Combined discrete and continuous gravity observations at Mount Etna

Carbone, Daniele; Budetta, Gennaro; Greco, Filippo and Rymer, Hazel (2003). Combined discrete and continuous gravity observations at Mount Etna. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 123(1-2) pp. 123–135.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0377-0273(03)00032-5

Abstract

Systematic investigation of discrete gravity measurements has continued at Mount Etna since 1986. The network now covers an area of 400 km2 with about 70 stations 0.5–3 km apart. Mass redistributions occurring at depths ranging between about 8 km below sea level and a few hundred metres below the surface (magma level changes within the shallower parts of the feeding conduits) have been identified from these data. Conventional (discrete) microgravity monitoring on a network of stations furnishes only instantaneous states of the mass distribution at continuously active systems. In order to obtain information on the rate at which the volcanic processes (and thus mass transfers) occur, three stations for continuously recording gravity where installed on Mount Etna in 1998. A 16-month long sequence from one of the continuously running stations (PDN, located 2 km from the active northeast crater at the summit of Etna volcano) is presented. After removing the effects of Earth Tide and tilt, the correlation of the residual gravity sequence with simultaneous recordings of meteorological parameters acquired at the same station was analysed. Once the meteorological effects have also been removed, continuous gravity changes are within 10 μGal of gravity changes measured using conventional microgravity observations at sites very close to the continuous station. This example shows how discrete and continuous gravity observations can be used together at active volcanoes to get a fuller and more accurate picture of the spatial and temporal characteristics of volcanic processes.

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