Mauro Passarella


Postdoctoral Fellow, SEAS (Shaping European Research Leaders for Marine Sustainability) - Centre for Deep Sea Research/Geochemistry and Geobiology Group


Research groups


Personal Background. The study of hydrothermal fluids and their impacts on rock formations underneath the deeper zones of both the oceanic and continental crust have been a special focus of my research interests. My personal background in aqueous geochemistry is strongly focused on the experimental simulations of rock-fluid-gas interactions, at sub-critical and supercritical condition, for both offshore and onshore environments. The experimental approach is for me the foremost alternative to directly duplicating these geological scenarios, and it represents the closest that I can get to actually observing the real environment. With my experimental work I intend to provide reliable geological data to facilities aim to the decarbonization.

Academic Research. I am a SEAS postdoctoral fellow at Centre for Deep-Sea Research, Department of Earth Science, GEO. My research focuses on CO2 storage in mafic/ultramafic rock. My work will be concentrated on laboratory simulations of basalt-seawater-COinteraction by using a flow-through system, at different T-P conditions. This will permit a better comprehension of the mechanisms regulating the mineral trapping of CO2, in both onshore and offshore environments.

The SEAS (Shaping European Research Leaders for Marine Sustainability) project, at UiB, has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 101034309. SEAS project is aimed at training future research leaders for the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean, seas, and marine resources. We are an interdisciplinary group of postdoctoral fellows at the University of Bergen, Norway who aim to deliver high-quality research with a positive, on the ground impact. Our goals are healthy marine ecosystems and equitable livelihoods.


Academic article

See a complete overview of publications in Cristin.

  1. (Article). Altar, D.E., Kaya, E., Zarrouk, S.J., Passarella, M. and Mountain, B.W., 2023, Reactive transport modelling under supercritical conditions. Geothermics, 111: 102725.;
  2. (Article). Altar, D.E., Kaya, E., Zarrouk, S.J., Passarella, M. and Mountain, B.W., 2022, Numerical geochemical modelling of basalt-water interaction under subcritical conditions. Geothermics, 105: 102520.;
  3. (Ph.D. Thesis). Passarella, M., 2021, Basalt - fluid interactions at subcritical and supercritical conditions: An experimental study, Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington.;
  4. (Conference Paper). Passarella, M., Mountain, B. and Seward, T., 2017, Basalt-seawater interaction at near-supercritical conditions (400˚C, 500 bar): Hydrothermal alteration in the sub-seafloor. Proceedings 39th New Zealand Geothermal Workshop, 24.;
  5. (Article). Passarella, M., Mountain, B.W. and Seward, T.M., 2017, Experimental Simulations of Basalt-fluid Interaction at Supercritical Hydrothermal Condition (400˚C – 500bar). Procedia Earth and Planetary Science, 17: 770-773.;
  6. (Conference Paper). Passarella, M., Mountain, B.W. and Seward, T.M., Year 2016, Basalt-Fluid Interaction at Supercritical Conditions (400˚C, 500 bar): an Experimental Approach. Proceedings 38th New Zealand Geothermal Workshop, 25.;
  7. (Conference Paper). Passarella, M., Mountain, B., Zarrouk, S. and Burnell, J., Year, Experimental simulation of re-injection of non-condensable gases into geothermal reservoirs: greywacke-fluid interaction. Proceedings, 37th New Zealand Geothermal Workshop.;
  8. (Article). Brothelande, E., Finizola, A., Peltier, A., Delcher, E., Komorowski, J.-C., Di Gangi, F., Borgogno, G., Passarella, M., Trovato, C. and Legendre, Y., 2014, Fluid circulation pattern inside La Soufrière volcano (Guadeloupe) inferred from combined electrical resistivity tomography, self-potential, soil temperature and diffuse degassing measurements. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 288: 105-122.;
  9. (Article). Giordano, N., Bima, E., Caviglia, C., Comina, C., Ntandrone, G. and Passarella, M., 2013, Thermal box: analogical and numerical modeling of thermal flow in saturated and unsaturated conditions. GEAM-GEOINGEGNERIA AMBIENTALE E MINERARIA-GEAM-GEOENGINEERING ENVIRONMENT AND MINING: 23-32.;
  1. Best Paper in New Zealand Current Innovation: “Basalt-Fluid Interaction At Supercritical Conditions (400˚C, 500 bar): An Experimental Approach” at the 38th New Zealand Geothermal Association Conference, Auckland (2016).

