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Authors: Andronico, D.* 
Scollo, S.* 
Lo Castro, D.* 
Cristaldi, A.* 
Title: Representivity of incompletely sampled fall deposits in estimating eruption source parameters: a test using the 12–13 January 2011 lava fountain deposit from Mt. Etna volcano
Issue Date: 4-Sep-2014
Series/Report no.: /76 (2014)
DOI: 10.1007/s00445-014-0861-3
Keywords: tephra deposit
Etna eruption
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.06. Volcano monitoring 
Abstract: The Southeast Crater (SEC) of Mt. Etna, Italy, is renowned for its high activity, mainly long-lived eruptions consisting of sequences of individual paroxysmal episodes which have produced more than 150 eruptive events since 1998. Each episode typically forms eruption columns followed by tephra fallout over distances of up to about 100 km from the vent. One of the last sequences consisted of 25 lava fountaining events, which took place between January 2011 and April 2012 from a pit-vent on the eastern flank of the SEC and built a new scoria cone renamed New Southeast Crater. The first episode on 12–13 January 2011 produced tephra fallout which was unusually dispersed toward to the South extending out over the Mediterranean Sea. The southerly deposition of tephra permitted an extensive survey at distances between ~1 and ~100 km, providing an excellent characterization of the tephra deposit. Here, we document the stratigraphy of the 12–13 January fallout deposit, draw its dispersal, and reconstruct its isopleth map. These data are then used to estimate the main eruption source parameters. The total erupted mass (TEM) was calculated by using four different methodologies which give a mean value of 1.5 ± 0.4 × 108 kg. The mass eruption rate (MER) is 2.5 ± 0.7 × 104 kg/s using eruption duration of 100 min. The total grain-size (TGS) distribution, peaked at −3 phi, ranges between −5 and 5 phi and has a median value of −1.4 phi. Further, for the eruption column height, we obtained respective values of 6.8–13.8 km by using the method of Carey and Sparks (1986) and 3.4 ± 0.3 km by using the methods of Wilson and Walker (1987), Mastin et al. (2009), and Pistolesi et al. (2011) and considering the mean value of MER from the deposit. We also evaluated the uncertainty and reliability of TEM and TGS for scenarios where the proximal and distal samples are not obtainable. This is achieved by only using a sector spanning the downwind distances between 6 and 23 km. This scenario is typical for Etna when the tephra plume is dispersed eastward, i.e., in the prevailing wind direction. Our results show that, if the analyzed deposit has poorer sample coverage than presented in this study, the TEM (3.4 × 107 kg) is 22 % than the TEM obtained from the whole deposit. The lack of the proximal (<6 km) deposit may cause more significant differences in the TGS estimations.
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