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Authors: Currenti, G.* 
Del Negro, C.* 
Ganci, G.* 
Title: Modelling of ground deformation and gravity fields using finite element method: an application to Etna volcano
Journal: Geophysical Journal International 
Series/Report no.: 2/169 (2007)
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
Issue Date: 2007
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2007.03380.x
Keywords: Numerical modeling
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.03. Geodesy::04.03.08. Theory and Models 
Abstract: Elastic finite element models are applied to investigate the effects of topography and medium heterogeneities on the surface deformation and the gravity field produced by volcanic pressure sources. Changes in the gravity field cannot be interpreted only in terms of gain of mass disregarding the ground deformation of the rocks surrounding the source. Contributions to gravity changes depend also on surface and subsurface mass redistribution driven by dilation of the volcanic source. Both ground deformation and gravity changes were firstly evaluated by solving a coupled axi-symmetric problem to estimate the effects of topography and medium heterogeneities. Numerical results show significant discrepancies in the ground deformation and gravity field compared to those predicted by analytical solutions, which disregard topography, elastic heterogeneities and density subsurface structures. With this in mind, we reviewed the expected gravity changes accompanying the 1993-1997 inflation phase on Mt Etna by setting up a fully 3D finite element model in which we used the real topography, to include the geometry, and seismic tomography, to infer the crustal heterogeneities. The inflation phase was clearly detected by different geodetic techniques (EDM, GPS, SAR and leveling data) that showed a uniform expansion of the overall volcano edifice. When the gravity data are integrated with ground deformation data and a coupled FEM modeling was solved, a mass intrusion could have occurred at depth to justify both ground deformation and gravity observations.
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