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Authors: Acocella, V.* 
Neri, M.* 
Title: What makes flank eruptions? The 2001 Etna eruption and its possible triggering mechanisms
Issue Date: 6-Mar-2003
Series/Report no.: /65 (2003)
DOI: 10.1007/s00445-003-0280-3
Keywords: Central volcanoes
Summit and flank eruptions
Volcano load
Mount Etna
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.04. Geology::04.04.99. General or miscellaneous 
04. Solid Earth::04.04. Geology::04.04.09. Structural geology 
04. Solid Earth::04.07. Tectonophysics::04.07.05. Stress 
04. Solid Earth::04.07. Tectonophysics::04.07.07. Tectonics 
04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.99. General or miscellaneous 
04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.03. Magmas 
04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.05. Volcanic rocks 
04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.06. Volcano monitoring 
04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.08. Volcanic risk 
05. General::05.02. Data dissemination::05.02.03. Volcanic eruptions 
Abstract: Most flank eruptions within a central stratovolcano are triggered by lateral draining of magma from its central conduit, and only few eruptions appear to be independent of the central conduit. In order to better highlight the dynamics of flank eruptions in a central stratovolcano, we review the eruptive history of Etna over the last 100 years. In particular, we take into consideration the Mount Etna eruption in 2001, which showed both summit activity and a flank eruption interpreted to be independent from the summit system. The eruption started with the emplacement of a ~N-S trending peripheral dike, responsible for the extrusion of 75% of the total volume of the erupted products. The rest of the magma was extruded through the summit conduit system (SE crater), feeding two radial dikes. The distribution of the seismicity and structures related to the propagation of the peripheral dike and volumetric considerations on the erupted magmas exclude a shallow connection between the summit and the peripheral magmatic systems during the eruption. Even though the summit and the peripheral magmatic systems were independent at shallow depths (<3 km b.s.l.), petro-chemical data suggest that a common magma rising from depth fed the two systems. This deep connection resulted in the extrusion of residual magma from the summit system and of new magma from the peripheral system. Gravitational stresses predominate at the surface, controlling the emplacement of the dikes radiating from the summit; conversely, regional tectonics, possibly related to N-S trending structures, remains the most likely factor to have controlled at depth the rise of magma feeding the peripheral eruption.
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