Using reconstructed unconformity-bounded stratigraphy, the geological evolution of Panarea and surrounding islets can be described in terms of the interaction between the growing volcano and sea-level fluctuations. From the recognition of marine deposits corresponding to marine oxygen isotope stage (MIS) 5 and of widespread Brown Tuff-type pyroclastic deposits on Panarea, two first-order unconformities (UI and UII) of regional stratigraphic significance can be correlated with the island of Lipari and adopted as a means of correlation on an inter-island scale in the Aeolian Volcanic District. Then, two second-order and three third-order unconfomities, consisting of erosional surfaces related to minor sea-level fluctuations or to subaerial reworking operating during the phases of volcanic inactivity, are introduced. The construction of the volcanic edifice occurred during seven successive eruptive epochs of local volcanic activity, between 150 and 10 ka, with intervening dormant periods characterized by the activation of reworking processes in subaerial and marine environments, and by the emplacement of widespread pyroclastic deposits of external provenance.

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