Shallow underground electrical and seismic imaging was undertaken at the Pineto (Central Italy) Mud Volcano site using 2D-3D electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) and 2D reflection seismic surveys. This mud volcano or mud lump (known by the local population as “Cenerone Mud Volcano”) appears as a dome of about 15x10 m in size. The height is approximately 2 m with a crater 2.5 m of diameter where emission of fluids and solids (cold brine, mud, gas) occurs. Upper Pliocene-Lower Pleistocene foredeep pelitic deposits (clays with silty-sandy levels) overlain by clayey-silty deposits outcrop in the area. Below the Middle Pliocene deposits, a NNW-SSE anticline which runs approximately 2 kilometers to the WSW of the site represents the main element of the compressional tecnonic setting. Ditchs and streams in the area run along fault systems that are oriented NW-SE and NE-SW. These could be related to the upward migration of deep mud fluids. 2D-ERT results were used to determine the geometry of the high conductivity body related to the uprising of mud fluids and detecting changes in deposits. Detailed geometry reconstruction of the shallow upward migration of mud fluids was obtained by using 3D-ERT. A shear wave reflection seismic survey was undertaken to determine stratigraphic limits and to assess the occurrence of fractured zones along which mud fluids could migrate towards the surface. The survey results revealed that the uprising of deep fluids doesn’t occur exactly below the mud volcano at present. Instead, a high conductivity body occurs at approximately 60 m to the ENE, within a fractured zone in the undercompacted clays. The probable occurrence of a high permeability layer approximately between 20 m and 30 m below ground level, confined by clay layers, gives rise to an overpressured mud reservoir. This is the source of mud fluids which flow to the surface through a mud conduit that appears nearly horizontal at depth and then inclined towards the surface up to the mud volcano crater.


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