Fri, 09/29/2023 - 10:09 -


METIQ – Modello Evolutivo del Territorio Italiano nel Quaternario

Italy is a territory geodinamically active and its landscape is mostly due to the complex interactions between climate changes, tectonics and volcanism mostly occurred during the Quaternary and the result is a high diversity of the Quaternary record. For these reasons, the geological and geomorphological Quaternary record is represented by numerous types of deposits, rocks and features of different genesis and ages covering approximately 40% of Italy, and almost 50% of densely populated areas.

The METIQ (namely “Modello Evolutivo del Territorio Italiano nel Quaternario”) project is a scientific initiative aimed at building a robust evolutionary model of the Italian territory in the Quaternary at 1:500,000 scale. More than 150 scientists from the italian Quaternary community are contributing to METIQ on a voluntary basis from academic and research institutions within AIQUA, the Italian Association for Quaternary. Furthermore, three major italian research institutes with a specific institutional mandate on Quaternary topics (ISPRA, INGV, CNR and OGS) have signed a collaboration agreement for METIQ project implementation.

The model will be based on a cartographic database resulting from  the review of available scientific and cartographic data, fully accessible through a WebGIS.  Here  the Quaternary Map  at 1:500,000 scale will be overlapped with interoperable informative layers inherited by existing databases focused on specific information for risk assessment (e.g. earthquake catalogues, capable faults and landslides inventories, active volcanoes, landslides etc.), for Quaternary studies (e.g. paleoenvironments, LGM landscapes, palaeoanthropological and archaeological sites, Quaternary geosites, etc.) and for land planning (e.g. land cover/use, hydrology etc.).

A first product resulting from the METIQ project has been the preliminary version of the Quaternary Map of Italy at scale 1:500,000, that has been printed for the XXI INQUA Congress, Roma 2023. The map is composed by 5 sheets covering the entire Italian territory and surrounding off-shore areas. 

Considering the scale of the map, the legend has been agreed with the aim to represent only primary information classified according to a limited number of comprehensive categories that have driven the harmonization effort.

Five thematic working groups have been assessed and focused on specific topics: i) sedimentary successions outcropping onland (subdivided into six territorial working groups); ii) offshore marine sector around the Italian peninsula; iii) the volcanic rocks and deposits; iv) active tectonics with focus on the Quaternary faults v) MIS-5.5 sea-level working group.

The common document available for the whole country was only the Carta Geologica d’Italia alla scala 1:100,000, edited by ISPRA that has been critically updated and integrated with several other geological and geothematic regional and local maps as well as with scientific papers providing well-constrained information at a more detailed scale.

The METIQ Quaternary map of Italy provides for the first time a cartographic harmonized summary of the Quaternary knowledge and features of Italy, useful for the assessment of the recent landscape evolution through space and time (Quaternary) of the Italian territory where the signal of climate changes, changing palaeoenvironments, tectonics and volcanism can be disentangled at the scale of the whole country according to different proxies.

Considering the 1:500,000 scale of mapped elements this map is not intended to be used for specific studies at local scale such as territorial planning and/or geohazard assessments. For these purposes, users are recommended to use data and maps available at a more appropriate scale.


The preliminary version of the Quaternary Map of Italy is available here.

Explanatory Notes are available here.