Time-Resolved Seismic Tomography Detects Magma Intrusions at Mount Etna

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Abstract

The continuous volcanic and seismic activity at Mount Etna makes this volcano an important laboratory for seismological and geophysical studies. We used repeated three-dimensional tomography to detect variations in elastic parameters during different volcanic cycles, before and during the October 2002-January 2003 flank eruption. Well-defined anomalous low P- to S-wave velocity ratio volumes were revealed. Absent during the pre-eruptive period, the anomalies trace the intrusion of volatile-rich (≥4 weight percent) basaltic magma, most of which rose up only a few months before the onset of eruption. The observed time changes of velocity anomalies suggest that four-dimensional tomography provides a basis for more efficient volcano monitoring and short- and midterm eruption forecasting of explosive activity.

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