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Authors: Scollo, S.*
Del Carlo, P.*
Coltelli, M.*
Title: Tephra fallout of 2001 Etna flank eruption: Analysis of the deposit and plume dispersion
Title of journal: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Series/Report no.: /160 (2007)
Publisher: Elsevier
Issue Date: 2007
DOI: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2006.09.007
Keywords: Mt. Etna
basaltic explosive activity
violent strombolian eruption
tephra deposit
dispersal modelling
Abstract: Tephra fallout represented a major source of hazard for eastern Sicily during the 2001 eruption of Mt. Etna (Italy) between 19 July and 6 August. Long-lasting explosive activity was generated from the 2570 m vent, producing a volcanic plume up to 5 km high above sea level. The eruption caused copious lapilli and ash fallout over the volcano flanks for several days. Flight operations were cancelled at the Catania and Reggio Calabria airports; health risk and economic damage put communities living close to this active volcano on the alert. The explosive activity at the 2570 m vent had three main phases characterized by phreatomagmatic, magmatic and vulcanian explosions. In this paper, we analyze the first explosive phase between 19 and 24 July that formed a tephra deposit on the volcano's south-east flanks. Immediately after the first phase of the eruption, numerous tephra samples were collected in order to draw an isomass map, calculate physical parameters for the eruption and analyze the plume dispersion on the basis of deposit geometry. The tephra deposit shows a bilobate shape due to the change with time of both the vigour of the eruption and the wind direction and velocity that caused a higher rate of particle accumulation along two dispersal axes (SE and SSE). The total mass of tephra erupted was calculated with two different fitting methods: exponential line segments and a power law fit on the semi-logarithmic plot of mass per unit area versus , resulting in values of 1.02 109 kg and 2.31 109 kg, respectively. The whole deposit grain-size was calculated applying the Voronoi tessellation method, it shows a mode of 2 and thus indicates a high degree of magma fragmentation during the first phase of the eruption. Plume dispersal was investigated by an advection–diffusion model to reconstruct the tephra deposit. In the modelling, we took into account the variations of wind direction and velocity, and eruption intensity by dividing the explosive phase into sixteen sub-eruptions and considering the final deposit as the sum of the mass computed for each sub-eruption. Using best fit procedures, we find that the optimal agreement between computed values and field data is obtained by using the total mass calculated with the power law fit and a terminal settling velocity distribution with a particle aggregation model. The computed tephra dispersal was able to reproduce the bilobate shape of the real deposit. This work proves that advection–diffusion models can describe sedimentation processes of weak, i.e., bent-over, long-lasting plumes if the variations of wind direction and velocity, and eruptive intensity are included.
Appears in Collections:05.02.03. Volcanic eruptions
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