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Authors: Capasso, G.* 
Federico, C.* 
Madonia, P.* 
Paonita, A.* 
Title: Response of the shallow aquifer of the volcano-hydrothermal system during the recent crises at Vulcano Island (Aeolian Archipelago, Italy)
Issue Date: 2014
Series/Report no.: /273(2014)
DOI: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2014.01.005
Keywords: Hydrothermal system
Vulcano Island
Fluid pressure
Thermal wells
Subject Classification03. Hydrosphere::03.02. Hydrology::03.02.03. Groundwater processes 
03. Hydrosphere::03.04. Chemical and biological::03.04.06. Hydrothermal systems 
04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.06. Volcano monitoring 
Abstract: The shallow thermal aquifer at Vulcano Island is strongly affected by deep volcanic fluids. The most significant variations were observed during the 1989–1996 crisis due to a large input of steam and acidic gases from depth. Besides chemical variations related to the input of deep fluids, the record of the water-table elevation at monitored wells has provided remarkable insights into the pressure conditions of the volcano-hydrothermal system. After the pressure drop due to the extensive vaporization of the hydrothermal aquifer, occurred after 1993, the volcano-hydrothermal system has been re-pressurized since 2001, probably because of the contribution of volatiles from the hydrothermal-magmatic source. The increase in fluid pressure may have caused reopening of fractures (which had self-seated during the previous period of cooling) and the onset of a phase of higher vapor output in the fumarole field later in 2004. The fracture opening would have promoted further vapor separation from the deep fluid reservoir (hypothesized at 0.5–1.5 km depth) and finally the drainage of S-rich fluids into the shallow thermal aquifer (found out at few tens of meters of depth). The monitoring of both the water chemistry and the water-table elevation provides insights into the eventual pressurization of the volcano-hydrothermal system that precedes the fracture opening and the extensive drainage of deep fluids. The findings of this study could represent crucial information about the stability of the volcano edifice, and lead to reliable techniques for determining the risk of or even predicting phreatic explosions.
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