2013 Mt. Etna Pyroclastic Activity through the ADCP Recordings of NEMO-SN1 Multidisciplinary Seafloor Observatory

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Nadia Lo Bue, Tiziana Sgroi, Gabriele Giovinetti, Giuditta Marinaro and Paolo Favali, National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, Rome, Italy
The Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) is one of the most useful sensor used to measure speed and direction of sea currents in the water column. More often ADCPs are being also used to monitor concentration of suspended matter in rivers or in marine environments by the analysis of the acoustic backscatter intensity.

In the framework of the European Research Infrastructure EMSO (European Multidisciplinary Seafloor and water-column Observatory, www.emso-eu.org), its cabled node, the NEMO–SN1 multidisciplinary seafloor observatory, was deployed in the Western Ionian Sea (Southern Italy) at a depth of 2100 m, about 25 km off-shore Eastern Sicily close to the submarine slope of the Mt. Etna volcano. Starting from February 2013, the Mt. Etna was interested by thirteen different parossistic events producing intense eruption followed by pyroclastic fallout that reached distances of tens kilometres from the eruptive centre. Four of these events affected the ESE sector with a consequent fallout in the Western Ionian Sea and they were detected by NEMO-SN1. In fact, its scientific payload also included an ADCP (RDI WorkHorse 600 kHz) with the main aim to monitor the hydrodynamic conditions of about 30 metres of the water column above the station. Surprisingly, this sensor offered spectacular recordings of the Mt. Etna pyroclastic activity occurred on 2013 wich affected the ESE sector.

This work aims to present new records of pyroclastic fallout associated to explosive events observed at sea bottom by the analysis of backscatter signal of the ADCP. A multidisciplinary approach taking into account the Mt. Etna eruptive activity as well as the local oceanographic dynamic is necessary to describe marine processes involved in volcanic ash sedimentation.