DOI: 10.3390/min13091132 ISSN:

A Review of the Mineralogy, Petrography, and Geochemistry of Serpentinite from Calabria Regions (Southern Italy): Problem or Georesource?

Rosalda Punturo, Roberto Visalli, Rosolino Cirrincione
  • Geology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology

Serpentinite rocks testify to the ocean-floor metamorphism that took place and transformed the original mineralogy and fabric of previous ultramafic rocks. Due to their tectonic and petrological importance, in recent decades, there has been increasing interest in serpentinites. From the economic point of view, it is worth noting that, due to their beauty and attractiveness, serpentinite rocks have been exploited and traded as building and ornamental stones since prehistorical times worldwide. In this work, we provide a comprehensive report of the petrographic, mineralogical, petrophysical, and geochemical features of the serpentinites cropping out in the northern sector of the Calabria–Peloritani Orogen (Italy), where the historical quarries are located. Since these serpentinite rocks have been traded for a long time and employed as an excellent building material, their detailed knowledge may provide a useful tool to understand their behavior when they are employed as building materials, to predict their performances upon emplacement in monuments, and to plan correct restoration by considering the provenance of the lithotypes employed. Moreover, comprehensive characterization is also particularly important because it has been reported that serpentinites from Calabria may contain asbestiform and other fibrous minerals, as testified by the occurrence of chrysotile, tremolite, and actinolite asbestos located within the veins, which could lead to health problems due to asbestos fiber exposure. Finally, serpentinite may be considered as an important potential CO2 sequestration sink.

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