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Spatial vent opening probability map of Etna volcano (Sicily, Italy)

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Abstract

We produce a spatial probability map of vent opening (susceptibility map) at Etna, using a statistical analysis of structural features of flank eruptions of the last 2 ky. We exploit a detailed knowledge of the volcano structures, including the modalities of shallow magma transfer deriving from dike and dike-fed fissure eruptions analysis on historical eruptions. Assuming the location of future vents will have the same causal factors as the past eruptions, we converted the geological and structural data in distinct and weighted probability density functions, which were included in a non-homogeneous Poisson process to obtain the susceptibility map. The highest probability of new eruptive vents opening falls within a N-S aligned area passing through the Summit Craters down to about 2,000 m a.s.l. on the southern flank. Other zones of high probability follow the North-East, East-North-East, West, and South Rifts, the latter reaching low altitudes (∼400 m). Less susceptible areas are found around the faults cutting the upper portions of Etna, including the western portion of the Pernicana fault and the northern extent of the Ragalna fault. This structural-based susceptibility map is a crucial step in forecasting lava flow hazards at Etna, providing a support tool for decision makers.

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Acknowledgments

This study was performed with the financial support from the V3-LAVA project (DPC-INGV 2007–2009 contract). Comments by Editor Agust Gudmundsson and two anonymous reviewers greatly improved the manuscript.

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Correspondence to M. Neri.

Additional information

Editorial responsibility: A. Gudmundsson

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Cappello, A., Neri, M., Acocella, V. et al. Spatial vent opening probability map of Etna volcano (Sicily, Italy). Bull Volcanol 74, 2083–2094 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00445-012-0647-4

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Keywords

  • Flank eruption
  • Dike
  • Volcano structure
  • Susceptibility map
  • Spatial clustering
  • Back analysis