2023 - Oct 2025. Audio-Visual Project  “Meditations on the Deep Sea”.  Public-facing portrayals of the deep sea are few and far between, causing many to feel disconnected or fearful of deep-sea environments. On the rare occasions that these environments are presented, they are invariably saturated with political, environmental, or social narratives laden with strong preconceptions. Only a handful of people have had the privilege of interacting with raw footage of the deep sea.

Meditations on the Deep Sea is an ongoing audio-visual project dedicated to the creation of immersive, intimate experiences, connecting us with this unique environment through the narrative power of music.

Team and roles:
PI: Daniel Koestner (Composer, Optical Oceanographer, SEAS fellow IFT)
Co-I: Cody Gallo (Producer and Audience Experience Designer, UiB Media & Interaction Design Master’s Student)
Co-I: Mauro Passarella (Deep Sea Geology and Film, SEAS Fellow GEO)
Collaborators: Aiste Klimasauskaite (Deep Sea Social Science, SEAS Fellow IVT); Claudiu Eduard Nedelciu (Deep Sea Systems Dynamics, SEAS Fellow Geography); Natalya Gallo (Deep Sea Ecology and sustainable ocean management, Postdoc BIO); Paul Dees (Plankton Ecology and Modeling, SEAS Fellow GFI); Shea Cheatham (Ethics and Marine Optics, PhD Student IFT).

Here, we share an unedited 7-minute look into the deep sea from inside a submersible just outside one of Norway’s deepest fjords (Sognefjord). The footage was collected during the OceanX-UiB research cruise in August 2023. The promoter clip includes accompanying music composed by Daniel Koestner, with sounds from the submersible operations (video editing by Mauro Passarella).

Music by Daniel Koestner:


Experimental Work / Laboratory Environment

The laboratory offers a wide range of experimental equipment to investigate mineral replacement and dissolution reactions at conditions ranging from Earth surface weathering to deep-crustal hydrothermal, in rock- and fluid-dominated, open and closed systems. The integrated post-experimental analysis of recovered fluid and solid samples is conducted in collaboration with LabELISA, ELMILAB, and through external research collaborations. The current research focus lies on metal release and transport, CO2 sequestration, and feedback mechanisms between coupled reactions.  

  • Continuous-flow hydrothermal reactor

PARR Instruments™ custom-built hydrothermal reactor capable of continuous-flow hydrothermal fluid-solid experiments up to conditions of 400˚C and 400 bar. All wetted parts are built from C276 and Ta-coated T316, thus offering strong resistance to corrosion. The fluid-delivery system comprises a VINDUM VP-6K-HC High-Pressure Metering Pump (flowrate: 0.00002 – 54 mL/min) and a SFT-10 constant flow/constant pressure dual piston supercritical CO2 pump made by Supercritical Fluid Technologies, INC. (flowrate: 0.01 to 24.0 mL/min, and P: 10 to 10,000 psi, and constant PC data logging). CO2 dissolution is achieved in a stirred 250 mL water-cooled high-pressure mixing reactor. Continuous logging of pressure and temperature data from three thermocouples and two pressure transducers, as well as up- and downstream fluid sampling ports allow for complete monitoring of reaction parameters. A DEGASi 6-channel degasser system has been added for hydrothermal flow experiments at low fO2 conditions relevant for deep-crustal fluid flow systems.

