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Authors: Giammanco, S.* 
Bonfanti, P.* 
Title: Cluster analysis of soil CO2 data from Mt. Etna (Italy) reveals volcanic influences on temporal and spatial patterns of degassing
Issue Date: 2009
Series/Report no.: /71(2009)
DOI: 10.1007/s00445-008-0218-x
Keywords: Mt. Etna
Soil CO2
Diffuse degassing
Cluster analysis
Time series analysis
Degassing model
Volcanic activity
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.01. Gases 
Abstract: Soil CO2 concentration data were collected periodically from July 2001 to June 2005 from sampling site grids in two areas located on the lower flanks of Mt. Etna volcano (Paternò and Zafferana Etnea–Santa Venerina). Cluster analysis was performed on the acquired data in order to identify possible groups of sites where soil degassing could be fed by different sources. In both areas three clusters were recognised, whose average CO2 concentration values throughout the whole study period remained significantly different from one another. The clusters with the lowest CO2 concentrations showed timeaveraged values ranging from 980 to 1,170 ppm vol, whereas those with intermediate CO2 concentrations showed time-averaged values ranging from 1,400 to 2,320 ppm vol, and those with the highest concentrations showed time-averaged values between 1,960 and 55,430 ppm vol. We attribute the lowest CO2 concentrations largely to a biogenic source of CO2. Conversely, the highest CO2 concentrations are attributed to a magmatic source, whereas the intermediate values are due to a variable mixing of the two sources described above. The spatial distribution of the CO2 values related to the magmatic source define a clear direction of anomalous degassing in the Zafferana Etnea–Santa Venerina area, which we attribute to the presence of a hidden fault, whereas in the Paternò area no such oriented anomalies were observed, probably because of the lower permeability of local soil. Time-series analysis shows that most of the variations observed in the soil CO2 data from both areas were related to changes in the volcanic activity of Mt. Etna. Seasonal influences were only observed in the time patterns of the clusters characterised by low CO2 concentrations, and no significant interdependence was found between soil CO2 concentrations and meteorological parameters. The largest observed temporal anomalies are interpreted as release of CO2 from magma batches that migrated from deeper to shallower portions of Etna’s feeder system. The pattern of occurrence of such episodes of anomalous gas release during the observation period was quite different between the two studied areas. This pattern highlighted an evident change in the mechanism of magma transport and storage within the volcano’s feeder system after June 2003, interpreted as magma accumulation into a shallow (<8 km depth) reservoir.
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