Multiparametric Experiment at Mt. Etna: Investigation on Both Degassing and Eruptive Dynamics

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Andrea Cannata and Eugenio Privitera, Ist Naz Geofisica Vulcanologia, Catania, Italy
In the framework of the MED-SUV project, a multi-parametric experiment to investigate degassing, explosive and effusive dynamics was performed at Mt. Etna volcano in July 2014. The experiment has involved the so-called “Scientific Team of NEC multi-parametric experiment” composed of researchers/technicians from different institutions in Italy, Germany and France: D. Andronico, T. Barnie, A. Boselli, M. Burton, T. Caltabiano, A. Cannata, D. Carbone, A. Chiarugi, F. Ciancitto, D. Contrafatto, S. Corradini, F. D’Amato, E. Del Bello, F. Donnadieu, F. Ferrari, A. Ferro, S. Gambino, F. Greco, A. Harris, U. Kueppers, A. La Spina, P. Labazuy, G. Leto, L. Lodato, R. Maugeri, L. Merucci, S. Moune, R. Paris, J.J. Pena Fernandez, E. Privitera, M. Queisser, T. Ricci, G. Salerno, R. Z. Sanchez, P. Scarlato, M. Sciotto, S. Scollo, L. Scuderi, J. Sesterhenn, L. Spampinato, L. Spina, J. Taddeucci, X. Wang, L. Zuccarello.

The aim was two-fold: first, to study degassing processes at Etna’s NE Crater (NEC); second, to investigate the activity at the eruptive fissure (EF) that opened at the base of the NEC in early-July 2014. Indeed, NEC is the main contributor to Etna’s gas release, and continuously generates infrasonic events: a result of its impulsive degassing regime. Moreover, the opening of the EF offered a unique opportunity to investigate the partitioning of energy and geophysical signals between degassing, explosive and effusive sources.

The field campaign involved coupled deployment of seismometers, microphones, thermopiles, a mini-UV scanner, FTIR spectrometer, SO2 camera systems, high-speed video cameras, thermal and visible cameras, gravimeters, tiltmeters, drones, laser HCl sensor, Lidar and satellite data. Moreover, this experiment gave the opportunity to test the prototype of a DIAL for volcanic COsensing the first time in a volcanic environment. Gathered information were integrated with data simultaneously recorded by the permanent networks run by Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia.

Preliminary analyses show a promising return, which we hope will shed new light on the complex interplay between degassing and eruptive dynamics. Our objective is to contribute to a better understanding of the eruptive and degassing mechanisms, as well as the structure of Etna’s upper plumbing system.