Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2122/10037
AuthorsThe research staff of the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, . 
TitleMultidisciplinary Approach Yields Insight into Mt. Etna Eruption
Issue Date25-Dec-2001
Series/Report no.Volume 82, Number 52, Year 2001
DOI10.1029/01EO00376
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/2122/10037
KeywordsMultidisciplinary, Etna, Eruption
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.06. Volcano monitoring 
AbstractOn July 17,2001, lava began pouring down the slopes of Mt. Etna in Sicily signaling the start of the volcano's first flank eruption in nearly 10 years. Etna typically experiences long periods of explosive and effusive activity at the summit, which lies 3350 m a.s.l., interspersed with shorter flank eruptions. During the latter, large volumes of lava can threaten local populations. The Catania Section of the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV) routinely monitors the volcano with an array of integrated multidisciplinary techniques. During the 2001 flank eruption, researchers obtained the deepest insight yet into the mechanisms that control this fascinating volcano. In particular, by studying ground deformation, seismicity, gravity changes, and geomagnetism, researchers were able to forecast 3 to 4 days in advance the intrusion of a new feeder dike in the upper part of the volcano and follow the propagation of dike emplacement and fissure opening, as well as estimate the volume of the intrusion. During the eruption, volcanology gas geochemistry and petrology were used to distinguish two different magmas erupting at the same time from both this new feeder dike and the summit feeding system, which has been active since January 2001. Effusion rate measurements and thermal mapping of the flow field provided insight into the maximum length the lava flow could reach from the lower vent, and researchers were able to follow the process of tube formation along this flow. The previous flank eruption on Etna occurred between 1991 and 1993, when 235 million of lava poured from within the Valle del Bove (VDB) and formed a lava flow field over 8.5 km long that threatened the town of Zafferana. Since then, eruptive activity at Etna has been restricted to the summit area. A progressive increase in the activity occurred between June 1998 and February 1999, with a succession of 21 paroxysmal episodes from the Southeast Cone (SEC). Then, on February 1999, a fire fountain episode from the SEC indicated the start of the 1999 summit eruption, which produced two lava flow fields. During 2000, there were 66 fire fountain events from the SEC accompanied by small lava flows. Lava flow emission started again from the north base of the SEC in January 2001, and on May 9,2001, small fire fountaining episodes were observed on the summit and northern flank of the SEC.This activity gradually increased in frequency and intensity before the 2001 flank eruption.
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