Afar Repository Project

The Afar repository project is an on-going effort aiming at creating an online archive of the rocks and thin sections that were originally collected in the Afar rift in the 70’s by several Franch-Italian expeditions. The purpose of creating the archive is to make this unique collection available to scientists internationally to aid their research on rifting processes and on the Afar region.

The scientists that collected the samples in the 70’s are Franco Barberi, Enrico Bonatti, Mario Di Paola, Giorgio Marinelli, Roberto Santacroce, Haroun Tazieff, Jaques Varet, Gaetano Ferrara, Sergio Borsi, A. Gadalia, Jean-Louis Cheminée, Francoise Gasse, Michel Treuil, O. Richard, Laurent Stieltjes, J. Demange, Gaetano Giglia and Roberto Cioni. The Afar repository project was born in 2014 from an idea of Luca Lupi, Mauro Rosi and Roberto Santacroce and an initial financial support by Stratex Int. PLC. The support offered from all the people involved in the expeditions to Afar, their institutions and Stratex Int. PLC. is much appreciated.

The collection comprises 2055 rock samples and 9501 thin sections from the three rift arms of the Afar triple junction. The digitalization of the orignal sampling maps and approximate sampling locations was completed by Laura De Dosso in 2017. Since then, sample locations have been progressively updated and precise locations of samples in northern MER south of latitude 11°N, in Central Afar, at Ma'alalta, at Afdera, at the Erta Ale lava lake, at Alu-Dalafilla, and at Borale were obtained by Carolina Pagli and her students and collaborators, the work is still in progress. 

Access to the repository and data analyses

The Afar repository is stored at the Department of Earth Sciences of the University of Pisa, where it can be accessed by scientists upon request. Analyses of rock samples can be carried in the Pisa laboratories or abroad upon request (see Apply for data).