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Authors: Favalli, M.* 
Mazzarini, F.* 
Pareschi, M. T.* 
Boschi, E.* 
Title: Topographic control on lava flow paths at Mount Etna, Italy: Implications for hazard assessment
Issue Date: 24-Feb-2009
Series/Report no.: /114(2009)
DOI: 10.1029/2007JF000918
Keywords: volcanic hazard
lava flow
Mount Etna
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.06. Volcano monitoring 
04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.07. Instruments and techniques 
04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.08. Volcanic risk 
Abstract: Assessment of the hazard from lava flow inundation at the active volcano of Mount Etna, Italy, was performed by calculating the probability of lava flow inundation at each position on the volcano. A probability distribution for the formation of new vents was calculated using geological and volcanological data from past eruptions. The simulated lava flows from these vents were emplaced using a maximum expected flow length derived from geological data on previous lava flows. Simulations were run using DOWNFLOW, a digital-elevation-model-based model designed to predict lava flow paths. Different eruptive scenarios were simulated by varying the elevation and probability distribution of eruptive points. Inundation maps show that the city of Catania and the coastal zone may only be impacted by flows erupted from low-altitude vents (<1500 m elevation) and that flank eruptions at elevations >2000 m preferentially inundate the northeast and southern sectors of the volcano as well as the Valle del Bove. Eruptions occurring in the summit area (>3000 m elevation) pose no threat to the local population. Discrepancies between the results of simple, hydrological models and those of the DOWNFLOW model show that hydrological approaches are inappropriate when dealing with Etnean lava flows. Because hydrological approaches are not designed to reproduce the full complexity of lava flow spreading, they underestimate the catchment basins when the fluid has a complex rheology.
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