A porous flow model of flank eruptions on Mt. Etna: second-order perturbation theory

M. Bonafede, N. Cenni

Abstract


A porous flow model for magma migration from a deep source within a volcanic edifice is developed. The model is based on the assumption that an isotropic and homogeneous system of fractures allows magma migration from one localized feeding dyke up to the surface of the volcano. The maximum level that magma can reach within the volcano (i.e., the «free surface» of magma, where fluid pressure equals the atmospheric pressure) is reproduced through a second-order perturbation approach to the non-linear equations governing the migration of incompressible fluids through a porous medium. The perturbation parameter is found to depend on the ratio of the volumic discharge rate at the source (m3/s) divided by the product of the hydraulic conductivity of the medium (m1/s) times the square of the source depth. The second-order corrections for the free surface of Mt. Etna are found to be small but not negligible; from the comparison between first-order and second-order free surfaces it appears that the former is higher near the summit, slightly lower at intermediate altitudes and slightly higher far away from the axis of the volcano. Flank eruptions in the southern sector are found to be located in regions where the topography is actually lower than the theoretical free surface of magma. In this sector, modulations in the eruption site density correlate well with even minor differences between free surface and topography. In the northern and western sectors similar good fits are found, while the NE rift and the eastern sector seem to require mechanisms or structures respectively favouring and inhibiting magma migration.

Keywords


volcanoes;magma migration;porous medium;flank eruptions

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References


DOI: https://doi.org/10.4401/ag-3848
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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X