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Authors: Falsaperla, Susanna* 
Neri, Marco* 
Di Grazia, Giuseppe* 
Langer, Horst* 
Spampinato, Salvatore* 
Title: Radon Tells Unexpected Tales of Mount Etna’s Unrest
Issue Date: 22-Mar-2018
Series/Report no.: /99 (2018)
DOI: 10.1029/2018EO094693
Keywords: Radon
seismic activity
volcanic activity
Subject Classification04.08. Volcanology 
Abstract: Some researchers view radon emissions as a precursor to earthquakes, especially those of high magnitude [e.g., Wang et al., 2014; Lombardi and Voltattorni, 2010], but the debate in the scientific community about the applicability of the gas to surveillance systems remains open. Yet radon “works” at Italy’s Mount Etna, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, although not specifically as a precursor to earthquakes. In a broader sense, this naturally radioactive gas from the decay of uranium in the soil, which has been analyzed at Etna in the past few years, acts as a tracer of eruptive activity and also, in some cases, of seismic–tectonic phenomena. To deepen the understanding of tectonic and eruptive phenomena at Etna, scientists analyzed radon escaping from the ground and compared those data with measurements gathered continuously by instrumental networks on the volcano. Here Etna is a boon to scientists—it’s traced by roads, making it easy to access for scientific observation. Dense monitoring networks, managed by the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Catania–Osservatorio Etneo (INGV-OE), have been continuously observing the volcano for more than 40 years. This continuous dense monitoring made the volcano the perfect open-air laboratory for deciphering how eruptive activity may influence radon emissions.
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