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Authors: Carbone, D.* 
Budetta, G.* 
Greco, F.* 
Zuccarello, L.* 
Title: A data sequence acquired at Mt. Etna during the 2002–2003 eruption highlights the potential of continuous gravity observations as a tool to monitor and study active volcanoes
Issue Date: 2007
Series/Report no.: /43 (2007)
DOI: 10.1016/j.jog.2006.09.012
Keywords: Gravity anomalies
Magma intrusion
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.03. Geodesy::04.03.05. Gravity variations 
Abstract: A 2.5-month long gravity sequence, encompassing the starting period of the 2002–2003 Etna eruption and coming from a summit station only 1 km away from the new fractures, is presented and discussed. The sequence comprises four hours-long anomalies that have a great chance to reflect mass redistributions linked to the ensuing activity. In particular, the start of the eruptive activity on the northeastern flank was marked by a gravity decrease as strong as about 400 microGal, which reverted soon afterwards. This strong decrease/increase anomaly is interpreted as the opening, by tectonic forces, of a fracture system along the Northeastern Rift of Mt. Etna, followed by an intrusion of magma from the central conduit to the new fractures. They were used by the intruding magma as a path to the eruptive vents at lower elevations. Afterwards, on three occasions, in November and December 2002, 6–12 h-lasting gravity decreases, with amplitude ranging between 10 and 30 microGal, were observed simultaneously with increases in the amplitude of the volcanic tremor from four seismic stations. A correlation analysis, between the gravity signal and the overall spectral amplitude of each tremor sequence is performed over the 7 November–9 December period. A marked anti-correlation is found over each contemporaneous gravity decrease/tremor increase, while, over the rest of the investigated period, the correlation is negligible. Accordingly, a joint source is inferred to have acted during the occurrence of the three common anomalies. On the grounds of some volcanological observations spanning the period covered by our analysis, we propose the temporary accumulation of a gas cloud at some level within the plumbing system of the volcano to have acted as a joint source. The present work is a further evidence of the potential of continuous gravity observations as a tool to monitor and study active volcanoes and encourages their employment in spite of the difficulty of running spring gravimeters in a continuous fashion under the adverse conditions normally encountered on the summit zone of an active volcano.
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