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Authors: Calvari, S.* 
Spampinato, L.* 
Lodato, L.* 
Title: The 5 April 2003 vulcanian paroxysmal explosion at Stromboli volcano (Italy) from field observations and thermal data
Issue Date: 2006
Series/Report no.: 2/149 (2006)
DOI: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2005.06.006
Keywords: vulcanian explosion
magma–water interaction
thermal image analysis
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.06. Volcano monitoring 
Abstract: The 5 April 2003 paroxysmal explosion at Stromboli volcano was one of the strongest explosive events of the last century. It occurred while the effusive eruption, begun on 28 December 2002 and finished on 22 July 2003, was still on going and the summit craters of the volcano were obstructed. In this paper, we present a reconstruction of the sequence of events based on thermal and visual images collected from helicopter before, during and immediately after the paroxysm. One month before the blast, ash emission and temperature increase at the bottom of the summit craters were observed. An increasing amount of juvenile components in the emitted ash during March suggested that the magma level within the crater was rising accordingly. Hot degassing vents at the bottom of the summit craters were not persistent, and the craters remained almost entirely obstructed by talus accumulation until the paroxysm occurred. Three minutes before the explosion, we recorded a significant increase in temperature inside Crater 1, accompanied by a thicker gas plume. Thirty-two seconds before the blast, reddish ash was emitted from Crater 1. The paroxysm produced a vulcanian explosion that opened the feeder conduit, obstructed for over three months. The blast was accompanied by a shock wave recorded by the INGV seismic network at 07:13:37 GMT. Explosions with hot material started from Crater 1, and after 15 s propagated to Crater 3, about 100 m away. The velocity of ejecta was ~80 m s 1, and increased when the eruptive plumes from both craters merged together during the vulcanian phase. An eruptive column rose 1 km above the top of the volcano, and explosions continued mainly at Crater 3. The paroxysm lasted about 9 min, with bombs up to 4 m wide falling on the village of Ginostra, on the west flank of the island, and destroying two houses. This event signalled the start of the declining phase of the effusive eruption, suggesting that the feeder conduit was returning to its former steady conditions, with open vents and continuous, mild strombolian activity.
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