Geology of Elba

The origins of Elba Island and of the other Islands of the Archipelago are to be found within geology, a branch of science studying the origins and the transformational process over centuries occurring on the Earth. Meanwhile we like to recall the legend telling that the islands of the Archipelago were born from the seven pearls of the Goddess Aphrodite's necklace. After she had lost them in the sea, the pearls came back on surface in the waters nearby Corsica and Tuscany thus bringing to life the Tuscan Archipelago, of which Elba is the greatest pearl.

Geology tells us other fascinating theories in regards to the origins of Elba and of the islands of the Tuscan Archipelago according to which, Pangaea began to move opening new oceans and closing off others in the Continental Drift Era.
During the collision and movement between the the Proto African and the Proto European plates, which lasted more than 100 million years, the waters took the place of enormous areas of the earth's crust which then sank. The perpetual movement of these two plates (which lasted more than 100 million years) caused the collapse of entire crustal blocks in the sea, and the simultaneous thinning of the Earth's surface.
This process favored the advancement of magma, which turned into granite rock once cooled ,beginning to apply strong pressure on the surface.

Slipping away the sedimentary rocks of the newborn pluton of Mount Capanne, progenitor of all the Tuscan Archipelago, give birth to the plains of central Elba and prevent with their pressure the emergence of a second pluton.
The disposition of the second pluton, which is smaller than the western one, appears with magmatic strands which, coming in contact with hydrothermal fluids and already existing sedimentary and limestone rocks, give rise to the great mineralogical heritage of Elba.

For researchers and for passionate mineral collectors, Elba is like a big open air Mineralogic Museum, so as defined by geologist Bernardino Lotti at the end of the nineteenth century. He was the first to draw an accurate geological map of the island which is on sale.
In Elba Island there are many minerals, both in terms of absolute quantity and variety of species. Books and specialized articles claim that there are hundreds mineralogical species. Nevertheless not all of them may catch the interest of hobbyists, maybe this is because there are small evidences or maybe because they are not so beautiful nor so precious.

The minerals of Elba

The minerals of Elba

Over one hundred fifty minerals found in Elba and even though mining activities have ended in 1981, Elba remains one of the most important and famous mineralogical locations in the world.


Granite and Quarries

Granite and Quarries

The granite of Elba was processed and exported since Roman times and we can find it in important historical masterpieces such as the Pantheon and the Colosseum in Rome.

The Mines of Elba

The Mines of Elba

On the eastern side of Elba there are the mines of Rio (Valle Giove, Miniere di Vigneria) and the mines of Capoliveri (Vallone and Ginevro), that can be visited thanks the opening to the public with guided tours.

Fast inquiry

Elbaworld suggests

da visitare
What to visit

Discover places and attractions nearby.

Recommended excursions

Discover incredibly beautiful excursions on Elba Island.