The shallow magma pathway geometry at Mt. Etna volcano

Article English OPEN
Patanè, D. ; Di Grazia, G. ; Cannata, A. ; Montalto, P. ; Boschi, E. (2008)

A fundamental goal of volcano seismology is to understand the dynamics of active magmatic systems in order to assess eruptive behavior and the associated hazard. Imaging of magma conduits, quantification of magma transport and investigation of long-period seismic sources, together with their temporal variations, are crucial for the comprehension of eruption-triggering mechanisms. At Mt. Etna volcano, several intense episodes of tremor activity were recorded during 2007, in association with strombolian activity and/or intense fire fountaining episodes occurring from the South East Crater (SEC). The locations of the tremor sources and of the long-period seismic events are used here to constrain both the area and the depth range of magma degassing, highlighting the geometry of the shallow conduits feeding SEC. The imaged conduits consist of two connected resonating dike-like bodies, NNW-SSE and NW-SE oriented, extending from sea level to the surface. In addition, we show how tremor, long-period (LP) and very-long-period (VLP) event locations and signatures reflect pressure fluctuations in the plumbing system associated with the ascent/discharge of gas-rich magma linked to the lava fountains. The evidence here reported, also corroborated by ground deformation variations, can help develop a better prediction and early-warning system for those eruptions (effusive or explosive) that apparently manifest no clear precursors.
Share - Bookmark