The Rock Repository (ca. 160m2) stores about 1500 boxes of rock grab samples (≈10000 samples), 90 boxes of mineral separates (≈2000 samples) and 140 core boxes (≈ 2000 half core samples including a collection of temporary stored ENEL-Green Power geothermal drill cores) from research projects conducted at IGG since the 1960’s. The rock/mineral collection covers the whole Planet and the whole geological time scale. Most of the rock samples are from magmatic and metamorphic complexes but also sedimentary and hydrothermal rocks are represented.
One of the main topics of past and ongoing research projects is the understanding of magmatic systems in the circum-Mediterranean area. For this reason, we host large collections from:
- Italian active volcanoes
- Miocene-Quaternary Tuscan Magmatic Province
- Quaternary Roman/Campanian Magmatic Provinces
- Oligocene magmatism from Alps
- Cenozoic-Quaternary magmatism in Balkans-Greece-Turkey-North Africa
- Palaeozoic magmatism from Sardinia and Calabria
Other important projects were developed on magmatic-metamorphic complexes from Antarctica, Alpine-Himalayan orogenic belt (Carpatian, Caucasus, Zagros, Karakoram, Himalaya), Central-South America, East Africa, Red Sea, Madagascar, etc.
These samples are valuable because many of them come from places that are too expensive or sensitive to explore again; e.g. the samples from:
- the Island of Zabargad in the Red Sea;
- the abandoned inaccessible mines and the old mining drill-holes in Tuscany.
Moreover, most of the stored samples were already deeply characterized (petrography, dating, geochemistry isotopes, etc.) and results were published on international and national scientific journals. In addition, a collection of thousands of petrographic thin sections is also available.
The Rock Repository is furnished with about 90 m of metal rack shelves (height: 3.5 m) and box-lifting systems. Cleaning tools, diamond saws, drill press, rock splitters and stereomicroscopes are available on site for preparation, cataloging, packing and labeling of the incoming samples and for selection/sampling of existing materials by visiting researchers.
Incoming samples are temporary stored in the large lobby of the Rock Repository in order to be prepared, labeled and finally stored in boxes. The whole rock/mineral collection is recorded in a hardcopy catalogue (since the 1960’s). The collection is catalogued by box numbers and each box file contains all the information about the box content: number of samples, sample labels, locality, etc. Recently we decided to build a shared approach to collection inventories, organizing data in a digital database. The most recent rock samples have been already inserted and data-entry activity is ongoing. A range of actions must be performed, from the assessment of the valuable material to the creation of a centralized digital database that identifies and coordinates all collections (rocks, drill cores, mineral separates, thin sections, etc.): a virtual link among collections and a way for researchers to obtain access to the samples and data.
The availability of rock and mineral samples with full metadata and their inclusion in online databases is essential to allow their effective use in a wide specrtum of applications and scientific research activities. The IGG Rock Repository contributes to national and international projects such as the national Project of Interest NextData and the ESFRI EPOS.