Magma Ascent and the Pressurization of Mount Etna's Volcanic System

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Science  28 Mar 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5615, pp. 2061-2063
DOI: 10.1126/science.1080653

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After a period of deflation during the 1991–1993 flank eruption, Mount Etna underwent a rapid inflation. Seismicity and ground deformation show that since 1994, a huge volume of magma intruded beneath the volcano, producing from 1998 onward a series of eruptions at the summit and on the flank of the volcano. The last of these, started on 27 October 2002, is still in progress and can be considered one of the most explosive eruptions of the volcano in recent times. Here we show how geodetic data and seismic deformation, between 1994 and 2001, indicate a radial compression around an axial intrusion, consistent with a repressurization of Mount Etna's plumbing system at a depth of 6 to 15 kilometers, which triggered most of the seismicity and provoked the dilatation of the volcano and the recent explosive eruptive activity.

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