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Authors: Spilliaert, N.* 
Allard, P.* 
Metrich, N.* 
Sobolev, V.* 
Title: Melt inclusion record of the conditions of ascent, degassing, and extrusion of volatile-rich alkali basalt during the powerful 2002 flank eruption of Mount Etna (Italy)
Issue Date: 2006
Series/Report no.: /111 (2006)
DOI: 10.1029/2005JB003934
Keywords: NONE
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.03. Magmas 
Abstract: Two unusual, highly explosive flank eruptions succeeded on Mount Etna in July August 2001 and in October 2002 to January 2003, raising the possibility of changing magmatic conditions. Here we decipher the origin and mechanisms of the second eruption from the composition and volatile (H2O, CO2, S, Cl) content of olivine-hosted melt inclusions in explosive products from its south flank vents. Our results demonstrate that powerful lava fountains and ash columns at the eruption onset were sustained by closed system ascent of a batch of primitive, volatile-rich ( 4 wt %) basaltic magma that rose from 10 km depth below sea level (bsl) and suddenly extruded through 2001 fractures maintained opened by eastward flank spreading. This magma, the most primitive for 240 years, probably represents the alkali-rich parental end-member responsible for Etna lavas’ evolution since the early 1970s. Few of it was directly extruded at the eruption onset, but its input likely pressurized the shallow plumbing system several weeks before the eruption. This latter was subsequently fed by the extrusion and degassing of larger amounts of the same, but slightly more evolved, magma that were ponding at 6–4 km bsl, in agreement with seismic data and with the lack of preeruptive SO2 accumulation above the initial depth of sulphur exsolution ( 3 km bsl). We find that while ponding, this magma was flushed and dehydrated by a CO2-rich gas phase of deeper derivation, a process that may commonly affect the plumbing system of Etna and other alkali basaltic volcanoes.
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