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Authors: Alparone, S.*
Andronico, D.*
Giammanco, S.*
Lodato, L.*
Title: A multidisciplinary approach to detect active pathways for magma migration and eruption at Mt. Etna (Sicily, Italy) before the 2001 and 2002-03 eruptions
Title of journal: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Series/Report no.: 1-2/136(2004)
Publisher: Elsevier
Issue Date: 30-Aug-2004
DOI: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2004.05.014
Keywords: Mt. Etna
fault detection
soil gas
historical eruptive fissures
eruptive activity
local seismicity
Abstract: Two strong flank eruptions occurred in July–August 2001 and from late October 2002 to late January 2003 at Mt. Etna volcano. The two eruptions mainly involved the upper southern flank of the volcano, a particularly active area during the last 30 years, damaging several tourist facilities and threatening some villages. The composite eruptive activity on the upper southern flank of Mt. Etna during 2001–2003 has confirmed “a posteriori” the results of a multidisciplinary study, started well before its occurrence by combining geological, seismic and geochemical data gathered in this part of the volcano. We were able, in fact, to highlight fractured zones likely to be re-activated in the near future in this area, where the largest majority of eruptive fissures in the recent past opened along N120° to N180° ranging directions. The spatial distribution of earthquake epicentres during the period June 30th 2000–June 30th 2001 showed the greatest frequency in a sector compatible with both the direction of the main fissures of the pre-2001 period and that of the 2001 and 2002 lateral eruptions. Soil CO2 and soil temperature surveys carried out in the studied area during the last 3 years have revealed anomalous release of magmatic fluids (mainly CO2 and water vapour) along some NNW–SSE-trending volcano-tectonic structures of the area even during inter-eruptive periods, indicating persistent convective hydrothermal systems at shallow depth connected with the main feeder conduits of Etna. The temporal changes in both seismic and geochemical data from June 30th, 2000 to June 30th, 2001 were compared with the evolution of volcanic activity. The comparison allowed to recognize at least two sequences of anomalous signals (August to December 2000 and April to June 2001), likely related to episodes of step-like magma ascent towards the surface, as indicated by the following eruptive episodes. The N120° to N180° structural directions are in accord with one of the main structural lines affecting eastern Sicily; they would be important pathways for magma uprise to the surface that will keep on feeding the eruptive activity of Etna in the near future. This study also pointed out the high instability of the southern slope of Etna, a sector where the potential hazard by lava flow invasion will remain high also in the near future.
Appears in Collections:04.08.03. Magmas
Papers Published / Papers in press

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