New magnetotelluric soundings in the Mt. Somma-Vesuvius volcanic complex: preliminary results

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A. Manzella
G. Volpi
A. Zaja


During 1997 ten magnetotelluric (MT) soundings were recorded in single-site mode above the Mt. Somma-Vesuvius volcanic area. A first campaign of MT measurements was carried out, during spring, by the researchers of the University of Padua with their MSPM acquisition system. During autumn, the researchers of the International Institute of Geothermal Research (CNR Pisa) with their Phoenix equipment performed a second campaign. A teach site, the horizontal components of the electrical and magnetic fields were recorded in the frequency band between 300-0.003 Hz. The MSPM system could record signals up to the frequency of 800 Hz. Data were recorded at one common site with both the different equipments to verify the compatibility of the two different acquisition systems. The soundings over the area of the volcano's caldera show a continuous morphology of the apparent resistivity and phase curves with small error bars: it means a good correlation between the orthogonal electrical and magnetic fields. The quality of data decreases going further from the caldera and approaching the sources of electromagnetic incoherent noise such as villages, antennas and repeaters. After a very accurate data analysis, the apparent resistivity and phase curves were interpreted with a 1D modelling instead a 2D one as it seems a more appropriate interpretative approach looking at the morphology of the curves and taking into account the 3D geological conditions of the area. The results show an extended conductive structure at a depth of 0.3-1.2 km. It could be connected with a change in the physico-chemical characteristics of the volcano-sedimentary cover (alteration paragenesis and possible hydrothermalism). A 3D MT forward modelling was then used to define the response MT curves for sites above this particular volcanic structure. This approach seems to be very interesting in view of specific interpretative targets, such as dimension and position of the magma chamber, when planning future MT surveys.

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Manzella, A., Volpi, G. and Zaja, A. (2000) “New magnetotelluric soundings in the Mt. Somma-Vesuvius volcanic complex: preliminary results”, Annals of Geophysics, 43(2). doi: 10.4401/ag-3641.

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