This well-illustrated and encyclopedic creation documents the fascinating world of the micromineralogy of Vulcano in great detail. Vulcano is an island of volcanic origin rising just about 500 meters above sea level and spanning an area of only 21 square kilometers. It is named after the Roman god of fire, Vulcan. This book implements a new aspect of fumarolic fields; the authors demonstrate that in addition to acidic fumes and filigree incrustations of native sulfur, there are numerous very striking microminerals, some with very exotic chemical formulas.
The book includes all there is to know about Vulcano; it covers mythology, history, important characters, industrial aspects of sulfur and alum, geological setting, eruptive history, geochemical data on volcanic gases, fluids and minerals. More than 100 mineral species, of which 16 are questionable and 34 are potentially new mineral species, have been identified at Vulcano to the date. By the end of 2010, the authors of this book had successfully characterized 16 of the 24 minerals of which Vulcano is the type locality.
The book is available in hard cover and is written in Italian. It is very well prepared and richly illustrated, with lots of photos and images to support the text. Even for people who don’t speak Italian, it is most interesting and understandable. The last 20 pages summarize the most important text in English and give a good overview of the book. A foretaste of the book can be found online (http://forum.amiminerals.it/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=7670).
Impressive pictures of volcanic bombs that were ejected during the 1888–1890 eruption, and reports of the eruption and its aftermath, give a good idea about the nature of volcanic activity at Vulcano. The geologic column is well documented; the authors have included colored maps and sketches, showing the different active phases during which the volcanic island formed. There are striking photographs of the collection sites and of the various fumaroles, giving a good impression of the geochemical environment during mineral formation. I really appreciated the information that the authors added on fumarolic activity, major compositions of volcanic gases and a general idea of the genetic model. Cycles of seawater-dominated hydrothermal fluids alternate with magmatic fluids to control the geochemical signatures of the system.
The mineralogy part is ordered alphabetically. For each mineral, the name of the mineral, its derivation, and its chemical formula are provided. The descriptions provide information on discovery site, crystal structure, symmetry, unit-cell constants, and contain a number of fantastic photographs and scanning electron microscope images. For the new minerals, there are even colored illustrations of the crystal structure. This part is followed by a dense text about crystal chemistry structured into different element groups, which is also presented in English at the back of the book. The English part only contains information about minerals that are unique to Vulcano and that are quite exceptional. At the end of the book are some tables giving a good overview about the chronology of the eruptions between 300 A.C. and 1892, a table listing all minerals present at Vulcano and a detailed chart showing mineral occurrences linked to their collection sites.
The authors have managed to produce a fantastic book summarizing the surprisingly diverse mineralogy at Vulcano and illustrating the stunning micromineralogical world of volcanic incrustations. This book contains all the pictures and illustrations that one misses when reading a classical paper about volcanic incrustations. It is a great contribution to a proper understanding of metal and halogen budgets at an active volcano.