  • Compact stirred high-pressure reactors

Two series 5500 HP Stirred Compact Reactors (PARR Instruments™) offer closed system hydrothermal fluid-rock interaction experimental capabilities up to 350 ˚C and 200 bar. Wetted parts (dip tube, stirrer, thermocouple, liner) are composed of grade-2 titanium. The reactors are equipped with liquid and gas sampling ports connected to a 1 mL Vici sampling loop. An additional gas-inlet port allows for experiments in e.g., N2 or Ar atmospheres and closed-system carbonation experiments.

  • Closed system acid digestion vessels

Closed system vessels represent the simplest hydrothermal reactors but nevertheless offer exciting capabilities for large-scale screening and time-series experiments. The vessels are fitted with PTFE liners (Tmax: 220˚C) with few additional PPL liners (Tmax: 280˚C) for higher temperature experiments at vapor pressure. Three VWR forced convection ovens allow for simultaneous experiments at three different temperatures, one of which is equipped with a custom-built N2-purged vacuum chamber for experiments in O2-free atmosphere.


Academic and Extra Activities

This page is dedicated to both my academic and extra activities including workshops, internships, collaborations, and personal contents correlated with my postdoctoral research position.

Jan 2024. Interviews on CO2 Storage in Basalt. Italian Magazines: 1st) Article on PIEMONTE PARCHI; 2nd) Article on PIEMONTE NATURA NEWSLETTER / Journalist: Pasquale De Vita / E-mail: Other credits: Ufficio Stampa della Giunta Regionale del Piemonte - Piemonte Informa - Facebook Page Regione Piemonte;

Nov 2023 - Dec 2024. Internship. Equinor ASA, Sansdli, Bergen, Norway: CO2 storage in basalt (COStorage Maturation Project);

Aug - Sep 2023. Workshop. NordVulk Summer School on Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) in the Nordic countries, Iceland (Reykjanes Peninsula / Fagradalsfjall lava fields);

Jul - Aug 2023. OceanX Cruise. Embark on an extraordinary voyage aboard the OceanXplorer, a cutting-edge exploration, research, and media vessel. Our mission: to delve into the depths of the Sognefjord and the rugged Norwegian Sea coastline. During this remarkable expedition, my colleague Daniel Koestner (from the Department of Physics and Technology) and I joined a dedicated research team. Our purpose? To capture high-quality video and audio material for our ambitious audio-visual project (Projects section). As we sailed, we were not only immersed in the breathtaking natural beauty but also privileged to witness the professional OceanX media team in action. Their mastery of filming techniques left us inspired and eager to incorporate their expertise into our own creative endeavors (Videos: UiB & OceanX - Research Cruise in Norway / Introducing OceanXplorer).The OceanXplorer is unlike any vessel before it. Equipped with state-of-the-art laboratories, onboard wet and dry labs allow scientists to study marine samples up close. Newly discovered bioluminescent species illuminate aquarium tanks, while advanced eDNA analysis provides crucial clues for our next discoveries;

Nov 2022 - Sep 2023. Collaboration with Wild Space Productions (WSP) and Freeborne Media two productions hub based in Bristol (UK) making science content aim to the realization of documentaries aired exclusively on the Netflix platform. My work focused on the selection, description, and delivery of footage collected during research cruises organized by the Centre for Deep Sea Research. Part of the video material showing deep sea environment has been selected for the episode that deals with the Arctic Ocean in the new five-part series “Our Oceans”, premiering globally on Netflix in 2024 (UiB and Wild Space Productions with Netflix). Here, a videoclip edited by me with the music composed by Daniel Koestner, including part of the footage selected for the Arctic Ocean episode;

Research Cruises (linked to my photos). Arctic Polar Circle: (1) Mohns Ridge on board the RV G.O. Sars (2022); (2) Molloy Deep (2022) and (3) Knipovich Ridge (2022) on board the icebreaker RV Kronprins Haakon. Assistance in several rock and fluid samples procedures by the Remotely Operated underwater Vehicle (ROV) Ægir 6000; use of the sonar Multibeam Echosounder (MBES) technique for data collection and the mapping of the seabed. Data modelling and visualization with the EIVA NaviSuite software. Norway / Norwegian Sea and Sognefjord: (4) video footage collection on board the RV OceanXplorer (2023).