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Authors: Madonia, P.* 
Rizzo, A. L.* 
Diliberto, I. S.* 
Favara, R.* 
Title: Continuous monitoring of fumarole temperatures at Mount Etna (Italy)
Issue Date: Mar-2013
Series/Report no.: /257 (2013)
DOI: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2013.03.001
Keywords: Continuous monitoring
Mount Etna
Fumarole temperature
Meteorological parameters
Volcanic Degassing
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.06. Volcano monitoring 
Abstract: In this paper we present the first data of temperature continuously recorded in two fumarole fields (designated VOR and HOR) located in the summit area of Mount Etna volcano (Italy). The time series embraces two distinct periods: (1) October 2007 to November 2009, during which an effusive eruption occurred from May 2008 to July 2009, and (2) November 2011 to June 2012, characterized by the occurrence of strong paroxysms (fire fountains and lava flow). The analysis of the temperature signal in both the time and frequency domains, and its comparison with meteorological observations allowed us to separate the exogenous influences from the effects of variations in the activity state of the volcano. The acquired data were weakly affected by seasonal cycles of the air temperature and strongly affected by the rainfall. Optimization of site conditions (i.e., sensor depth and soil permeability) markedly reduced meteorological disturbances. The distance from the main degassing and/or eruptive fractures was crucial to maximizing the probability of the technical survival of the monitoring apparatus, which was seriously affected by the emission of acidic gases, tephra fallout, and lava flows. Apart from the exogenous influences, the most appreciable variation was observed at VOR, where a huge increase in fumarole temperature was detected immediately after the onset of the 2008–2009 eruption. Such an anomalous increase was attributed to the rapid ascent of magma feeding the eruptive fracture. Another abrupt increase in temperature was recorded at HOR in March and April 2012. During this period the frequency of paroxysm occurrence increased markedly, and this led us to hypothesize that the thermal anomaly was due to the intrusion of a new batch of magma in the conduits of the southeast crater. Medium- to long-term monitoring (weeks to months) of fumarole temperatures revealed variations that were attributed to pressurization/depressurization phases of the shallow volcanic system, which varied between the various monitored sectors of the volcano. Our observations suggest that continuous monitoring of fumarole temperature can give useful information about the activity of Mount Etna. Moreover, due to the complexity of its shallow plumbing system, we conclude that the monitoring systems should be extended to cover the entire fumarole network of the summit area.
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