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Authors: Polacci, M.* 
Burton, M. R.* 
La Spina, A.* 
Murè, F.* 
Favretto, S.* 
Zanini, F.* 
Title: The role of syn-eruptive vesiculation on explosive basaltic activity at Mt. Etna, Italy
Journal: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 
Series/Report no.: 3-4/179(2009)
Publisher: Elsevier
Issue Date: 20-Jan-2009
DOI: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2008.11.026
Keywords: Etna
vesicle textures
volcanic degassing
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.01. Gases 
04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.05. Volcanic rocks 
Abstract: We investigated the dynamics of explosive activity at Mt. Etna between 31 August and 15 December 2006 by combining vesicle studies in the erupted products with measurements of the gas composition at the active, summit crater. The analysed scoria clasts present large, connected vesicles with complex shapes and smaller, isolated, spherical vesicles, the content of which increases in scoriae from the most explosive events. Gas geochemistry reports CO2/SO2 and SO2/HCl ratios supporting a deep-derived gas phase for fire-fountain activity. By integrating results from scoria vesiculation and gas analysis we find that the highest energy episodes of Mt. Etna activity in 2006 were driven by a previously accumulated CO2-rich gas phase but we highlight the lesser role of syn-eruptive vesicle nucleation driven by water exsolution during ascent. We conclude that syn-eruptive vesiculation is a common process in Etnean magmas that may promote a deeper conduit magma fragmentation and increase ash formation.
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