Dr Marco Maffione

Dr Marco Maffione

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Lecturer in Earth Sciences

Contact details

Address
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

Dr Marco Maffione is a field geologist interested in global tectonics and large-scale tectonics processes operating at plate boundaries, including subduction initiation, mid-ocean ridge spreading, and deformation of orogenic systems. He specialises in palaeomagnetism, structural geology, and magnetic fabrics, and has recently applied these techniques in various ophiolites of Turkey, Cyprus, Albania, Greece, Oman and Tibet.

See Dr Marco Maffione's personal website

Qualifications

  • Degree in Geology (2004) – University of Roma Tre (Rome)
  • PhD in Geophysics (2009) – University of Bologna (Bologna)

Biography

Dr Marco Maffione did graduate work on the tectonic evolution of the western Alpine arc before completing a PhD on the tectonics and kinematics of curved mountain belts. After several postdocs in which he worked on the tectonic evolution of the southern Apennines (INGV), the kinematics of oceanic detachment faults in ophiolites (Plymouth University), and the kinematics of subduction initiation in the Neo-Tethys Ocean (Utrecht University), he took up the post of Lecturer in Earth Sciences at Birmingham. 

  • 2017-current   Lecturer in Earth Sciences (GEES, University of Birmingham, UK)
  • 2012-2017       Postdoctoral fellow (Utrecht University, NL)
  • 2010-2012       Marie Curie Postdoctoral fellow (Plymouth University, UK)
  • 2009-2010       Postdoctoral fellow (INGV, IT)
  • 2006-2009       PhD geophysics (University of Bologna, IT)
  • 1998-2004       Degree in Geology (University Roma Tre, IT)

Teaching

Dr Marco Maffione teaches on the following topics:

  • Dynamic solid earth
  • Structural geology

Postgraduate supervision

Current (University of Birmingham)

  • Jack Turney - Magnetic susceptibility of oceanic lithosphere units from the Lizard Ophiolite
  • Jack Richardson (PhD co-supervised with Carl Stevenson) – The origin of magnetic fabric in evaporites 

Completed (other universities)

  • Jannah de Roos- Mantle diapirism in the Oman ophiolite
  • Louise Koornneef - An integrated paleomagnetic, petrological and geochemical study of the Oman ophiolite
  • Noortje van Rijsingen - Neothethyan spreading axis reconstruction using ophiolites from Greece
  • Freek van der Goes - Paleogeographic reconstruction of the Tethyan Ocean: Paleomagnetic constraints from the dyke complex of Turkish ophiolites
  • Giovanni de Gelder - Tectonic rotations and paleospreading directions of Neotethyan ophiolites, Central Turkey
  • Chun-Tak Chu - The structure of the sheeted dyke complex in the western part of the troodos ophiolite

Research

Dr Maffione’s research focuses on fundamental tectonic processes that form the basis of the solid Earth cycle. Below is a quick overview of the main past and current projects. 

Subduction initiation

He is investigating the kinematics of subduction initiation to understand where subduction nucleates in ocean basins and which structure accommodates it. He is currently reconstructing the evolution of paleo-subduction zones formed within the Neo-Tethys Ocean in the Upper Cretaceous. By restoring sheeted dykes from ophiolites of Turkey, Cyprus, and Syria to their original orientation, he is able to determine paleo-spreading directions, and from these the overall geometry of the subduction system. Based on the known motion of plates in the past he is trying to determine the structure (ridge or transform fault) that accommodated subduction. Dr Maffione has recently proposed a new mechanism of subduction initiation along oceanic detachment faults. 

Oceanic detachment fault in ophiolites

Low-angle extensional detachment faults accommodate up to 80% of plate divergence at slow spreading mid-ocean ridges and allow exhumation of upper mantle and lower crust portions at the seafloor. Dr Maffione’s research is focused at understanding the mechanism and kinematics of these faults by studying fossil analogue preserved in ophiolites. He recognized the first on-land fossil oceanic detachment fault in Albania, and more recently he identified the occurrence of detachment faults in the paleo-forearc system of south Tibet. 

Serpentinization of mantle rocks and their magnetic properties

Mantle rocks are non magnetic. When these rocks interact with water at low temperature they are transformed into another rock called serpentinite, which is extremely magnetic. Dr Maffione is interested in studying the progressive variation of the magnetic properties in mantle rocks when they get hydrated.   

Seismogenic properties of serpentinized mantle rocks

During hydration (serpentinization) at mid-ocean ridges or above active subduction zones, mantle rocks become progressively weak. Mantle rocks along plate boundaries play a fundamental role in controlling the seismicity distribution as they form the main constituent of tectonic plates. However, the rheological properties of mantle rocks when they become serpentinized are poorly constrained. Dr Maffione’s research is focused on exploring the full rheological properties of mantle rocks to determine the conditions that make these rocks seismogenic.

