L, Pistone M, Castro J, Hess K-U, Gottschaller S, Manga M, Dingwell DB, Burlini L (2012). Direct observation of magma rupture and healing. Geology, 40, 611-615, https://doi.org/10.1130/G3914.1

Fife JL, Rappaz M, Pistone M, Celcer T, Mikuljan G, Stampanoni M (2012). Development of a laser-based heating system for in-situ synchrotron-based X-ray tomographic microscopy. Journal of Synchrotron Radiation, 19, 352-358, doi:10.1107/S0909049512003287 [This study on volume cover]

Caricchi L, Pommier A, Pistone M, Castro J, Burgisser A, Perugini D (2011). Strain-induced magma degassing: insights from simple-shear experiments on bubble bearing melts. Bulletin of Volcanology, 73, 1245-1257, doi10.1007/s00445-011-0471-2

Of note:

The Far West of the US: the Western Aleutians!

https://blogs.egu.eu/geolog/2017/03/20/imaggeo-on-mondays-lava-highway-in-kanaga-island/

http://geoprisms.org/education/report-from-the-field/aleutians-spring2016/westernal/

Grants:

2017     The Deep Carbon Cycle (DCC) through geological time: An interdisciplinary synthesis of the carbon cycle in the Earth’s lithosphere-biosphere system, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation – Deep Carbon Observatory – DCO Synthesis Proposal (co-PI) [US$ 130,000]

Geophysical site characterization (campaign 1) for ICDP drilling proposal, FINV – UNIL (Research collaborator) [CHF 24,157]

2016     Petrophysics of the Melt Connectivity Transition: Petrological, Rheological, and Seismic Characterisation of the Continental Moho, Swiss National Science Foundation – Ambizione Fellowship (PZ00P2_168166) [CHF 483,238]

2016     Drilling the continental crust to the Moho transition zone (Ivrea-Verbano Zone, Italy), Inter-Continental Drilling Project Workshop (number 17-2016) [US$ 50,000]

2014     The Influence of Volatiles on the Interaction of Mafic and Felsic Magmas, Swiss National Science Foundation – Advanced Postdoc Mobility Fellowship (P300P2_154574) [CHF 98,000]

2014     Understanding the dynamics of explosive eruptions triggered by mafic intrusions into felsic reservoirs using 4D in situ tomographic microscopy, European Union Transnational Access Programme CALIPSO (number 312284; FP7/2007-2013) [CHF 1,000]

2012     The Influence of Volatiles on the Interaction of Mafic and Felsic Magmas, Swiss National Science Foundation – Early Postdoc Mobility Fellowship (PBEZP2_142922) [CHF 43,000]

 

Twelve granted research proposals for free-of-cost access to synchrotron and nuclear facilities (all proposals amount to a total of US$ 720,000):

2017   NEUTRA beamline, SINQ, PSI (Villigen, Switzerland) and SYRMEP beamline, Elettra (Basovizza, Italy)

2016    GSECARS beamline, APS, (Argonne, IL, US)

2009-2018   TOMCAT beamline, SLS, PSI (Villigen, Switzerland)