Research interests

I am a structural geologist who bases his research on finding innovative synergies of different methods for a better understanding of volcano-tectonics and active tectonics. I am developing an approach centered on merging field data with analogue and numerical modeling and, more recently, with surveys by unmanned aerial vehicles. Since working for my BSc dissertation, and then during my MSc, PhD and post-doc work, I have applied this approach to both orogenic areas and volcanic terrains, mainly in North-America, South-America, Asia and Iceland.

In doing so, I devoted particular attention to several topics: My first research effort was aimed at analysing the recent volcano-tectonic features of Reunion Island by field and remotely-sensed data (Bonali et al., 2011). As I soon realised that validation by numerical modelling is a key tool to understand the very complex structures of volcanic regions, I started exploring the effects of major earthquakes in promoting eruptions, by merging field data with mathematical analyses (Bonali et al., 2012; Bonali et al., 2013; Lanza et al., 2013). I applied this synergic approach to both magma volcanoes (Bonali, 2013) and mud volcanoes (Babayev et al., 2014). Then I readdressed the relations between the transmission of earthquake-induced stress and volcanic eruptions, considering also the role played by the structure of magma plumbing systems. The latter goal has been achieved also through field research at eroded volcanoes and by analogue modelling (Tibaldi et al., 2013, 2014; Tortini et al., 2014; Tadini et al., 2014). This allowed me to propose new models of magma-tectonic interaction at the local (Bonali et al., 2015a) and regional scale (Bonali et al., 2015b) in the Andes.

I was then confronted with trying to figure out how magma can rise upward in compressional settings and thus I set about collecting and merging field, remotely-sensed and seismological data in other convergent margin regions such as Alaska and the Caucaus, thus increasing my international collaborations (Tibaldi et al., 2017a, 2017b, 2017c, 2017d; Tibaldi and Bonali, 2017aVarazanashvili et al., 2017).

My present-day work is focused on merging various methodologies aimed at understading complex interactions between strike-slip faults and rift zones, as well as between reverse and normal faults in volcanic areas of Iceland (Pasquaré Mariotto et al., 2015; Bonali et al., 2017; Tibaldi et al., 2016a, 2016b, 2017e) and South-America (Tibaldi and Bonali, 2018a,b).

Rift zone in NE Iceland

I am also involved in outreach and teaching activities aimed at raising public awareness about geohazard-related issues and their societal implications (see www.geo-social.net).