Continuous soil radon monitoring during the July 2006 Etna eruption

M Neri, B Behncke, M Burton, G Galli, S Giammanco, E Pecora, E Privitera, D Reitano

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    Continuous soil radon monitoring was carried out near the Southeast Crater ( SEC) of Mt. Etna during the 10-day July 2006 Strombolian-effusive eruption. This signal was compared with simultaneously acquired volcanic tremor and thermal radiance data. The onset of explosive activity and a lava fountaining episode were preceded by some hours with increases in radon soil emission by 4 - 5 orders of magnitude, which we interpret as precursors. Minor changes in eruptive behavior did not produce significant variations in the monitored parameters. The remarkably high radon concentrations we observed are unprecedented in the literature. We interpret peaks in radon activity as due primarily to microfracturing of uranium-bearing rock. These observations suggest that radon measurements in the summit area of Etna are strongly controlled by the state of stress within the volcano and demonstrate the usefulness of radon data acquisition before and during eruptions.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalGeophysical Research Letters
    Issue number24
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


    • mt-etna
    • volcano


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