Evolution of curved mountain belts (oroclines)

Large part of the early career of Dr Maffione has been dedicated to the study of the mechanisms of kinematics of formation of curved orogens. Using palaeomagnetic methods he has explored the various processes occurring at three different large-scale orogenic arcs (Alps and Andes) that were responsible for the curved shape of these orogens. 

Magnetostratigraphy

Dr Maffione applies palaeomagnetic techniques to determine the age of sedimentary sequences using magnetostratigraphic analyses. 

Magnetic fabric

Weak deformations are often difficult to recognize and measure in the field. For this the anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility (AMS) is the quickest and most reliable method for microfabric analysis in rocks. Dr Maffione has applied AMS analysis to sedimentary units to reconstruct the evolution of paleo-strain fields in orogenic settings.

Publications

Published papers

22. Maffione, M., van Hinsbergen, D.J.J., de Gelder, G.I.N.O., van der Goes, F., and Morris, A. (2017). Kinematics of Late Cretaceous subduction initiation in the Neo-Tethys Ocean reconstructed from ophiolites of Turkey, Cyprus, and Syria. Journal of Geophysical Research Solid Earth, 122, doi:10.10002/2016JB013821.

21.  Malandri, C. Soukis, K., Maffione, M., Özkaptan, M., Vassilakis, E., Lozius, S., and van Hinsbergen, D.J.J. (2016), Vertical axis rotations accommodated along the ‘Mid-Cycladic Lineament’ on Paros island in the extensional heart of the Aegean orocline (Greece), Lithosphere, 9(1), 78-99. 

20.  Arculus, R., Ishizuka, O., Bogus, K.A., Gurnis, M., Hickey-Vargas, R., Aljahdali, M.H., Bandini, A.N., Barth, A.P., Brandl, P.A., Drab, L., do Monte Guerra, R., Hamada, N., Jiang, F., Kanayama, K., Kender, S., Kusano, Y., Li, H., Loudin, L.C., Maffione, M., Marsaglia, K.M., McCarthy, A., Meffre, S., Morris, A., Savov, I.P., Sena Da Silva, C.E., Tepley III, F.J., van der Land, C., Yogodzinski, G.M., Zhang, Z. (2016), Reply to 'Unclear causes for subduction', Nature Geoscience, 9, 338-339, doi:10.1038/ngeo2704. 

19.  van Hinsbergen, D. J. J., M. Maffione, A. Plunder, N. Kaymakcı, M. Ganerød, B. W. H. Hendriks, F. Corfu, D. Gürer, G. I. N. O. de Gelder, K. Peters, et al. (2016), Tectonic evolution and paleogeography of the Kırşehir Block and the Central Anatolian Ophiolites, Turkey, Tectonics, 35, doi:10.1002/2015TC004018. 

18. Morris, A., Maffione, M. (2016), Is the Troodos ophiolite (Cyprus) a complete, transform fault-bounded Neotethyan ridge segment? Geology, 44(3), 199-202. 

17. Maffione M., Fernandez-Moreno C., Ghiglione, M., Speranza, F., van Hinsbergen, D.J.J., Lodolo, E. (2015), Constraints on deformation of the Southern Andes since the Cretaceous from anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility. Tectonophysics, 665, 236-250. 

16.   Arculus, R., Ishizuka, O., Bogus, K.A., Gurnis, M., Hickey-Vargas, R., Aljahdali, M.H., Bandini, A.N., Barth, A.P., Brandl, P.A., Drab, L., do Monte Guerra, R., Hamada, N., Jiang, F., Kanayama, K., Kender, S., Kusano, Y., Li, H., Loudin, L.C., Maffione, M., Marsaglia, K.M., McCarthy, A., Meffre, S., Morris, A., Savov, I.P., Sena Da Silva, C.E., Tepley III, F.J., van der Land, C., Yogodzinski, G.M., Zhang, Z. (2015). A record of spontaneous subduction initiation in the Izu-Bonin-Mariana arc. Nature Geoscience, 8, 728–733, doi:10.1038/ngeo2515 

15. Maffione, M., van Hinsbergen, D.J.J., Koornneef, L, Huang, W., Guilmette, C., Ding, L., and Kapp, P. (2015). Forearc hyperextension dismembered the South Tibetan ophiolites. Geology, 43, 475–478, doi:10.1130/G36472.1. 

14. Maffione, M., Thieulot, C., van Hinsbergen, D.J.J., Morris, M, Plümper, O., and Spakman, W. (2015). Dynamics of intra-oceanic subduction initiation: 1. Oceanic detachment fault inversion and the formation of forearc ophiolites. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 16, doi:10.1002/2015GC005746. 

13. van Hinsbergen, D.J.J., Peters, K., Maffione, M., Spakman, W., Guilmette, C., Thieulot, C., Plümper, O.P., Gürer, D., Brouwer, F.M., Aldanmaz, E., and Kaymakci, N. (2015). Dynamics of intra-oceanic subduction initiation: 2. Supra-subduction zone ophiolite formation and metamorphic sole exhumation in context of absolute plate motions. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 16, doi:10.1002/2015GC005745. 

