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Detecting short-term evolution of Etnean scoria cones: a LIDAR-based approach

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Abstract

The 2001 and 2002–2003 flank eruptions on Mount Etna (Italy) were characterized by intense explosive activity which led to the formation of two large monogenetic scoria cones (one from each eruption) on the upper southern flank of the volcano. Continuous monitoring of Etna, especially during flank eruptions, has provided detailed information on the growth of these cones. They differ in genesis, shape, and size. A set of high resolution (1 m) digital elevation models (DEMs) derived from light detection and ranging (LIDAR) data collected during four different surveys (2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007) has been used to map morphology and to extract the morphometric parameters of the scoria cones. By comparing LIDAR-derived DEMs with a pre-eruption (1998) 10 m DEM, the volume of the two scoria cones was calculated for the first time. Comparison of the LIDAR-derived DEMs revealed in unprecedented detail morphological changes during scoria cone degradation. In particular, the morphologically more exposed and structurally weaker 2002–2003 cone was eroded rapidly during the first few years after its emplacement mainly due to gravitational instability of slopes and wind erosion.

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Acknowledgments

This work was partially funded by the Italian Dipartimento della Protezione Civile in the framework of the 2007–2009 Agreement with Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia—INGV. A.F. received support from the MIUR-FIRB project “Piattaforma di ricerca multidisciplinare su terremoti e vulcani (AIRPLANE)” n. RBPR05B2ZJ; S.T. benefited from the project FIRB "Sviluppo di nuove tecnologie per la protezione e difesa del territorio dai rischi naturali (FUMO)" funded by the Italian Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca. The detailed reviews by David Karátson, an anonymous reviewer and the associate editor Jocelyn McPhie improved the quality of this paper.

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Fornaciai, A., Behncke, B., Favalli, M. et al. Detecting short-term evolution of Etnean scoria cones: a LIDAR-based approach. Bull Volcanol 72, 1209–1222 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00445-010-0394-3

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