Characteristics of volcanic tremor accompanying the September 24th, 1986 explosive eruption of Mt. Etna (Italy)

S. Gresta, G. Lombardo, R. Cristofolini


Features of the volcanic tremor recorded before, during and after the eruptive event which occurred at Mt. Etna on September 24th 1986, are described. The whole eruption was particularly short in time (about eight hours) and characterized by an extremely violent explosive activity with lava fountains a few hundred meters high. As the complete record of the seismic signals generated during the whole eruptive episode was available, a detailed spectral analysis of the volcanic tremor recorded at four stations, located at increasing distance from the summit of the volcano, was carried out. Fourier analysis, that was performed using temporal windows of about 11 min in duration, pointed to some large fluctuations of the overall spectral amplitude, as well as some frequency variations of the dominant spectral peaks. The ratio of the overall spectral amplitude recorded at the highest station and at the peripheral ones, was calculated in the two spectral bands 1.0-2.5 and 2.6-6.0 Hz, respectively. The significant contribution of energy at low frequency values supports the hypothesis of a subvertical planar source, which was active during the paroxysmal stage of the eruption. Such results are also supported by the analysis of the attenuation function of the spectral amplitude.


Mt. Etna;summit paroxysmal eruption;volcanic tremor

Full Text:




Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X