New insights into Mt. Vesuvius hydrothermal system and its dynamic based on a critical review of seismic tomography and geochemical features

Edoardo Del Pezzo, Giovanni Chiodini, Stefano Caliro, Francesca Bianco, Rosario Avino


The seismic velocity and attenuation tomography images, calculated inverting respectively P-wave travel times and amplitude spectra of local VT quakes at Mt. Vesuvius have been reviewed and graphically represented using a new software recently developed using Mathematica8TM. The 3-D plots of the interpolated velocity and attenuation fields obtained through this software evidence low-velocity volumes associated with high attenuation anomalies in the depth range from about 1 km to 3 km below the sea level. The heterogeneity in the distribution of the velocity and attenuation values increases in the volume centred around the crater axis and laterally extended about 4 km, where the geochemical interpretation of the data from fumarole emissions reveals the presence of a hydrothermal system with temperatures as high as 400-450°C roughly in the same depth range (1.5 km to 4 km). The zone where the hydrothermal system is space-confined possibly hosted the residual magma erupted by Mt. Vesuvius during the recent eruptions, and is the site where most of the seismic energy release has occurred since the last 1944 eruption.


Velocity tomography; Attenuation tomography; Hydrothermal system; Geochemical model

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