Improvement and development of the tiltmetric monitoring networks of Neapolitan volcanoes

Ciro Ricco, Ida Aquino, Vincenzo Augusti, Luca D'auria, Carlo Del Gaudio, Giovanni Scarpato


The goal of this work is to illustrate the technological development of the tiltmetric monitoring network of Osservatorio Vesuviano, since 1986, retracing the technical steps that led to the current network configuration. This network is devoted to the monitoring of the three Neapolitan volcanoes: Vesuvius, Phlegrean Fields and Ischia Island, which are widely recognized among the volcanic areas with the highest risk worldwide. Ground tilt monitoring had to face numerous technical obstacles, mainly due to background noise characterizing densely urbanized areas like the Neapolitan volcanoes.

The network started with the first installations of horizontal optical pendulums that recorded analog signals. In the following years, the network was equipped with electronic sensors more handy and easy to install.

A technological leap forward occurred when the first digital sensors were installed in deep boreholes, allowing them to record tilt signals not affected by thermal disturbances. These data are digitally acquired and managed by a datalogger for the data storage and exchange.

Currently the network consists of 10 sensors in Phlegrean Fields, 8 in Vesuvius and 3 in Ischia Island, making it one of the densest tiltmetric volcano monitoring network worldwide. This network can boast a database containing thirty years of data acquired by both analog and digital stations. Data consists of both ground tilt and meteorological signals, such as temperature and atmospheric pressure. In these areas they allow a continuous monitoring of the temporal variations of the ground tilt with important implications in understanding the dynamics of these active volcanoes.

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