The coupling between very long period seismic events, volcanic tremor, and degassing rates at Mount Etna volcano

L Zuccarello, M R Burton, G Saccorotti, C J Bean, D Patane

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    From December 2005 to January 2006, an anomalous degassing episode was observed at Mount Etna, well-correlated with an increase in volcanic tremor, and in the almost complete absence of eruptive activity. In the same period, more than 10,000 very long period (VLP) events were detected. Through moment tensor inversion analyses of the VLP pulses, we obtained quantitative estimates of the volumetric variations associated with these events. This allowed a quantitative investigation of the relationship between VLP seismic activity, volcanic tremor, and gas emission rate at Mount Etna. We found a statistically significant positive correlation between SO2 gas flux and volcanic tremor, suggesting that tremor amplitude can be used as a first-order proxy for the background degassing activity of the volcano. VLP volumetric changes and SO2 gas flux are correlated only for the last part of our observations, following a slight change in the VLP source depth. We calculate that the gas associated with VLP signal genesis contributed less than 5% of the total gas emission. The existence of a linear correlation between VLP and degassing activities indicates a general relationship between these two processes. The effectiveness of such coupling appears to depend upon the particular location of the VLP source, suggesting that conduit geometry might play a significant role in the VLP-generating process. These results are the first report on Mount Etna of a quantitative relationship between the amounts of gas emissions directly estimated through instrumental flux measurements and the quantities of gas mass inferred in the VLP source inversion.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)4910-4921
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • very long period seismicity
    • uv scanners network
    • etna volcano
    • sulfur dioxide fluxes
    • volcano monitoring
    • wave-form inversions
    • stromboli volcano
    • southeast crater
    • erebus volcano
    • gas emissions
    • mt. etna
    • signals
    • eruption
    • insights
    • system


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