12. Huang, W., van Hinsbergen, D.J.J., Maffione, M., Orme, D., Dupont-Nivet, G., Guilmette, C., Ding, L., Guo, Z., and Kapp, P. (2015). Lower Cretaceous Xigaze ophiolites formed in the Gangdese forearc: evidence from paleomagnetism, sediment provenance, and stratigraphy. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 415, 142-153. 

11. Di Stefano, A., Baldassini, N., Maniscalco, R., Speranza, F., Maffione, M., Cascella, A., Foresi, L.M. (2015). New bio-magnetostratigraphic data on the Miocene Moria Section (Northern Apennines, Italy): connections between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean. Newsletters on Stratigraphy, 48(2), 135-152. 

10. Huang, W., van Hinsbergen, D.J.J., Dekkers, M.J., Garzanti, E., Dupont-Nivet, G., Lippert, P.C., Li, X., Maffione, M., Langereis, C.G., Hu, X., Guo, Z., and Kapp, P. (2015). Paleolatitude of the Tibetan Himalaya from primary and secondary magnetizations of Jurassic to Lower Cretaceous sedimentary rocks. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 16, doi:10.1002/ 2014GC005624. 

9. Advokaat, E.L., van Hinsbergen, D.J.J., Maffione, M., Langereis, C.G., Vissers, R.L.M., Cherchi, A., Schroeder, R., Madani, H., and Columbu, S. (2014). Eocene rotation of Sardinia, and the paleogeography of the western Mediterranean region. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 401, 183-195. 

8. van Hinsbergen, D.J.J., Mensink, M., Langereis, C.G., Maffione, M., Spalluto, L., Tropeano, M., Sabato, L. (2014). Did Adria rotate relative to Africa? Solid Earth, 5, 611-629. 

7. Maffione, M., Morris, A., Plümper, O., van Hinsbergen, D.J.J. (2014). Magnetic properties of variably serpentinized peridotites and their implication for the evolution of oceanic core complexes. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, 15, 923-944. 

6. Maffione, M., Morris, A., and Anderson, M.W. (2013). Recognizing detachment-mode seafloor spreading in the deep geological past. Scientific Reports, 3, 2336, doi:10.1038/ srep02336. 

5. Maffione, M., F. Speranza, A. Cascella, S. Longhitano, D. Chiarella (2013). A ~ 125° post-early Serravallian counterclockwise rotation of the Gorgoglione Formation (Southern Apennines, Italy): New constraints for the formation of the Calabrian Arc. Tectonophysics, 590, 24-37. 

4. Maffione, M., S. Pucci, L. Sagnotti, F. Speranza (2012). Magnetic fabric of Pleistocene continental clays from the hanging-wall of an active low-angle normal fault (Altotiberina Fault, Italy). International Journal of Earth Science, 101, 849-861. 

3. Maffione, M., F. Speranza, C. Faccenna, E.A. Rossello (2010). Paleomagnetic evidence for a pre-early Eocene (~50 Ma) bending of the Patagonian orocline (Tierra del Fuego, Argentina): paleogeographic and tectonic implications. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 289, 273–286. 

2. Maffione, M., F. Speranza, C. Faccenna (2009). Bending of the Bolivian orocline and growth of the Central Andean plateau: paleomagnetic and structural constraints from the Eastern Cordillera (22-24°S, NW Argentina). Tectonics, 28, doi: 10.1029/2008TC002402. 

1. Maffione, M., F. Speranza, C. Faccenna, A. Cascella, G. Vignaroli, L. Sagnotti (2008). A synchronous Alpine and Corsica-Sardinia rotation. Journal of Geophysical Research, 113, B03104, doi: 10.1029/2007JB005214. 

Book chapter 

1. Maffione, M. (2016), Kinematic evolution of the Southern Andean orogenic arc. Book Chapter, in: Geodynamic Evolution of the Southernmost Andes - Connections with the Scotia Arc. Ghiglione, M.C. (Ed). Springer (in press) 

Non peer-reviewed papers 

2. Arculus, R.J., Ishizuka, O., Bogus, K., K.A., Gurnis, M., Hickey-Vargas, R., Aljahdali, M.H., Bandini, A.N., Barth, A.P., Brandl, P.A., Drab, L., do Monte Guerra, R., Hamada, N., Jiang, F., Kanayama, K., Kender, S., Kusano, Y., Li, H., Loudin, L.C., Maffione, M., Marsaglia, K.M., McCarthy, A., Meffre, S., Morris, A., Savov, I.P., Sena Da Silva, C.E., Tepley III, F.J., van der Land, C., Yogodzinski, G.M., Zhang, Z. (2015), Proceedings of the International Ocean Discovery Program Volume 351. 

1. Maffione, M., F. Speranza, C. Faccenna, A. Cascella, G. Vignaroli, L. Sagnotti (2010), A synchronous Alpine and Corsica-Sardinia rotation: new paleomagnetic evidences from the Tertiary Piedmont Basin (NW Italy). Trabajos de Geología, Universidad de Oviedo, 30, 28-36.