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Authors: Bonaccorso, Alessandro* 
Calvari, Sonia* 
Title: A new approach to investigate an eruptive paroxysmal sequence using camera and strainmeter networks: Lessons from the 3–5 December 2015 activity at Etna volcano
Issue Date: 1-Aug-2017
Series/Report no.: /475 (2017)
DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2017.07.020
Keywords: Etna volcano
paroxysmal explosive activity
lava fountains
eruptive mechanisms
erupted volume
Subject ClassificationEtna explosive activity
04.08. Volcanology 
Abstract: Explosive sequences are quite common at basaltic and andesitic volcanoes worldwide. Studies aimed at short-term forecasting are usually based on seismic and ground deformation measurements, which can be used to constrain the source region and quantify the magma volume involved in the eruptive process. However, during single episodes of explosive sequences, integration of camera remote sensing and geophysical data are scant in literature, and the total volume of pyroclastic products is not determined. In this study, we calculate eruption parameters for four powerful lava fountains occurring at the main and oldest Mt. Etna summit crater, Voragine, between 3 and 5 December 2015. These episodes produced impressive eruptive columns and plume clouds, causing lapilli and ash fallout to more than 100 km away. We analyse these paroxysmal events by integrating the images recorded by a network of monitoring cameras and the signals from three high-precision borehole strainmeters. From the camera images we calculated the total erupted volume of fluids (gas plus pyroclastics), inferring amounts from 1.9×109 m3 (first event) to 0.86 × 109 m3 (third event). Strain changes recorded during the first and most powerful event were used to constrain the depth of the source. The ratios of strain changes recorded at two stations during the four lava fountains were used to constrain the pyroclastic fraction for each eruptive event. The results revealed that the explosive sequence was characterized by a decreasing trend of erupted pyroclastics with time, going from 41% (first event) to 13% (fourth event) of the total erupted pyroclastic volume. Moreover, the volume ratio fluid/pyroclastic decreased markedly in the fourth and last event. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time ever that erupted volumes of both fluid and pyroclastics have been estimated for an explosive sequence from a monitoring system using permanent cameras and high precision strainmeters. During future explosive paroxysmal sequences this new approach might help in monitoring their evolution also to understand when/if they are going to finish. Knowledge of the total gas and pyroclastic fractions erupted during each lava fountain episode would improve our understanding of their processes and eruptive behaviour.
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