The Centre for Earth Evolution and Dynamics




Adriano Mazzini is a Researcher in marine geology, geophysics and sedimentary geology at the Centre for Earth Evolution and Dynamics (University of Oslo). Here he is conducting multidisciplinary studies on mud volcanism dynamics during dormant and active phase, hydrocarbon plumbing systems, and sedimentary hosted hydrothermal systems.


In total he participated in more than 20 marine expeditions (e.g., Mediterranean and Black Sea, Norwegian Sea, throughout the Atlantic Ocean, and Lake Baikal, Labrador Sea, Baffin Bay, Barents Sea, Arctic Ocean) combining acoustic (seismic, sidescan sonar, multibeam, sub bottom profilers), sampling (Piston corer, gravity corer, box corer, grab, dredge) and seafloor imaging tools (ROV, TV grab) targeting shallow and deep depositional systems like submarine slides, conturites and turbidites systems, pockmark fields, cold seeps, carbonate mounds and mud volcanoes. He joined and organized more than 20 field work campaigns in France, Spain, Turkey, Crimea, South Africa, Azerbaijan, Iran, Argentina, Italy, Trinidad, Indonesia, and California investigating turbidite systems, anoxic basins, hydrothermal systems, fossil hydrothermal vents, mud volcanoes.


Since 1995 he focused his research in offshore hydrocarbon seepages and mud volcanoes, topics that became part of his PhD (University of Aberdeen). He participated to more than 20 marine expeditions; among the findings are new mud volcano fields (Mediterranean, Black Sea and Gulf of Cadiz), sampling of the first gas hydrates and methanogenic carbonates in the pockmark fields in the Norwegian Sea (Nyegga, Troll) and new coral mound fields offshore Ireland. Since 2005 he continued studying offshore and onshore piercement structures in sedimentary and volcanic basins exploring, mud volcanoes, and hydrothermal vents in Italy, Crimea, South Africa, Azerbaijan, Iran, Trinidad, Indonesia, and California. Particularly successful projects have been the studies of mud volcanism in Azerbaijan and the hydrothermal system in the Salton Sea (California) that provided qualitative and quantitative results. His interest in mud volcanoes was extended to extra planetary studies identifying potential landing sites for mud volcano exploration on Mars. In 2007-2009 he focussed on climate changes demonstrating the link between the coeval Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event (Early Jurassic) in Argentina with the large magmatic eruption and associated venting in the Karoo Basin (South Africa). In 2009 he investigated the primary migration of hydrocarbon fluids from source rocks using multidisciplinary techniques (petrography, 3D tomography, analogue experiments, and numerical modelling).

Since 2006, he has been focussing on the spectacular Lusi mud eruption in Indonesia. In 2012 he won the ERC grant (LUSI LAB project) to continue his research in this eruption.

Main research interests and projects:

The Lusi eruption (Indonesia): geochemistry and triggering scenarios
Collaborators: H. Svensen, S. Planke, G. Akhmanov

Mud volcanism in Azerbaijan and the origin of emitted fluids and gases
Collaborators: H. Svensen, S. Planke, G. Akhmanov, I. Gulyev

 Mud volcanism on Mars: terrestrial analogues and formational scenarios
Collaborators: J. Skinner, E. Kite

Pockmark formation, gas hydrates and seep carbonate geochemistry, offshore Norway
Collaborators: H. Svensen, S. Planke, M. Ivanov

Mud volcanism and authigenic carbonates in the Black Sea: the subsurface plumbing system
Collaborators: M. Ivanov

Gas venting, global climate changes and mass extinctions. Early Jurassic chemostratigraphy and dating of shale in the Neuquen Basin in Argentina
Collaborators: H. Svensen, S. Planke, F. Corfu, H. Leanza.

Mechanisms of primary migration of hydrocarbon fluids from source rocks
Collaborators: P. Meakin, B. Jamtveit, A. Malthe-Sørenssen, F. Renard and D. K. Dysthe

West Porcupine Bank: a dynamic setting for deep-water coral mounds development and carbonate-phosphate deposits
Collaborators: A. Akhmetzhanov, X. Monteys, M. Ivanov


 March 2005 - present: Researcher at Physics and Geological Processes (PGP, University of Oslo) focussing on dynamics of mud volcanism and hydrocarbon seepage systems, palaeoclimate changes, hydrocarbon fluid migration from source roks.

May 2004-March 2005: Research Assistant at University of Aberdeen (hydrocarbon seepages and turbidite complexes).

April 2004: Ph.D. in Marine Geology, University of Aberdeen, Department of Geology and Petroleum Geology. Thesis: "Methane-related authigenic carbonates: implications for hydrocarbon plumbing systems". Supervisors: Prof. John Parnell and Dr Bryan Cronin

1997-2000: QC-Geophysicist for Baker Hughes-Western Geophysical onshore and offshore:

  • 3D seismic data interpretation; QCing during acquisition and processing of all the phases of an offshore survey, from raw data to full migration, team leader and trainer for new employees
  • Cables deployment strategy, beck deck operations
  • Fast Rescue Boat and onboard Rescue Team, CMV operations
1997 MSc degree in Marine Geology, "University of Genoa - Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam". Thesis: "Sedimentary models and recognition of Heinrich layers in a deep sea piston-core (North-eastern Atlantic)" Supervisors: Prof. Giuliano Fierro, Prof. Maria Bianca Cita


Computer skills: Unix language, Omega (seismic data processing), MIDAS-PDL (survey logging software), Robotic library administrator,  various graphic programs.

Languages: Italian, English, French, Spanish (conversational)

Acoustic data interpretation: sidescan sonar systems, sub-bottom profiler, air gun high resolution and deep seismics, multibeam

Laboratory analyses: grain-size, carbonate content, clay minerals, carbon/oxygen isotopes, standard petrography, XRD, SEM, cathodoluminescence, Raman spectroscopy, UV light and fluid inclusion microthermometry and microscopy

Bottom sampling techniques: grab, piston corer, gravity corer, box corer, Kasten corer, dredge, CTD Rosette sampler, submarine TV camera survey

Management of coring operation and leadership of interpretation teams on several research cruises. Collation and editing of cruise reports



March 1999: IBM-AIX Course (Marine Systems Administration for workstations) Isleworth, UK

February 1999: HSE Management Course (Safety Management Systems, Isleworth, UK)

December 1998: MIDAS-PDL Course (Marine Integrated Data Acquisition System-Prospect Data Logger; data management & QC system for marine streamer operations, Houston-Texas, U.S.A.).

September 1998: FRC Course (Fast Rescue Boat-Maritime Rescue International; Design, Propulsion and Operations of Fast Rescue Boats (practical and theory), Stonehaven UK).

March 1998: Omega Workshop Course (OMEGA Data Processing; Omega Class for data processing of marine and land seismic data on work-stations, Isleworth, UK).

January 1998: SEIS1 Course (Safety & Management for Marine Seismic Personnel; survival techniques on sea; fire fighting techniques; first aid techniques, Maritime Centre Warsash, UK).

Other qualifications: Cadet instructor of sailing, International diving patent of 1st level, Caving patent of 1st level, International crane driver patent.

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