Bulletin of Volcanology

, Volume 73, Issue 9, pp 1139–1145 | Cite as

Systematic retrieval of ejecta velocities and gas fluxes at Etna volcano using L-Band Doppler radar

  • Mathieu GouhierEmail author
  • Franck Donnadieu
Short Scientific Communication


Strombolian-type volcanic activity is characterized by a series of gas bubbles bursting at the top of a magma column and leading to the ejection of lava clots and gas emission at the surface. The quantitative analysis of physical parameters (e.g., velocity, size, and mass fluxes) controlling the emission dynamics of these volcanic products is very important for the understanding of eruption source mechanisms but remains difficult to obtain in a systematic fashion. Ground-based Doppler radar is found to be a very effective tool for measuring ejecta velocities at a high acquisition rate and close to the emission source. We present here a series of measurements carried out at Mt. Etna’s Southeast crater, using an L-band volcanological Doppler radar, during the 4 July 2001 Strombolian eruptions. Doppler radar data are supplemented by the analysis of video snapshots recorded simultaneously. We provide here a set of physical parameters systematically retrieved from 247 Strombolian explosions spanning 15 min and occurring during the paroxysm of the eruption from 21:30 to 21:45 UT. The time-average values give a maximum particle velocity of \( V_{{\max }}^p = {94}.{7}\pm {24} {\text{m/s}} \), a bulk lava jet velocity of \( {V_{{{\text{PW - rad}}}}} = {37}.{6}\pm {1}.{9} {\text{m/s}} \), and an initial gas velocity at the source vent of \( V_0^g = {118}.{4}\pm {36} {\text{m/s}} \). The time-averaged particle diameter is found to be about \( {D_{{{\text{PW - rad}}}}} = {4}.{2}\pm {2}.{1} {\text{cm}} \). The volume and mass gas fluxes are estimated from time-averaged source gas velocities over the sequence duration at \( Q_v^g = {3} - {11} \times {1}{0^{{3}}}{{\text{m}}^{{3}}}{\text{/s}} \) and \( Q_m^g = 0.{5} - {2} \times {1}{0^{{3}}}{\text{kg/s}} \), respectively.


Ejecta velocities Gas fluxes Etna volcano Doppler radar Particle sizes 



This work was supported by a French MESR fellowship. We gratefully acknowledge Georges Dubosclard, Roland Cordesses and Claude Hervier for the precious radar measurements. Field work on Etna was possible thanks to the logistical help of INGV Catania and was funded by the CNRS-INSU PNRN programs 1999–2001. We also thank Patrick Allard, who also provided additional video data and insightful comments. Fran van Wyk de Vries kindly improved the English. We thank Matt Patrick and Mike James for their constructive comments and Maurizio Ripepe for handling the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Clermont UniversitéUniversité Blaise Pascal, OPGC, Laboratoire Magmas et VolcansClermont-FerrandFrance
  2. 2.CNRS, UMR 6524, LMVClermont-FerrandFrance
  3. 3.IRD, R 163, LMVClermont-FerrandFrance

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