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Geological Studies in Italy

The Geology in Italy program is based at the Osservatorio Geologico di Coldigioco, located in the small village (population=5) of Coldigioco in the Northern Apennines mountain range in the Marches region of Italy. The site is about 6 km from the small town of Apiro, 8 km from Cingoli (comparable in size to Northfield), and 60 km from the major city of Ancona on the Adriatic coast. Coldigioco (“hill of play or game” in Italian) is historically significant as the birthplace of a new educational movement in Italy that stressed cooperative learning rather than individual competition; the Carleton geology program will carry on this tradition. The Osservatorio, housed in a collection of 200 to 400-year-old renovated stone houses, consists of laboratories for rock preparation and analysis, classrooms, library, computer room, dormitories, and a dining hall, including a wood-burning pizza oven.


Cameron Davidson, Professor of Geology

Cameron Davidson’s research and teaching interests are in petrology, structural geology, and tectonics. Professor Davidson lived with his family for three years in Basel, Switzerland in the early 1990’s where he worked in the Bergell Alps along the Swiss-Italian border north of Milan. This work focused on the relative timing of intrusion of the Bergell pluton and back-thrusting along the Insubric shear zone during Alpine deformation. He maintains his interest in Alpine tectonics, and enjoys the civilized field geology of Europe.

Alessandro Montanari is the Director of the Osservatorio Geologico di Coldigioco and Paula Metallo, his wife, is an American-born artist. Professor Montanari has been a co-director of the Carleton Geology in Italy seminar since 1993. He was born and raised in Italy but ventured to Berkeley, California, for 13 years of graduate and post-doctoral work. In 1992, he returned to Italy with his family to create the geological observatory that he directs. He has published extensively (nearly a hundred articles in scientific journals and several books) on almost all aspects of Italian geology and is one of the world’s foremost authorities on the record of asteroid and comet impacts on Earth. He is also an accomplished musician and cook.

Related Documents

  • Italy Schedule (37 KB PDF Document)
    A detailed schedule of the Geology seminar in Italy.