Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2122/11389
Authors: Pompilio, Massimo* 
Bertagnini, Antonella* 
Del Carlo, Paola* 
Di Roberto, Alessio* 
Title: Magma dynamics within a basaltic conduit revealed by textural and compositional features of erupted ash: the December 2015 Mt. Etna paroxysms.
Issue Date: 6-Jul-2017
Series/Report no.: /7 (2017)
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-05065-x
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2122/11389
Keywords: Etna
explosive eruption
volcanic ash
tephra fallout
textural features
Subject Classification04.08. Volcanology 
Abstract: In December 2015, four violent explosive episodes from Mt. Etna’s oldest summit crater, the Voragine, produced eruptive columns extending up to 15 km a.s.l. and significant fallout of tephra up to a hundred km from the vent. A combined textural and compositional study was carried out on pyroclasts from three of the four tephra deposits sampled on the volcano at 6 to 14 km from the crater. Ash fractions (Φ = 1–2) were investigated because these grain sizes preserve the magma properties unmodified by post- emplacement processes. Results were used to identify processes occurring in the conduit during each single paroxysm and to understand how they evolve throughout the eruptive period. Results indicate that the magmatic column is strongly heterogeneous, mainly with respect to microlite, vescicle content and melt composition. During each episode, the heterogeneities can develop at time scales as short as a few tens of hours, and differences between distinct episodes indicate that the time scale for completely refilling the system and renewing magma is in the same order of magnitude. Our data also confirm that the number and shape of microlites, together with melt composition, have a strong control on rheological properties and fragmentation style.
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