Seismic activity and thermal regime of low temperature fumaroles at Mt. Vesuvius in 2004-2011: distinguishing among seismic, volcanic and hydrological signals

Paola Cusano, Simona Petrosino, Paolo Madonia, Cinzia Federico

Abstract


Seismological, soil temperature and hydrological data from Mt. Vesuvius are collected to characterize the present-day activity of the volcanic/hydrothermal system and to detect possible unrest-related phenomena. We present patterns of seismicity and soil temperature in the crater area during the period February 2004-December 2011. The temporal distribution of number and depth of Volcano-Tectonic earthquakes and the energy release are considered. Hourly data of soil temperature have been acquired since January 2004 in different locations along the rim and within the crater. The observed changes of temperature are studied to establish a temporal-based correlation with the volcanic activity and/or with external forcing, as variations of the regional and local stress field acting on the volcano or meteorological phenomena. The comparison between seismic activity and temperature data highlights significant variations possibly related to changes in fluid circulation in the hydrothermal system of the volcano. The common continuous observations start just before a very shallow earthquake occurred in August 2005, which was preceded by a thermal anomaly. This coincidence has been interpreted as related to fluid-driven rock fracturing, as observed in other volcanoes. For the successive temporal patterns, the seismicity rate and energy release are characterized by slight variations accompanied by changes in temperature. This evidence of reactivity of the fumarole thermal field to seismic strain can be used to discriminate between tectonic and volcanic signals at Mt. Vesuvius.


Keywords


Surveys, measurements and monitoring; Seismicity; Fumarolic thermal regime; Multidisciplinary data comparison; Rest state definition

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References


DOI: https://doi.org/10.4401/ag-6446
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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X