Bulletin of Volcanology

, Volume 66, Issue 1, pp 80–89 | Cite as

Continuous soil CO2 and discrete plume SO2 measurements at Mt. Etna (Italy) during 1997–2000: a contribution to volcano monitoring

  • Benedetto Badalamenti
  • Nicola Bruno
  • Tommaso Caltabiano
  • Fabio Di Gangi
  • Salvatore Giammanco
  • Giuseppe Salerno
Research Article


Continuous monitoring of soil CO2 dynamic concentration (which is proportional to the CO2 flux through the soil) was carried out at a peripheral site of Mt. Etna during the period November 1997–September 2000 using an automated station. The acquired data were compared with SO2 flux from the summit craters measured two to three times a week during the same period. The high frequency of data acquisition with both methods allowed us to analyze in detail the time variations of both parameters. Anomalous high values of soil CO2 dynamic concentration always preceded periods of increased flux of plume SO2, and these in turn were followed by periods of summit eruptions. The variations were modeled in terms of gas efflux increase due to magma ascent to shallow depth and its consequent depressurization and degassing. This model is supported by data from other geophysical and volcanological parameters. The rates of increase both of soil CO2 dynamic concentration and of plume SO2 flux are interpreted to be positively correlated both to the velocity of magma ascent within the volcano and to lava effusion rate once magma is erupted at the surface. Low rates of the increase were recorded before the nine-month-long 1999 subterminal eruption. Higher rates of increase were observed before the violent summit eruption of September-November 1999, and the highest rates were observed during shorter and very frequent spike-like anomalies that preceded the sequence of short-lived but very violent summit eruptions that started in late January 2000 and continued until late June of the same year. Furthermore, the time interval between the peaks of CO2 and SO2 in a single sequence of gas anomalies is likely to be controlled by magma ascent velocity.


Mt. Etna Soil CO2 emissions Plume SO2 flux COSPEC Continuous geochemical monitoring Eruptive activity Degassing model 



We thank the owners of the land where our monitoring station was installed for having authorized us to work on their private property. We also thank L. Calderone for his technical help; M. Coltelli, M. Neri, L. Lodato and D. Andronico for providing information on the eruptive activity during the period under study; S. Gambino for providing tilt data; S. Alparone for providing seismic data; J.D. Rogie for enlightening comments and suggestions; and D.M. Thomas, W.C. Evans, and H. Shinohara for insightful reviews. This work was financially supported by the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche of Italy (C.N.R.)—Gruppo Nazionale per la Vulcanologia.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benedetto Badalamenti
    • 1
  • Nicola Bruno
    • 2
  • Tommaso Caltabiano
    • 2
  • Fabio Di Gangi
    • 1
  • Salvatore Giammanco
    • 1
  • Giuseppe Salerno
    • 2
  1. 1.Sezione di PalermoIstituto Nazionale di Geofisica e VulcanologiaPalermoItaly
  2. 2.Sezione di CataniaIstituto Nazionale di Geofisica e VulcanologiaCataniaItaly

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